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Beet leaf (Beta vulgaris rubra)Latin Name: Beta vulgaris rubra
Common Names: Beet leaf
Beta vulgaris rubra is the scientific name of the common beet - the same root vegetable used in the Russian delicacy known as borscht as well as the manufacture of table sugar in the U.S. Those who buy organic bulk herbs may not think of beet leaf as being among the more valuable natural herbs, but it is.
In fact, dried beet leaf is probably one of the earliest recorded bulk herbs used in Western medicine. The "Father of Modern Medicine," Hipokrates of Kos, used beet leaf powder as a coagulant for wounds; the ancient Romans employed the juice as an aphrodisiac (beets are known to contain high amounts of boron, which may stimulate the production of hormones).
The leaves of the beta vulgaris rubra plant make an excellent salad green, containing far more nutrients than typical iceberg lettuce (not to mention flavor!) In fact, bitter greens such as beet leaf, mustard greens, collards and chard (another variety of the beet) have long been known to be extra-nutritious and delicious stewed as well as in salads and on sandwiches. If you are planning to buy herbs and spices in bulk, you'll find that dried beta vulgaris rubra powder is one of the more useful dried herbs to have on your shelf; it is said to confer many of the same benefits as eating the leaf itself.
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