Malabar Spinach – A wonder green

Scientific name: Basella alba                               Regional name: Bachali kura / Basale
In picture: A fresh harvest of Basella alba from my organic terrace garden.

Basella alba, also called Malabar spinach / Indian Spinach / vine Spinach, is an edible perennial vine.
It is a fast growing, semi-succulent, soft-stemmed vine, rich in Vitamin A, C and Iron. It also has antioxidant properties.

They grow well under hot and humid climates, reaching lengths of 10 meters (33 feet).
They grow in two varieties the green stemmed Basella alba and reddish-purple stemmed cultivar Basella alba ‘Rubra’


  • It is cooked along with red gram (toor dal)  to prepare a accompaniment for rice
  • Also cooked in coconut gravy (mostly in south India)
  • It is often added to salads also
  • It is used as a thickening agent in soups and stews

Health benefits:

  • The leaves and stems are cooked and eaten for their laxative properties. They provide the necessary fiber for the body
  • Due to it diuretic properties it helps eliminate water from body there by flushing toxins
  • A paste of the leaves is applied externally to treat boils and sores
  • It is also used for its anti-inflammatory effects
  • The flowers are used as an antidote to poisons


Some reference recipes: