Family: Chenopodiaceae (Cat tail family)
Genus: Beta
Botanical name: Beta vulgaris
Sanskrit: Palakya
Hindi: Palak, Chukkndan
English: Table beet, Garden beet, Red Golden beet
Malayalam: Beet root, Chenjeera
Beet root is a herbaceous biennial or, rarely, perennial plant with leafy stems growing to 1–2 m tall. The leaves are heart-shaped, 5–20 cm long on wild plants (often much larger in cultivated plants). The flowers are produced in dense spikes; each flower is very small, 3–5 mm diameter, green or tinged reddish, with five petals; they are wind pollinated. The fruit is a cluster of hard nutlets.
The roots and leaves of the beet have been used in folk medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments. Ancient Romans used beetroot as a treatment for fevers and constipation, amongst other ailments. Apicius in De re coquinaria gives five recipes for soups to be given as a laxative, three of which feature the root of beet. Hippocrates advocated the use of beet leaves as binding for wounds. Since Roman times, beetroot juice has been considered an aphrodisiac. From the Middle Ages, beetroot was used as a treatment for a variety of conditions, especially illnesses relating to digestion and the blood. Platina recommended taking beetroot with garlic to nullify the effects of 'garlic-breath'. Beta vulgaris beets have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally, directly or as juice, or externally as compresses, for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, fever and infections.
It has been suggested the pigment molecule betanin in the root of red beets may protect against oxidative stress and has been used for this purpose in Europe for centuries.
All parts of the beet plant contain oxalic acid. Beet greens and Swiss chard are both considered high oxalate foods which have been implicated on the formation of kidney stones.
Beta vulgaris
Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
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