Chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius) is a must have in your central Florida foodscape.  We currently grow two varieties of Tree Spinach (another name for Chaya).  I’m not sure how many varieties there are, but it’s my understanding they all have similar properties.   

Why grow it?   

  1. It’s a superfood loaded with nutrition!  (Protein, Calcium, Iron in addition to vitamins like A and C)  
  1. It’s super Easy to grow in Tropical and sub-tropical areas (like central FL)  
  1. It is delicious! 

Why doesn’t everyone eat this every day?  

Here’s the deal…Raw Chaya contains hydrocyanic glycosides.  That means you have to cook it in order to neutralize those compounds.  Now I’ve heard many version of what that means from one extreme of small amounts being tolerable raw all the way to boiling for extended periods.  Please do your own research to determine your own comfort level with what this means.  For me? This means I boil the leaves for my comfort level and then the water and leaves are ready for whatever comes next.  

What about the other medical claims?   

I’m no Doctor or even an herbalist to know which of the medicinal claims are true.  Just know there are many amazing claims about this plant.  Just the verifiable nutrition claims are good enough for me.  If even a small percentage of the medicinal claims are true, then Chaya truly is a miracle plant worthy of a place in your diet and landscape.