Since 1964, Junji Takano had been eating Egyptian spinach almost every day during his travels in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The Japanese started to plant molokhia sometime in 1980 for Japanese daily vegetable consumption especially in the Miyagi prefecture. Today it has spread all over Japan, and you can now find it in all vegetable and convenience stores, including its seed for hobbyists to plant in their small backyard gardens.
One may encounter many different transliterations for the Arabic word molokhiya, such as mulukhiya and molokhia. It is also called jute, Egyptian spinach, Jews mallow, Jute mallow, or saluyot, with a scientific name of Corchorus olitorius.
According to some internet sources, molokhia means the vegetable for King because – around 6000 BC – a sick Egyptian King asked a bowl of a hot soup made from the herb, and found it tasty. After taking the hot soup every day, the King’s illness was healed. Cleopatra also enjoyed the same soup. The soup was the Egyptian spinach called molokhia and we believe that this miracle vegetable originated in India and Egypt.
Molokhia is also known as the “king of vegetables”. Its carotene contents are 4.6 times more than spinach (which Popeye loved) and 19 times more than broccoli. Its calcium contents are 9 times more than spinach and 10 times more than broccoli. Even vitamins B1 and B2 are five times more than spinach contains. It also contains much more Vitamin E, C, potassium, iron, and fibre than any other vegetable.
Molokhia possesses properties that can boost our immune system to help prevent diseases such as cancer, premature ageing, osteoporosis, fatigue, high blood pressure and anaemia. Its vitamin contents moisturize our skin and make it soft and smooth, and resist early ageing. Egyptian spinach is considered demulcent (relieve pain in inflamed or irritated mucous membranes), diuretic (increases the passing of urine), febrifuge (reduces fever) and tonic (increases vigour).
In addition, the molokhia’s viscous texture is rich in soluble fibre. This dietary fibre has a cholesterol-lowering effect, relieves constipation, and prevents obesity and diabetes, including colorectal cancer and other lifestyle-related diseases.
Aside from these medicinal effects we know now, we are discovering more and more of its amazing health effects.
Green young leaves are used as vegetables just like okra or spinach and are a good source of vitamins and other abundant nutrients. Dried leaves are used as a soup thickener or jute tea.
Junji even planted molokhia in his backyard garden. He plants about 20 seeds every 6 months, which is good enough for daily consumption for the family. In his farm in the countryside, even though he does not plant it, wild molokhia grows abundantly throughout the year.
The Science Bit
100 grams of Molokhia leaves contains:
- Carotene – 10,000 µg
- Calcium – 500 mg
- Potassium – 650 mg
- Iron – 3.8 mg
- Vitamin B1 – 0.24 mg
- Bitamin B2 – 0.76mg
No wonder the caretakers on his farm and their neighbours are very healthy! Most of them live over 83–103 years old. In fact, three of them are 101, 102 and 103 years old and are still active. Junji thinks he and his family are in good health because of the Egyptian spinach!
We are very glad of this miracle and mysterious vegetable that was introduced to Japan from Egypt.
If you are worried about cholesterol contents in your blood and high blood symptoms, take molokhia starting today.
You can find hundreds of molokhia recipe on the net. Whether it’s for beauty and to prevent premature ageing and to keep your skin healthy … no wonder Cleopatra loved to eat Moloheiya. Junji personally recommends you to take this.
[And having eaten it myself, I would recommend it. It’s very popular in Lebanese cuisine]
Source: Pyro Energen
I have posted some tip on how to grow Egyptian Spinach on my YouTube channel: