Herbs & Plants

Sea beet

Botanical Name: Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima
Family: Amaranthaceae/Chenopodiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales
Genus: Beta
Species: B. vulgaris
Subspecies: B. v. subsp.

Synonyms: B. maritima.

Common Names: Sea beet

Habitat : Sea beet is found in maritime locations in Europe, northern Africa, and southern Asia. In the British Isles it is found round the coasts of England, Wales, Ireland and southern Scotland. It grows at the top of sand and pebble beaches, at the drift-line on saltmarshes, on sea-walls, coastal rocks and cliffs. It also occurs on wasteland near the sea, and occasionally on rubbish tips and roadsides inland. On the pebble banks of Chesil Beach in Dorset, it dominates the drift-line along with oraches Atriplex spp., and is in dynamic equilibrium with a community dominated by shrubby sea-blite Suaeda vera.

Sea beet is an erect and sprawling perennial plant up to 60 cm (2 ft) high with dark green, leathery, untoothed, shiny leaves. The lower leaves are wavy and roughly triangular while the upper leaves are narrow and oval. The inflorescence is borne on a thick, fleshy grooved stem in a leafy spike.Its flowers are hermaphroditic, and wind-pollinated. The individual flowers are green and tiny with the sepals thickening and hardening around the fruits.


Cultivation: It requires moist, well-drained soils, and does not tolerate shade. However, it is able to tolerate relatively high levels of sodium in its environment.

Propagation: Through seed – sow between March to May in situ.

Edible Uses:
The sea beet is the wild ancestor of common vegetables such as beetroot, sugar beet, and Swiss chard.Its leaves have a pleasant texture and taste, being good served raw or cooked, and because of this, it is also known as wild spinach.

Medicinal Uses:
Although little used in modern herbalism, beet has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of tumours. A decoction prepared from the seed has been used as a remedy for tumours of the intestines. The seed, boiled in water, is said to cure genital tumours. The juice or other parts of the plant is said to help in the treatment of tumours, leukaemia and other forms of cancer such as cancer of the breast, oesophagus, glands, head, intestines, leg, lip, lung, prostate, rectum, spleen, stomach, and uterus. Some figure that betacyanin and anthocyanin are important in the exchange of substances of cancer cells; others note two main components of the amines, choline and its oxidation product betaine, whose absence produces tumours in mice. The juice has been applied to ulcers. A decoction is used as a purgative by those who suffer from haemorrhoids in South Africa. Leaves and roots used as an emmenagogue. Plant effective in the treatment of feline ascariasis. In the old days, beet juice was recommended as a remedy for anaemia and yellow jaundice, and, put into the nostrils to purge the head, clear ringing ears, and alleviate toothache. Beet juice in vinegar was said to rid the scalp of dandruff as scurf, and was recommended to prevent falling hair. Juice of the white beet was said to clear obstructions of the liver and spleen. Culpepper (1653) recommended it for treating headache and vertigo as well as all affections of the brain[

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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