- Its fresh leaves, which taste a bit salty, are used for making various traditional dishes. Piping hot bathua-stuffed parathas and soothing bathua raita are some of the popular dishes consumed in most parts of North India (see recipes).
- Bathua is known for its rich fibre content and medicinal properties. In Ayurveda, it is prescribed for conditions such as cough, diarrhoea, fever and poor appetite.
- A 2014 study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry shows that the methanol extract of the plant has anti-bacterial properties and can inhibit growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
Among these vegetables is one hitherto unwanted weed, foraged from wheat fields. Commonly known as bathua in Hindi, cheel bhaji in Gujarati, paruppu keerai in Tamil, chandanbethu in Bengali and vastuccira in Malayalam, this weed is 15-20 cm tall and has broad, lobed leaves, resembling a goose’s foot.
Because of the shape of the leaves, the plant is also called white goosefoot or Chenopodium album in scientific lexicon — Greek words chen means goose and podion means foot.
Its fresh leaves, which taste a bit salty, are used for making various traditional dishes. Piping hot bathua-stuffed parathas and soothing bathua raita are some of the popular dishes consumed in most parts of North India (see recipes).
Bathua is known for its rich fibre content and medicinal properties. In Ayurveda, it is prescribed for conditions such as cough, diarrhoea, fever and poor appetite.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry shows that the methanol extract of the plant has anti-bacterial properties and can inhibit growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
Some people even dry the leaves and store them to add to their diet throughout the year. Modern chefs are now also using bathua in salads and Italian raviolis. Bathua is one of the 21 species of Chenopodium found in India. Its country of origin has not been identified as yet, but it is closely related to quinoa which grows in Peru and Bolivia.
“People eat it often, but it is so easily available that they do not value it,” says Ramesh Kumar Yadav, principal scientist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Delhi.
Though it sells for anywhere between Rs 40 and Rs 100 a kg at vegetable markets in Delhi, few farmers are aware of its profit potential in the absence of improved varieties that can be commercially cultivated.
About Chenopodium Album (Bathua)
Chenopodium album is a fast-growing weedy annual plant in the genus Chenopodium. Though cultivated in some regions, the plant is elsewhere considered a weed. Common names include lamb’s quarters, melde, goosefoot, wild spinach and fat-hen, though the latter two are also applied to other species of the genus Chenopodium, for which reason it is often distinguished as white goosefoot. Chenopodium album is extensively cultivated and consumed in Northern India as a food crop known as bathua
Its native range is obscure due to extensive cultivation, but includes most of Europe, from where Linnaeus described the species in 1753. Plants native in eastern Asia are included under C. album, but often differ from European specimens. It is widely naturalised elsewhere, e.g. Africa, Australasia, North America, and Oceania, and now occurs almost everywhere (except Antarctica) in soils rich in nitrogen, especially on wasteland.
Benefit of Bathua Ayurveda
In Ayurveda traditional medicine, bathua is thought to be useful for treating various diseases, although there is no clinical evidence such uses are safe or effective.
1. Repairs cell
Bathua is rich in amino acids. Given that a large proportion of our cells are made up of amino acids, it can play a major role in the functioning, repair and formation of the cells.
Rich in water content, bathua is also a good source of fibre and has laxative properties that can promote digestion and relieve constipation.
3. May help with weight loss
As per USDA data, a 100 gram of bathua contains only 43 calories. Hence, it’s perfect for those trying to watch their weight while also eating healthy.
4. Purifies blood
You probably already know that you need a good diet for good skin. In fact, one of the prime reasons behind acne and frequent breakouts is the impurity of blood. Now, consuming bathua regularly can purify your blood, giving you flawless skin.
5. Promotes healthy hair
Since bathua is rich in protein, minerals, and other vitamins, it helps strengthen your hair from the roots. This results in a reduction in hair fall, making your tresses soft, shiny and healthy.
6. Promotes eye health
Most of us have jobs that require us to stare at our screen for the majority of the day. Over time, this lifestyle can have an impact on our eyes. The zinc and iron content of bathua can ensure that your vision stays strong.
7. Good for dental health
Bad breath bringing you down? It is not only annoying but can get embarrassing as well. If you want to get rid of bad breath, bathua can be your one-stop solution. In fact, it can help you deal with multiple dental problems like bleeding of gums, sensitive teeth and so on.