Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a good source of iron, folic acid, vitamin B6, nitrates, oxalates, beta-carotene, and lutein. In addition to its food value, spinach has a number of therapeutic uses.
The German Commission E reports the use of spinach for gastrointestinal disorders, blood-generating therapy, growth stimulation in children, appetite stimulation, convalescent support, and fatigue. Studies have also suggested its use as an anticancer agent, antioxidant, and cancer preventative. Spinach may also reduce age-related eyesight deterioration from macular degeneration and cataracts. More high-quality research is needed.
Acelga (Portuguese), aedspinat (Estonian), bo cai (Chinese), cheera (Malayalam), Chenopodiaceae (family), chlorophyll, digalactosyl diacylglycerol (DGDG), espinaca (Portuguese, Spanish), espinafre (Portuguese - Brazil), épinard (French), folates, folic acid, glycolipids, gobre palungo (Nepalese), goli spinat (Croatian), hourensou (Japanese), iron, isfanahk (Arabic), ispanahk (Arabic), ispanak (Turkish), ispany (Persian), lutein, monogalactosyl diacylglycerol (MGDG), oxalate, paala koora (Telugu), paalak (Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu), palunga (Nepali), paraj (Hungarian), pinatti (Finnish), pinni (Hindi), potassium, rau bó xôi (Vietnamese), retinoids, sabanekh (Arabic - Egypt), shi geum chi (Korean), shi gum chi (Korean), shpinat ogorodnyi (Russian), sigmchi (Korean), silicon, spanaki (Greek), spenat (Swedish), spenót (Hungarian), spermatophyte, špinača (Slovenian), spinach, spinach extract (NAO), spinach ferredoxin/ferredoxin reductase, spinach powder, Spinacia oleracea, spinacio (Italian), spinat (Danish, Dutch, Norwegian), Spinat (German), spinazi (Dutch), Spinner spinach, Springer spinach, sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol (SQDG), szpinak warzywny (Polish), tered (Hebrew), tered hagina (Hebrew), vitamin A, vitamin B6, zeaxanthin.
Note: The following plants are of a different genus and species than Spinacia oleracea: Indian spinach (Basella alba), New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides; T. expansa), and water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica), and they are not included in this monograph.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Age-related macular degeneration
Regular consumption of spinach may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (loss of vision). Low-quality studies investigating the correlation of the intake of carotenoids and vitamins found in spinach noted a significant trend for risk reduction. While this is promising, additional research is necessary before a conclusion can be made.