Notes: In India, the plant is popularly called bathua and found abundantly in the winter season.
Medicinal Information: Fat hen is not employed in herbal medicine, though it does have some gentle medicinal properties and is a very nutritious and healthy addition to the diet. The leaves and young shoots of this plant are used in dishes such as soups, curries, and paratha-stuffed breads, especially popular in Punjab.
One report says that, when eaten with beans, the leaves will act as a carminative to prevent wind and bloating. However, many of the species in this genus contain saponins, though usually in quantities too small to do any harm. The seeds or grains are used in phambra or laafi, gruel-type dishes in Himachal Pradesh, and in mildly alcoholic fermented beverages such as soora and ghanti.


Although toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problem.
The stalk of the mature plant is harvested and used as a strong and flexible walking stick.
The leaves are generally very nutritious but very large quantities can disturb the nervous system and cause gastric pain.
The leaves are applied as a wash or poultice to bug bites, sunstroke, rheumatic joints and swollen feet, whilst a decoction is used for carious teeth.
The seeds are chewed in the treatment of urinary problems and are considered useful for relieving the discharge of semen through the urine.
The plants also contain some oxalic acid, which in large quantities can lock up some of the nutrients in the food, but these plants are very nutritious vegetables in reasonable quantities.


People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.
The seed should be soaked in water overnight and thoroughly rinsed before being used in order to remove any saponins.
A report says that if the plant is grown in soils that contain too much nitrates then the plant can concentrate these substances in the leaves.



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