Food

Ordinary plate herb – intolerance & allergy

Ordinary plate herb

The common plate herb is a flowering plant that grows wild in Northwest America and now also in Europe. Due to its high nutrient and vitamin C content, it is still popular today as a salad or vegetable side dish.

This is what you should know about the common plate herb

The common plate herb belongs to the plate herb genus (lat. Claytonia). In German it is also called Cuba spinach , winter purslane or postelein . There are a total of 26 different types of plate herbs.

The common platewort is easily distinguished from most of these species as the uppermost leaves unite into a single bract surrounding the stem. This gives the impression that the flower stalk is growing through the leaf, which the Latin species name “perfoliata” (= through the leaf) also expresses. The remaining leaves are rhombic to ovate and have a long stalk. The inflorescence above the collar-like bract consists of 5-40 flowers. The small, mostly white flowers show five petals, indicating that they belong to the carnation plant order(Caryophyllales). The common plate herb germinates in autumn at temperatures below 12 °C. Depending on the course of the winter, larger plants can be found as early as October, and in cold winters from February. The flowering period lasts from February to May.

At the end of May the plant dies and only the seeds survive the summer in the ground. The plant is edible including flowers and root. It tastes mildly sweet and nutty. The common plate herb from its original home, the mountain regions from southern Alaska to Central America, has retained its preference for cool, not too bright locations. The German name Kuba-Spinat indicates that English settlers brought the plant to Cuba because its consumption offers good protection against scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency. From there it spread to Australia and Europe.

There is evidence that the botanist Archibald Menzies cultivated specimens of the plant in Kent Garden in 1794 and thus brought them to Europe. In northern and north-western Germany, the common plate herb thrives on fields and in gardens as a “weed”, but is also grown in greenhouses and grown for consumption. The common plate herb is the only species of its genus that grows in Europe.

importance to health

The common plate herb is the first crop that can be harvested at the beginning of a new year and eaten fresh. The Indians and European settlers were able to protect themselves from scurvy with Claytonia because it has a very high vitamin C content.

This quality helped him to become very popular in his country of origin. In this country, too, the early maturity of the plate herb helps to bridge the time until other useful plants are harvested, without having to resort to imported goods. Claytonia has remained a wild plant to this day and has not been modified by human intervention. Therefore, although the plant is small, it has an unusually high vitamin and nutrient content compared to other crops. As a wild plant, it contains a lot of chlorophyll, whose antioxidant components bind free radicals and thus slow down cell aging. Eating them uncooked increases the release of the happiness hormone serotonin .

As a typical leafy vegetable, Claytonia is low in fat and high in fiber. In its native USA, the common plate herb is often used as an ingredient in vegetable smoothies or salads. It is ideal as a herbal companion to a diet or detoxification cure. It can also be eaten cooked like spinach .

Ingredients & nutritional values

The common plate herb is a popular wild vegetable in the USA (called “miner’s lettuce” = “miner’s lettuce”), which is why its ingredients have been examined by the authorities. Without liquid components ( water , fats ), the dry matter consists of 37% proteins , 42.5% long-chain carbohydrates (sugar) and 12.4% roughage .

A serving of about 100g has about 20 calories. This covers 33% of the vitamin C requirement of an adult, 22% of the required amount of vitamin A and 10% of the iron requirement. The plant has a very low content of oxalic acid , a harmful cytotoxin found in large doses that is found in many other vegetables. The protein components include many antioxidant substances from chlorophyll, such as beta-carotene. Claytonia also has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids , calcium and magnesium .

Intolerances & allergies

The most common allergens such as pollen, nuts or gluten bear no resemblance to the ingredients of common plate herb. Most allergy sufferers can therefore eat this plant without hesitation. However, there are people who suffer from what is known as a “salad allergy”. The hallmarks are swelling of the oral cavity , skin rash and discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract .

The allergic symptoms appear on contact with salads ( lettuce , chicory ), spices ( tarragon , cardamom), herbal teas ( chamomile , yarrow ) and certain types of vegetables ( artichoke , black salsify). Lettuce allergy sufferers are not allergic to all of these plants at the same time or to the same extent. Most plants belong to the daisy family (Asteraceae), but this is not an exclusion criterion.

Scientists have identified the LPT (lipid transfer protein) Lac S1, which is also formed by non-daisy plants, as the causative allergen. Therefore, anyone affected by a lettuce allergy should also be careful when consuming common plate cabbage.

Shopping & kitchen tips

The common plate herb is mostly known on German markets by its vernacular names Winter purslane and Postelein. However, it does not belong to the purslane and is not related to the similar-looking summer purslane.

The usual plate herb is offered at well-stocked weekly markets and it is often found as an accompaniment in the vegetable boxes that consumers can obtain directly from organic producers. Due to its distribution in north-west Germany, winter purslane is rarely found in central and southern Germany. The winter purslane offered at markets usually comes from greenhouses. Since Claytonia perfoliata is now also native to us, you can grow it yourself or harvest it in nature. Anyone who collects the plant in nature should do so at a sufficient distance from roads and other sources of pollution.

Preparation tips

In principle, the whole plant can be harvested and eaten, but the roots should be boiled beforehand. If you don’t want to eat the roots, just harvest the leaves. To do this, simply pluck off the leaves carefully with the stem. Unless all leaves are removed, the plant can grow new leaves that can be harvested later. Harvesting can begin with young plants from 5 cm and continue until the plant has withered. The leaves can be eaten raw after thorough washing. A number of tasty recipes can be found on the Internet as a suggestion for further use.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.