Galinsoga

Galinsoga – Galinsoga parviflora

Description

This leafy, upright, summer annual has the common name used by my Dad ‘gallant soldier’ and is cursed as an invasive weed, yet it is valued as a pot herb in other parts of the world. I find it a pretty plant with its pointed, oval yellowish-green leaves in opposite pairs that are toothed and pointed with hairs on the leaf margins and stems.  It has small flowers in clusters that have five white petals – three lobed at the tips with yellow centres called disc florets (right). galensogaflowers

Flowering from October-April it likes to grow amongst your vegetables and flowers in cultivated land, pasture and waste places in sun and partial shade. It is named after a man called M.M. Galinsoga an 18th Century Spanish physician; parviflora is Latin for small flowers.

It is not that common all over NZ yet but once you have it in the garden it is usually there to stay. It is native to South America and known as Guascas in Colombia, being an essential ingredient in Bogota chicken and potato stew/soup called ajiaco.

Nutritional Qualities

You can use the leaves especially of young plants seen above, stems and even the flowers in smoothies, salads, stews, steamed or juiced and mixed with other juices. It is mild in flavour and can be dried for winter use.  Galinsoga is another remedy (along with plantain and dock) for neutralizing the sting of nettles.  It is astringent in its action and can be used to help clot the blood of cuts and wounds.

In 100gm of this plant there are 3.2g protein and 1.1g of fiber (compared to spinach which has 2.9g protein and 2.6g of fiber).  It is high in calcium: 284mg per 100gm (parsley 140mg), Vitamin A or beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, zinc, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and Vitamin C as ascorbic acid.

In a 2007 study at the University of  Kwa-Zulu, Durban, South Africa, 16 herbs were studied for possible ACE inhibitors. ACE inhibitors, which are also made synthetically by drug companies to treat high blood pressure, help prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease. One of the herbs found to exhibit ACE inhibitors and so help improve blood flow was Galinsoga parviflora or guascas. (Chenopodium album  or Fat Hen was another) Recent studies have also demonstrated the antioxidants and phenolic compounds present in guascas can inhibit high blood sugar levels or hyperglysemia and also hypertension galensogasmoothieassociated with type 2 diabetes. Source:

http://herbs-herbal-supplements.knoji.com/herbs-guascas-or-gallant-soldier-history-culinary-uses-and-nutrition/

The photo right shows a thick patch of galinsoga with Circulation smoothie in the middle

25 Responses to “Galinsoga”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Karen Koper says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m in the northeast US and have a garden full of galinsoga. I’ve eaten them before cooked and they were very good. I was wondering about the nutritional value and you answered my question. It’s kind of interesting that a weed in my garden is also pervasive on the other side of the world. Guess that’s why they call it the gallant soldier.

    • Julia says:

      Lovely to have your comments. Thank you for sharing and yes the name is apt isn’t it for gallantly spreading everywhere.

  2. Paul Mallett says:

    Thanks for your info

    I’m in southern Canada and could never find the name or description of this weed, I eat all types but wanted to have a positive match for this one. I will take your advice and dry them over the winter.

    Paul

    • Julia says:

      Good to hear from you Paul – very glad you were able to identify galinsoga – good idea to dry it for winter use. We’re just moving into spring so they will be popping up again with us soon.

  3. Mary says:

    I am wondering where I can buy galinsoga plant. My husband and I lived in Bogota, Colombia, and fell in love with Ajiaco. I know that I can buy them dried from “Amigo Foods. com. However, I will still like to grow them myself.

    Thanks

  4. Hamish says:

    Crikey! I have had the thing for all of this century and hate it with a passion. So… its good to have a name for it instead of the DYFW (dreaded yellow flowering weed) and nice to see that we can eat the thing. As soon as a crop next appears I will not only dig it out but also try gnashing it. Now need the Bogota Chicken recipe.

  5. Julia says:

    HI Hamish, great to hear from you and so glad the plant now has a name in your garden. I think we feel that the plants are going to take over, but this one is quite pretty, good for insects, doesn’t get very tall and easy to pull out if you have to. But another amazing feature is that it they’ve done research and found it lowers high blood pressure. I agree it spreads a lot but I never worry about it now and it disappears completely in winter. I did see that recipe for Bogota stew – I think I googled it, in case you want to find it. I haven’t tried it yet myself but want to.

  6. tatiana says:

    Hello, I am from Colombia and have been trying to find some seeds or the plant to grow them myself. If someone can suggest a place to get them I will be extremely thankful!

  7. Carolyn says:

    I am also looking for the plant or seeds of Galinsoga parviflora. Any ideas of a source for either?
    Thank you.

  8. James says:

    Do you know if galinsoga has oxalic acid in it?

  9. Julia says:

    HI James, galensoga is in the aster family of plants along with dandelions. Dandelions do not have oxalic acid and it is my experience that nor does galensoga. If I have too much oxalic acid I get a dry throat and I don’t get that with galensoga.
    Thank you for your question it is a good one!! Best wishes, Julia

  10. Bruce Hoffman says:

    Been gardening in the same spot for 17-18 years. Three years ago I got some cow manure and also got this weed. Ive been trying to get rid of it for three years. Now I find out people want it? People eat it? this stuff grows like crazy! I guess im going to have to try eating it. Its easy to grow,LOL. Named Gallant Soldier,this stuff will march all over. Wonder if you can make a tea out of it. 😉 ,Northern Indiana. Thanks Julia

    • Julia says:

      I’m sure you can make tea of it. Sorry took SO long to reply to you!! Have you tried eating gallant soldier in the meantime?? It is growing now in NZ (Dec) and I enjoy it in smoothies but steams and in salads too. Happy experimenting!

  11. Saulo villamizar says:

    Where can i bay seeds

  12. Saulo villamizar says:

    Where can i buy galinsoga parviflora seeds?

  13. Julia says:

    I have seeds of galensoga you can buy. Where do you live? I am in New Zealand.

  14. Heidi says:

    Hi I’m Heidi and live in Southern California. Very useful info! A question: Why does My galinsoga only have the yellow florets but is missing those five petals with the gap in between? And yes, it has the black seeds that get stuck in my clothes. The leaves looks so healthy I want to eat them!

    • Julia says:

      Hi Heidi, sorry for slow reply! I honestly don’t know the answer to why your plant doesn’t have the gaps in the petals. There may be different varieties but I am not familiar with other varieties. I will look on the website called plants for a future and you could too. It is a great resource. Best wishes

  15. Lizelle says:

    Hi Julia:)

    I have been looking for info on this plant and found your site very interesting.

    I am combating septoria leave spot on my nightshades. I will finish of with this crop and then rotate next year with something more resistant to this as my garden is currently a battle field.

    Gallant soldiers are marching all over the tomato garden and I need to know, since the battle of septoria will continue next year, are they prove to get infected too? Will the soldiers take the spores to their graves resulting in diseased resurections?

  16. Julia says:

    I don’t know the answer to that question, i will ask a gardening expert though.

  17. Angelica Lonergan says:

    I am from Bogota, Colombia. I use “guascas” to make ajiaco. It is the most important ingredient for this soup. I would love to have the galinsoga in my yard. My husband loves it. I live in the Northeast of USA. It will be nice is somebody has the seeds I will like to buy. Thanks.

  18. Angelica Lonergan says:

    I am from Bogota, Colombia. I use “guascas” to make ajiaco. It is the most important ingredient for this soup. I would love to have the galinsoga in my yard. My husband loves it. I live in the Northeast of USA. It will be nice is somebody has the seeds I will like to buy. Thanks.

  19. Julia says:

    HI Angelica thank you for writing to me great to hear from you and to know you like this plant and use it in ajiaco! I have seeds but I live in New Zealand and I don’t know if I am allowed to send you seeds with border controls etc. Ask a friend to send you some from Colombia would be the best – or if someone is visiting Colombia get them to bring you some back. It has lots of seeds and is easy to collect. The seeds are very small. Its a great plant I love it. All the best finding some.

Leave a Comment

*