A survey of the world’s most popular house plants suggests that there’s a lot more than meets the eye, as some of the plants are considered to be pests, and others are potentially beneficial.
The survey of more than 5,000 plant experts across the globe, carried out by researchers from the Centre for Environmental Science and Policy at University College London (UCL), found that the majority of house plants in Europe are safe, but that the same plant could be poisonous, or even beneficial in some cases.
Researchers found that in Europe, the most popular garden plants, such as spinach, lettuce and cabbage, were the least safe to consume, but were found to be beneficial in other areas of the body.
“Some plants, particularly spinach, are actually quite toxic to humans, particularly if you eat them raw,” said lead author and UCL professor of plant sciences and plant pathology, Paul Cockerham.
“But they are still quite harmless to humans.”
Other plants are very beneficial to humans when they are eaten, particularly when you eat fresh, and these are the house plants.
“House plants are a diverse group of plant species, ranging from the simple, native plants that you find in gardens, to the more colourful, edible varieties that have become increasingly popular in recent decades.
But in the case of spinach, the authors found that although it is a popular plant in the UK, it is found in all parts of Europe and has been linked to some of Europe’s highest rates of food poisoning.”
It’s actually a good thing that spinach is safe, as people are often afraid to eat spinach because it looks like a big blob of white,” said co-author and Ucl Department of Horticulture and Horticulture Research (HHIR) research fellow, Professor David Gee, who is also a researcher in plant pathology at the University of Oxford.”
I’m a big fan of spinach because I think it’s so easy to prepare, you can actually make a spinach salad and it tastes really good.
“Professor Gee said that spinach had been a popular choice in Europe for several centuries, despite being banned in the country in 1882, due to its health benefits.”
Spinach was also the favourite food of the French King Louis XIV, who had this famous salad of spinach and leeks and onions,” Professor Gee explained.”
There are stories that he would take his servants and cook it, but when the King died, he had to cook it himself, and his people loved it.
“He cooked the salad daily and it was so good that he was given a royal order to cook and serve it to his guests, and the king didn’t like it.”
Drinking spinach juice is also considered to have a number of health benefits, with some experts claiming that drinking a cup of spinach juice daily can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and lower blood sugar levels.
“The more spinach you eat, the less likely you are to have high blood pressure,” said Dr Ian Hickey, a medical doctor from the University College, London.
“And people who eat lots of spinach are healthier, too.”
Dr Hickey said that there was evidence that eating spinach daily was also associated with reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
“As people eat more spinach, their heart rates go up,” he said.
“People who eat a lot of spinach have a lower risk of dying of heart attack.”
According to Professor Gecke, the European Commission has proposed a new ‘European Food Safety Code’ that would allow plants and plants products to be labelled as safe or not safe.
“We’ve made it clear to the EU that we’re going to try to have the EU code of conduct in place that will include these plant-derived ingredients,” he explained.
This will help us understand whether they’re actually harmful to humans.
“For the study, Professor Cockerhill and Dr Hickey recruited experts from around the world to carry out a survey of plant experts, including members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Plant Industry Association, the International Society for the Preservation of Plant Medicinal Uses (ISPMU), and the European Union’s Food Safety Authority (EFSA).”
We had some pretty impressive results from the whole group, so we decided to ask some of our colleagues from other countries, like Germany, and even the United States, to help out,” said Professor Cockingham.
Professor Geck and Dr Gee hope that the new code will provide an incentive for other scientists to research these plant products.”
Professor Cockerhay also said that the researchers hope that they can help to reduce the number of people being exposed to the harmful effects of these plants.””
I think we need to take a look at what is the safest, and what is not, and then come up with a policy based on that.”
Professor Cockerhay also said that the researchers hope that they can help to reduce the number of people being exposed to the harmful effects of these plants.