Good King Henry (Blitum bonus-henricus syn. Chenopodium bonus-henricus)


A PERENNIAL growing to 30cm. The broad, triangular to diamond-shaped leaves with a pair of broad pointed lobes near the base, have a slightly waxy, succulent texture.
Prefers a well-drained moist soil in a full sun position.
Flowers, leaves and seeds are edible and the plant was historically grown as a vegetable in cottage gardens, although it has fallen out of practice.
Medicinally it is nutrative, being very high in iron, as well as being emollient, laxative and vermifuge.

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The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw they can be added to salads soon after picking (before they wilt) and should be eaten only in smaller amounts. Cooked, the leaves can be eaten like a spinach. The young flowering shoots can be cooked as a vegetable and is a pleasing substitute for asparagus. Flower buds are cooked and considered a gourmet food.
Use only as a medicine if there is no kidney problems. A poultice of the leaves can be used to help with abscesses, boils and sores. A gold/green dye is obtained from the whole plant.

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