Minari is a plant with many names. It is known as Chinese celery, water celery, Japanese parsley, Indian pennywort, Indian rye herb, and water dropwort. Its Latin name is Oenanthe javanica, and it grows indigenously in many East Asian countries. A plant with so many names must surely be useful and have many benefits.
Minari plants are used in Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Malaysian cuisine. It is useful in detoxification, reduces blood pressure and inflammation, helps treat hives, fever, and dehydration, and protects the liver against damage. It is used in a fish stew as a hangover cure.
Oenanthe javanica or the minari plant is a herb that grows as a small shrub. It prefers moist soil and grows on the edges of streams and ponds. Minari has been listed as an invasive weed in some states of the USA.
1. The Minari Plant Is Edible
Minari is known by many local names across Asia and is eaten as a vegetable in many countries. In Korea, it is very popular, readily available, and forms part of their regular vegetable intake. Minari is even eaten as far west as Italy.
The new spring shoots are generally preferred as they are soft and tender with less bitterness than the older leaves and shoots. It is popular to blanch minari shoots and eat them with soy sauce and garlic in some places.
Minari can be used as a herb where it is used in small amounts to flavor food. It has a bitter, peppery taste similar to celery. It may be used to flavor sandwiches, stews, meat, and egg dishes.
In Japan, Minari plants are called seri. They are used in a ceremonial dish prepared to celebrate the spring festival each year. In India, Minari is known as komprek, and it forms an important ingredient in two dishes; Manipuri Eromba and Singju.
What Vitamins Are Found In The Minari Plant?
Minari is eaten as a vegetable. As you will know, most vegetables contain vitamins and minerals – that’s why our mothers make us eat them. Minari is no different and includes some essential nutrients.
Minari has high levels of the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin E
Vitamin A is critical for the correct functioning and health of our eyes. Vitamin B is used throughout the body but is especially important in the skin, nervous system, and manufacture of hormones. Vitamin E maintains skin elasticity amongst other functions.
Calcium, magnesium, and potassium are minerals critical to the functioning of muscles, including the heart. They are essential for bone development and cell functioning. Iron is necessary for hemoglobin production, which carries oxygen molecules in the red blood cells.
Betacarotene soaks up free radical oxygen molecules, which can cause cancer and inflammation. This classifies Minari as an antioxidant and indicates why it helps with detoxification.
2. The Minari Plant Is Great For Hangovers!
In South Korea, a spicy fish stew known as maeuntang is made using Minari. It is a well-known hangover cure. Maeuntang is also often eaten by people while drinking a lot of alcohol to counteract the toxic effects.
In other Asian countries, Minari may be dried and crushed into powder. You can mix the Minari powder with water and drink it to cure the unpleasant effects of a hangover. Its rehydration abilities and vitamin profile help quickly dispel the results of drinking alcohol in excess.
A study showed that Minari increases the elimination of ethanol which is why it is popular to eat when drinking alcohol and can help cure hangovers.
3. The Scientific Benefits Of The Minari Plant
In 2016 a review of the medicinal properties of Minari revealed a surprising number of benefits.
- Anti-arrhythmic – helps to regulate heartbeats.
- Anti-inflammatory effects are implemented by the chemicals persicaria and isorhamnetin found in Minari.
- Neuro-protective – in a preliminary study involving rats, it was shown that Minari could protect neurons against transient cerebral ischemia. Minari could have a significant impact on the recovery of stroke patients.
- Neurogenic – helps repair and rebuild nerve tissue
- Hepato (liver) protective. This is achieved by limiting oxidative stress and inflammation in the liver.
- Alcohol detoxifier
- Reduces cholesterol
- Reduces blood pressure
- Prevents osteoporosis
- Aids in the fight against hepatitis B by protecting the liver from damage due to this disease.
- Enhances the production of melanin, which protects the skin against oxidative stress and enhances black hair growth.
- Detoxes the body from a number of toxins, including heavy metals such as mercury.
- Improves memory and brain functioning.
There are several medicines and supplements being developed that will use Minari to improve brain functioning and memory, treat cancer, and detoxify a body from alcohol. Many other benefits of Minari are still being investigated to maximize their potential.
Is The Minari Plant Toxic?
Minari is not toxic, and there are no known side effects of eating or using Minari. Currently, there are no dosing guidelines when using Minari to treat an illness. One problem that exists is that Minari is the only planet in the Oenanthe family that is not toxic. All other Oenanthe plants are deadly.
Many other plants in the Oenanthe family have a similar appearance to Minari and are mistakenly eaten. They are highly toxic, and ingestion rapidly results in death. In the USA, two to three deaths per year are reported as a result of mistakenly ingesting the wrong Oenanthe plant.
4. The Minari Plant Can Be Used As A Fish Food
Fish love Minari, and people who own fish ponds or fish tanks might like to cut up Minari and feed it to the fish. The high vitamin and mineral content helps keep the fish healthy. It is easy to grow next to the pond so that you have a ready supply of fish food.
Minari is a remarkable plant that is eaten as a vegetable and used as a flavoring in foods. It has many medicinal qualities used for centuries by eastern medical practitioners. The benefits of Minari are only recently being investigated by western scientists.
It is important not to mistake Minari for one of the other Oenanthe plants as Minari is the only non-toxic plant in this family.