Chenopodium bonus-henricus / Brave hendrik

Vaste plant uit de familie van de melde-achtigen (Amaranthacaea). Zeldzaam in België en Nederland, zeer algemeen in de Alpen en hooggebergte, vooral op plaatsen waar koeien schuilen en bij verlaten boerderijen. Stikstofminnende plant.

Beschrijving: Bloeiwijzedeel van de stengel vrij kort en sterk vertakt, alleen onderaan met pijl- of spiesvormige en verder gaafrandige schutbladen; bloemkluwens aan de zijassen dicht opeen. Bloemdekbladen niet verdikt, bruinig.

Jonge plant een rozet van volgroeide bladen vormend, die in de bloeitijd (merendeels) afgestorven zijn. De bloeistengel is daardoor aan de voet met een aantal littekens of verweerde resten van bladstelen. De bladvoet pijl- of spiesvormig, met terugwijzende of recht afstaande slippen.

Edible Uses vlgs Pfaff database

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Seed.

Young leaves - raw or cooked[2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 33]. The leaves wilt quickly after picking and so they need to be used as soon after harvesting as possible[264]. They can be used as a potherb[4]. The leaves are best in spring and early summer, the older leaves become tough and bitter[200]. The raw leaves should only be eaten in small quantities, see the notes above on toxicity. Young leaves can be chopped and used as a small part of mixed salads, though we are not enamoured by their flavour[K]. The cooked leaves make an acceptable spinach substitute, but are best mixed with nicer leaves[K]. The leaves are a good source of iron[244]. Young flowering shoots - cooked[2, 27, 132, 264]. When grown on good soil, the shoots can be as thick as a pencil[4]. When about 12cm long, they are cut just under the ground, peeled and used like asparagus[183]. A very pleasant spring vegetable[K]. The plant is sometimes blanched by excluding the light in order to produce a longer and more succulent shoot, though this practice also reduces the quantity of vitamins in the shots[264, K]. Young flower buds - cooked[33, 183]. Considered to be a gourmet food[183], though they are rather small and harvesting any quantity takes quite a while[K]. Seed - ground and mixed with flour then used in making bread etc. The seed is small and fiddly but is easily harvested[K]. It should be soaked in water overnight and thoroughly rinsed before it is used in order to remove any saponins[K].

Medicinal Uses

Emollient; Laxative; Vermifuge.

The herb is emollient, laxative and vermifuge[7, 154]. This remedy should not be used by people suffering from kidney complaints or rheumatism[7]. A poultice of the leaves has been used to cleanse and heal chronic sores, boils and abscesses[4, 7]. The seed is a gentle laxative that is suitable for children[7].

Other Uses: Dye.

Gold/green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant[168].

Cultivation details

Prefers a fertile humus rich soil in a sunny position[9, 16, 200]. The plant produces a better quality harvest in the summer if it is grown in light shade[264, K]. A very easily grown plant, it tolerates considerable neglect and succeeds in most soils and situations[16, 33, K]. Good King Henry was at one time frequently cultivated in the garden as a perennial vegetable, but it has fallen out of favour and is seldom grown at present[4, 46]. About thirty plants can produce a good supply of food for four people[264].

African Journal of Microbiology Research Vol. 6(35), pp. 6468-6475, 13 September, 2012. Medicinal and culinary herbs as environmentally safe inhibitors of dangerous toxinogenic plant and human fungal pathogens Martin Zabka*, Roman Pavela and Tatana Sumikova

Crop Research Institute, Drnovska 507, 161 06, Praha 6 Ruzyne, Czech Republic.

.......Superior antifungal activity was finally proved in the case of Chenopodium bonus henricus, Origanum dictamnus and O. vulgare. All three superior effective species are non-toxic to mammals, and they are also frequently used as culinary and medicinal plants. They could be seriously considered as a promising source for the future, with a great potential as bioactive components of environmentally safe botanical fungicides. In addition, this is the first study describing the antifungal effect of Chenopodium bonus henricus.Ch. bonus-henricus is by far the most interesting species. The high efficiency of the Ch. bonus-henricus extract in low concentrations, together with its record of safety for human use, tested over generations, make this culinary and medicinal species (Leporatti and Ivancheva, 2003; Guarrera, 2003, Guarrera and Manzi, 2005; Gonzales-Tajero et al., 2008) a plant with a very favourable potential in the field of safely suppressing pathogenic fungi.

Over de Chenopodium species

Kokanova-Nedialkova Z, Nedialkov PT, Nikolov SD. The genus chenopodium: Phytochemistry, ethnopharmacology and pharmacology. Phcog Rev [serial online] 2009 [cited 2013 May 9];3:280-306. Available from:

The genus chenopodium: Phytochemistry, ethnopharmacology and pharmacology. Zlatina Kokanova-Nedialkova, Paraskev T Nedialkov, Stefan D Nikolov

Pharmacognosy Department, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University of Sofia, Dunav str. 2, 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria

The review includes 154 references on the genus Chenopodium covered up to December 2008 and has been compiled using references mainly from Chemical Abstracts and Pubmed. This article briefly reviews the phytochemistry, ethnopharmacology and pharmacology of Chenopodium genus. Three hundred seventy nine compounds isolated from different species are reported. Fenolics, flavonoids, saponins, ecdysteroids and triterpenoids were the major classes of phytoconstituents of this genus. The detailed distribution of these compounds among the different Chenopodium species with the related references is given in tables. In addition, this review discusses the traditional medicinal uses of different Chenopodium species as well as recent developments done in this aspect.