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Healthy Green Vegetables - Spinach, Kale, Rapini, Dandelion

by Ronald Steriti, NMD, Ph.D.

The following is a discussion of some of the interesting foods that are now available at some grocery stores. Be forewarned, besides having odd tastes (because they are unfamiliar) you may also get some odd looks from the cashiers as they try to figure out what you are buying. Greens are prepared by submerging them in water to wash them and then cooking them either with steam or by frying them.


Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a native of Asia introduced into Europe about the fifteenth century. Spinach contains nitrogenous substances, hydrocarbons, and iron sesqui-oxide. Spinach contains chlorophyll, which has a chemical formula remarkably similar to that of hemoglobin. The combination of chlorophyll and iron make spinach beneficial for treating anemia. During the war, wine fortified with Spinach juice was given to French soldiers weakened by hemorrhage.

Dandelion Greens

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are unwelcome guests in lawns, but they have a long medicinal history. Dandelion leaves have been used for hundreds of years to treat liver and gallbladder problems. These medicinal actions are attributed to taraxacin, which is a bitter. Dandelion leaves have high amounts of vitamin D, and moderate amounts of vitamin C and B as well as iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese.


Kale (Brassica oleracae var acephala) contains calcium, potassium, vitamin A and C. Kale is the common names for non-heading types of cabbage (mostly of the variety acephala), cool-weather crops of the mustard family. They are grown for their edible greens and, in Europe, for fodder.

Collard greens

Collard greens (Brassica oleracae var acephala), called Colliard, coleworts and collie greens contains calcium, potassium, vitamin A and C. Collard greens originated in the Mediterranean basin and were a favorite food of the ancient Greeks and Romans.


Rapini, which also called broccoli raab, Choi sum and Chinese flowering cabbage, is used in Italian and Chinese cooking. Rapini is high in vitamins A, C and K.


A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve, originally published 1931


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