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Orach, also known as Atriplex hortensis, is an ancient cultivated plant that has been used in various cultures for thousands of years. Its discovery and use as a medicinal and foodstuff dates back to ancient times. The plant belongs to the foxtail family and is often used as an alternative to spinach.

Discovery and history

Orach was already cultivated and valued in the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Rome. Archaeological finds prove that the plant was already known more than 2000 years ago. It was used as a food and medicinal plant and was regarded as a symbol of health and fertility.

Forms of application and dosage

Orach can be consumed in various ways:

  • Fresh as a salad: The young leaves are ideal for salads. They have a mild, slightly salty taste and are rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Cooked: Similar to spinach, it can be steamed or boiled. It is suitable as a side dish or ingredient for soups and stews.
  • Dried as a tea: The leaves can be dried and used as a tea. One teaspoon of dried leaves per cup of hot water is a common dosage.
  • As a dietary supplement: In capsule form or as a powder, it can be taken in concentrated form. A dosage of approx. 500 mg per day is recommended.

Orach: Healing applications and effects on the organism

It is used in naturopathy for various complaints:

  • Digestive problems: The plant contains dietary fiber, which promotes digestion and can relieve constipation. The bitter substances also stimulate the appetite and aid digestion.
  • Inflammation: Thanks to its antioxidant properties, it helps to reduce inflammation in the body. It contains flavonoids and saponins, which have an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Respiratory diseases: A tea can relieve coughs and bronchitis. The expectorant properties of the plant make it easier to cough up.
  • Kidney and urinary tract diseases: It has a diuretic effect, which can be helpful for urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
  • High blood pressure: The high potassium content helps to regulate blood pressure.

Mechanisms of action in the body

Orach has a positive effect on the body in many ways:

  • Detoxification: the diuretic properties promote the elimination of toxins.
  • Antioxidant protection: The antioxidants contained in the plant protect the cells from free radicals and support the immune system.
  • Mineral supply: With its high iron, magnesium and potassium content, it contributes to the supply of minerals and thus supports muscle and nerve function.
  • Blood formation: Due to the iron it contains, it promotes the formation of red blood cells and can therefore help with anemia.

Recommended intake and contraindications

Orach should preferably be taken in the following situations:

  • In case of indigestion: Regular consumption can regulate digestion.
  • To support the immune system: Especially in the winter months, taking it can strengthen the immune system.
  • For high blood pressure: Regular consumption can help to lower blood pressure.

It is not recommended for certain people:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be cautious and consult their doctor due to insufficient studies.
  • People with kidney disease: The diuretic effect can put additional strain on the kidneys.
  • People with iron overload: As orach is rich in iron, people with hemochromatosis should avoid taking it.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

The following dietary supplements and medicinal plants can also be taken for optimum effect:

  • Vitamin C: Supports iron absorption from orach.
  • Turmeric: Strengthens the anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Nettle: Can enhance the detoxifying effect in combination with orach.
  • Magnesium supplements: Support muscle function and work synergistically with magnesium from orach.

Occurrence in food

In addition to direct consumption, it is contained in various foods or can be used as an ingredient:

  • Green smoothies: it can be used fresh as an ingredient in green smoothies.
  • Herb salads: Fresh leaves go well in mixed herb salads.
  • Vegetable soups: The leaves can be chopped and used as an ingredient in soups.

Orach: Possible side effects and overdose

It is generally well tolerated, but side effects can occur:

  • Gastrointestinal complaints: In rare cases, sensitive individuals may experience flatulence or diarrhea.
  • Allergic reactions: People with an allergy to foxtail plants should be cautious.

The following symptoms may occur in case of overdose:

  • Nausea and vomiting: Too much orach can cause stomach upset.
  • Electrolyte disturbances: The diuretic effect can lead to electrolyte disturbances.

Orach: use in naturopathy

It is used in phytotherapy as a natural remedy. In this traditional medicine, it is valued above all for its many health-promoting properties. As well as being used internally as a tea or dietary supplement, it is also used externally in the form of compresses and baths for skin diseases and inflammations.

Orach: further details and applications

Its many health benefits and versatility make it a valuable addition to modern nutrition and naturopathy. In this section, we look at further aspects that underline the potential of this plant.

Further medical applications

In addition to its general health benefits, it can also be used specifically for certain illnesses:

  • Rheumatism and joint pain: its anti-inflammatory properties make it a helpful remedy for rheumatic complaints and joint pain. Regular consumption or external application in the form of compresses can provide relief.
  • Skin problems: It can be used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory active ingredients support healing and soothe skin irritations.
  • Blood purification: It is traditionally used for blood purification. It helps to remove toxins from the body and strengthens the immune system.

Orach: Supplementary nutritional and lifestyle tips

To take full advantage of the health benefits, a few additional dietary and lifestyle tips should be followed:

  • Balanced diet: a balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, wholegrain products and healthy fats supports the positive effects.
  • Fluid intake: Adequate fluid intake is important, especially when taken for its diuretic properties.
  • Regular exercise: Physical activity contributes to overall health and supports the effects of medicinal plants such as orach.

Interactions with other medicinal plants and food supplements

Orach can be effectively combined with other medicinal plants and supplements to maximize the health benefits:

  • Dandelion: combined with orach, dandelion can enhance diuretic and detoxifying properties.
  • Milk thistle: This plant supports liver function and complements the detoxifying effect.
  • Zinc supplements: Zinc supports the immune system and can supplement the anti-inflammatory properties.

Orach: Other occurrences and recipes

It is not only valuable as a medicinal plant, but also as a tasty ingredient in the kitchen. Here are some recipe ideas:

  • Garden pennywortpesto: Fresh garden pennywort leaves can be combined with garlic, olive oil, parmesan and nuts to make a tasty pesto.
  • Orach quiche: The leaves can be used in a quiche along with other vegetables such as tomatoes and zucchinis.
  • Orach smoothie: A green smoothie made from orach, banana, apple and a dash of lemon juice is not only healthy, but also delicious.

Safety and quality

When buying orach and orach products, there are a number of safety and quality aspects to consider:

  • Organic: look for organically grown produce to minimize pesticide and contaminant content.
  • Freshness and storage: Fresh garden pennywort leaves should be stored in a dark and cool place to preserve their nutrients. Dried leaves and powder should be kept tightly closed and stored in a dry place.
  • Quality certificates: For food supplements and dried products, it is important to look for certificates and test results that confirm the quality and purity of the product.


Orach is a remarkable plant with a long history as a food and remedy. Its many health benefits, ease of use and culinary versatility make it a valuable addition to modern nutrition and natural medicine. When used and dosed correctly, it can make an important contribution to health and well-being. However, individual health requirements and possible contraindications must be taken into account when using it.

Published on: 4. July 2024


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