Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, commonly known as chaya or tree spinach, is a large, fast-growing leafy perennial shrub that is believed to have originated in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. It has succulent stems which exude a milky sap when cut. It can grow to be 6 meters tall, but is usually pruned to about 2 m for easier leaf harvest. It is a popular leaf vegetable. Chaya, called ‘miracle plant’
How to pick it?
Pick the leaves from the tree.
- cures skin blisters and scratches
- aids digestion
- resolves vaginal issues and boosts vitality in men
- cures fiver, reumathism and inflammation
- excellent blood builder
Cooking Chaya leaves in an aluminum pan may cause diarrhea. So it is not advised to cook these leaves in the aluminum pan!
Chaya as a food
Some varieties have stinging hairs and require gloves for harvesting. Cooking destroys the stinging hairs. Chaya is one of the most productive green vegetables. Chaya is a good source of protein, vitamins, calcium, and iron, and is also a rich source of antioxidants. However, raw chaya leaves are toxic as they contain a glucoside that can release toxic cyanide. Cooking is essential prior to consumption to inactivate the toxic components; in this chaya is similar to cassava, which also contains toxic hydrocyanic glycosides and must be cooked before being eaten. Cook chaya for 20 minutes in a well-ventilated place. Young chaya leaves and the thick, tender stem tips are cut and boiled as a spinach. It is a tasty vegetable, and is exceptionally high in protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin A. In fact, levels of chaya leaf nutrients are two- to threefold greater than any other land-based leafy green vegetable.