Vietnamese spinach, and its close relative Okinawa spinach are both amazing edible herbs that have been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years. Both are known as Gynura procumbens, with different colorations, but the same beneficial attributes. These herbs have both been found to be extremely alkalizing, and have both antiviral, anti-inflammatory effects. High in antioxidants, Gynura procumbens offers the possibility of remarkable results when it comes to improving overall health and longevity, and aiding in conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. The leaves are considered to be anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hyperlipidemic as well. Both varieties contain Asparaginase, a kind of enzyme that inhibits protein syntheses by hydrolyzing asparagines (an amino acid which is very essential for cancer/tumor cells) into aspartic acid and ammonia, so the cancer cells/tumor cells will stop growing and die. It’s also been known to significantly support the detoxification process. Because it helps control blood sugar, it may aid in weight loss. Both varieties can be eaten fresh in a salad, as an ingredient in a smoothie, stir fried with other vegetables, juiced, or enjoyed as a cup of tea. They have a very mild, delicious taste. The maximum benefit is realized when eaten in their raw forms.
Vietnamese Spinach can be used like traditional spinach in any recipe that calls for spinach. The same can be said for any of the tropical spinach substitute varieties.
Gynura Coconut Delight Drink
1 bottled or 1 fresh cut coconut water 8-12 Gynura Procumbens leaves
Pour coconut water in blender, add Gynura leaves and blend away. Pour the liquid into a glass or pour it back into the coconut (just for fun). The meat in the coconut is creamy and edible so take a spoon and scrape it to eat. Not a bit wasted!
Vegetarian Soup Topped with Gynura Leaves
1 can of vegetable or chicken broth 5 carrots (cut to large bite sizes)
1 onion 1 cabbage (cut to desire size)
3 – 4 tomatoes 1 cup of beans
(if you are using dried beans, let soak overnight in filtered water to speed up the cooking time)
3-5 Gynura Procumbens leaves for each bowl you serve
sea salt (for taste if desire)
Cut all vegetables to your size preference. Place carrots, beans, onion, and tomatoes in a pot then add the broth. Boil over high heat with lid off. Once the soup comes to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it slowly cook to soften. Put the lid on at this point. It may take 30-50 mins to cook until everything is mostly soft. Remember to come back to check on your soup from time to time.
When everything is mostly soft, add cabbage and a little dash of sea salt. I recommend not making your soup very salty as it is better for your health. Too much salt also takes away from the sweet flavors that come from vegetables.
Before serving, cut thin slices of the Gynura leaves to place on top. You can stir them in as you eat. It’s good to add this ingredient last so it won’t get cooked.