aka Talinum paniculatum, Javanese Ginseng, Jewels of Opar
Often gets mis-identified as Surinam Spinach and vice versa.
Propagate: seedings, cuttings
Water: once a day
Soil: good drainage
Fertilizer: twice a month
The plant bears wispy pink flowers and dark red fruit. Javanese Ginseng leaves are succulent and crunchy, although they have a mucilaginous texture. They have a sharp, mildly vegetal and spinach-like taste.
Javanese Ginseng is botanically classified as Talinum paniculatum. Its roots are used in Asia as an alternative to the more expensive Korean Ginseng. Javanese Ginseng leaves may also be referred to as Talinum leaves, Som Java and Flameflower leaves. They are a popular medicinal herb in many countries and are commonly found in home gardens. Although they are commonly eaten raw, they do contain oxalic acid and thus should only be eaten this way in small amounts.
Javanese Ginseng leaves contain calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. It is also a source of powerful natural compounds such as Beta-sitosterol, which is found in vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. It is said to be good for symptoms of menopause. Javanese Ginseng leaves also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Javanese Ginseng leaves may be used raw or cooked. Its shoots and leaves are both added together in soups, stir fries and stews and can be used as a spinch replacement. They may also be added to smoothies. They pair well with ingredients like garlic and onion, and flavoring agents such as soy sauce and oyster sauce. To store Javanese Ginseng leaves, place them in a loose plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator, where they will last for a few days.
They are considered to be cooling, and are sometimes used to stimulate the appetite. In Indonesia and Brazil, the leaves have been used topically to treat skin irritations such as inflammation as well as minor cuts. In Thailand, the leaves are used as a supplement for the general diet.