Almost no one knows about Sri Lanka as a home to more than 200 varieties of edible and beneficial green leaves, some of which are just exclusive to this island. Sri Lanka is known for a forte in the medical field. And especially when it is taken as peculiar for the leafy greens, then the island has so much more to offer unlike the usual. Although, kohila, anguna, genda kola, koppa, and kankun are often found in the local supermarkets of Sri Lanka, which showcase their wide variety and huge availability of the beneficial plants. There are some leaves which may sound so alien to us, where we would be puzzled about how to eat or cook them for their medical benefits. While on the process to find in how to include them, we may lose interest in taking them. But, after reading this be rest assured that you would surely want to include them in your daily food for their health benefits.
Most of us out there are unaware of the medical benefits present in this island providing us a beneficial and relishing lifestyle. However, there are lesser-known edible leaves in this island which grows exclusively in Sri Lanka offering a lot of nutritional value. Some are simply great to add to the daily diet as they contain rich amounts of dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. As some are with specially added benefits which prevent and cures various disease like cholesterol and diabetes to give a healthy lifestyle to prolong. One such plant that we missed is the Genda Kola plant which is rich in its nutrition and cure diseases.
Though sadly, because of the non-availability of leaves around in the urban areas, there is an indeed lack of awareness about them—which means that the urban population is missing out a great opportunity on the health benefits that these leaves offer. Here’s a brief account on the plant - Genda Kola which is a variety of beneficial plant from the lesser known varieties of edible leaves in Sri Lanka and the health benefits that they offer.
Know about Genda Kola
Genda Kola is known as Portulaca oleracea plant, well it has its own names such as parsley, common purslane, and red root. It is a succulent from the family of portulacaceous, which is of 38 cm in height while maturing. However, there are approx. forty cultivars that are currently being cultivated around the world.
It has a soft and reddish stem where mostly it is of flat leaves and stems, which may be alternate and opposite, while clustered at stem joints to the ends. They do have flowers blooming in yellow color and have five regular parts. According to the rainfall, the flowers bloom at any time in the annual. Thus, coming to the seeds they are formed in a tiny shell, which opens up as per when the seeds are enough mature. Purslane has a taproot with tough secondary roots leading in able to tolerate poor conditioned drought and soils.
The purslane plant is one of those herbs that people tend to have a tough time deciding whether to avoid or keep in their garden. There will be instances when the plant will start growing beside other plants. But a lot of people even grow the plant voluntarily, all because of its health benefits.
Purslane weeds can be grown in almost any place despite the weather or soil condition and can plant it anywhere to take uproot. The plant can even grow between the cracks in the pavement and small patches of land. One would never believe such an unwelcome plant could be so beneficial for your body. People also grow it in your kitchen itself for easy handling. The plant has a weird but great spoon-like leaves that are succulent and a reddish stem as well.
As aforementioned the Purslane flower buds are characterized by their yellow color and these buds usually open during the sunny morning and close at any time of the day, closely depending on the weather. The flowers open only at the center of the leaf cluster. However, the purslane benefits in a wide range and get as a medicine to prevent many diseases to be listed.
The purslane leaves are of high contained dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins like A, B, and C. The Purslane leaves have a high content of vitamin A when it is compared to other varieties of edible leaves. According to its medical properties, consuming these leaves is beneficial for the eyes and the skin, as well as it is an effective medicine for the immune system and increased blood flow.
Furthermore, these leaves are rich in omega-3 fatty acids more than any other type of edible leaves. Where due to its high content of Omega – 3, it is also known to be as a purslane omega – 3. Though, this fatty acid reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and the most commonly caused strokes, well it can even prevent the triggered development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism.
This herb comes from the large variety of weeds that are edible. These edible weeds are very widely consumed across all international cuisines as they add a wonderful taste and a lot of nutrients to your salads and dishes. Purslane herd is one such edible weed. But, the best way and the most beneficial way to consume this herb is to pluck it right from your garden. Purslane is synonymic with the word ‘Superfood’.There are a lot of vitamins and minerals present in the herb that one can extract easily.
Health benefits of the purslane plant / Genda Kola
The plant has an endless list of health benefits. It contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that are there to cure a lot of conditions. The Purslane Herb has its own medical properties which include:
• Anti-scorbutic ( fights scurvy )
• Depurative ( detox and purification )
• Diuretic ( increases the water level in the body )
• Febrifuge ( prevents or reduces fever ).
Thus, here are some additional health benefits that can be added in order for you to receive from consuming purslane:
• High amounts of Omega3 fatty acids - TheseOmega-3 fatty acids are responsible for helping people stay away from high cholesterol and blood pressure. While, Omega-3 fats play a role in reducing the risk for the development of heart disease by battling inflammation, and also aid to manage cognitive function for normal growth and development.
• Zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and calcium -
1. Zinc is the one which is responsible for maintaining and improving the functioning of the immune system. While it is also responsible for fighting off the free radicals which might cause cancer.
2. It is essential to have copper to ensure the thorough absorption of iron in the body.
3. Manganese works as an antioxidant thus helping in fighting the free radicals. It is also important in repairing the damaged tissue, melting or breaking down the fats and cholesterol while producing energy.
4. Lastly, Phosphorus and calcium are very much responsible for the bone and dental health. However, it is also essential for nerve, muscle, and blood function with the important role of hemoglobin production in your body.
• Excellent source of vitamin A – The Purslane vegetable has the highest amount of vitamin A present in the wide range of leafy family. Vitamin A plays the role for the improvement and maintenance of the physique of the healthy body and is also mainly essential for the growth of bone and cells.
• Low count in calories – Purslane herb has the only count of 16 calories per 100 grams. This is a great news for the population which is trying to take their caloric intake at the limit. Well, it is also a package of dietary fiber, which substitutes the feeling of fullness after every meal, and results in limiting your intake of food and get your body to weight loss.
Uses of purslane herb
Purslane benefits are actually used in different ways in order to treat different body pains and illnesses. It is worked as a seasonal treatment to relieve headaches, inflammation, and fever. Thus, an amazing thing about this plant is that the leaves are placed under the tongue to lightenthe thirst but it is no that you shouldn’t drink water, it is essential to keep you hydrated in its part.
Purslane juice can also be extracted from the plant and is used to treat a dry cough and breath shortness. Though, purslane tea is famous in Sri Lanka which is used to lessen the toothaches. Apart from its medicinal properties, the herb is used in the salads and main courses in the meal to boost up the different taste to your daily meal with a nutritious content to be present at your table.
Growing purslane isn't a hard task which needs a lot of efforts. It is easy to grow and readily grown anywhere. It can be propagated in two ways, which is one through the pouring of purslane seeds into the soil or from cutting off the stems from the plants and planting them. Genda Kola seeds usually develop in as like a tiny pod during spring or in the early summer. These seed pods break off usually in order to allow the seeds to be scattered, just like the asparagus.
Moreover, the seeds usually take up to 10 days roughly to germinate when open to 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. While purslane plants can actually be grown anywhere, but usually people prefer growing them indoors or even in the kitchen. Here is a guide on how to successfully grow your very own purslane plant indoor:
- Get seeds or cut off stems - Genda Kola seeds can usually be gotten from scattered purslane plants or even seeds itself, but the even more easy way is it can also be bought online. If you want to get the seeds from purslane farm itself, then make sure that the plants are been away from pesticides.
- Pot with soil – Well, you can simply add in some soil from your compost bin as your fertilizer. When planting the seeds, make sure that you scatter them carefully on top of the soil and mainly, do not cover them with the soil. Well, note down that the Purslane seeds need sunlight to germinate and take up its root. When planting the stem cuttings, place the cuttings on top of the soil while it generally takes a few days before the cuttings take up its root.
- Water until moist - Genda Kola seeds need only a required amount of water to germinate and not to simply sodden up the pot with water and make it difficult to germinate, it is simply a general tip while planting any seeds.
- Place the pot under sunlight - The seeds may take around two weeks to sprout. So, make sure it is placed under sunlight as it takes up more of sunlight for the seeds to germinate.
Note for the purslane plant care
It spread faster and can result in becoming invasive, but it can be maintained if contained efficiently. It is recommended for you to cut a Genda Kola plant before the flowers bloom so it is not to allow it to spread at a dangerous pace. However, it only grows annually, which will require you to save up seeds from your plants to make sure that you have enough sprouts
How to Eat Genda Kola
Genda Kola can be eaten in both ways either raw or cooked. If you're planning on to eating it raw, then make sure that the plant is completely free of pesticide and herbicide to prevent accidental intake of harmful chemicals. As a precaution, it is recommended for you to wash the leaves and stems properly before consuming. Moreover, people eat the early purslane leaves and stem to avoid the harder parts of the plant and get it easy to consume. For cooked Genda Kola Plants, there are numerous ways to include this herb in your favorite dishes just like that. You can simply boil it in water for about 15 minutes and drain it, or else add it to other recipes as an optional or sideways to give the dish with an added crunch.
Genda Kola Recipe that you must try
Even though most people are unaware that the Genda Kola is a nutritious herb, there are recipes that have started to come up with Genda Kola as the main ingredient. This clearly means that the herb is starting to get its popularity among the mass, and people are getting to acknowledge its potential to improve human health. Genda Kola is commonly made as salads with other ingredients, such as the“Genda Kola and Parsley Salad recipe” mentioned below :
“ Genda Kola and Parsley Salad ”
- Olive oil - 3 tablespoons
- Fresh lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
- Finely chopped shallot - 1 tablespoon
- Cherry tomatoes - 1/2 pound ( according to your need and its size)
- Packed tender Genda Kola sprigs and leaves - 6 cups
- Parsley leaves (4 cups)
- Whisk together:
- Olive Oil
- Lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Genda Kola
- Parsley and gently toast.
While preparing this recipe, do make sure that the leafy products produce are that you buy from the organic sources. This will definitely ensure that you're not at risk of intake of any harmful chemicals that are most often used in conformist farming.
Genda Kola is widely used in Sri Lanka. But the real question is, where to buy purslane plant or even where to find purslane plant, it is easy as you can simply buy from your local shop nearby or shop for seeds online and grow it in your own backyard. One can easily find the Genda Kola online. Or you can even plant it in your garden or else the most easier way is to make purslane extract capsules which will give you the same benefits as the plant gives you by either cooking or eating it raw. Consider in spreading this unknown plant with tremendous medical properties to your friends and family. Well, in that way the usage of the plant can be widened and people can be treated with many of the diseases across the globe. But for those who are not able to find the plant, can even go for the purslane extract capsules for their needs.
Taking in consideration of this unknown herb, have a try on asking your doctor or someone who is specialized in knowing herbs in order to know the beneficial properties that are being hidden and label to as a noxious weed in America and as well as the other countries. Well, to be very precise, the plant is way more beneficial in every way and can help in healing the dangerous diseases as well. Take it as a responsibility in sharing about this plant to your loved ones and tell them the benefits of this amazing plant.