Health benefits of Common Saltwort

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Common saltwort Quick Facts
Name: Common saltwort
Scientific Name: Salsola kali
Origin Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, China and Australia
Shapes Fruits that are 0.19-0.31 in. (4.8-7.9 mm) in diameter including the wings. Wings are opaque with smooth margins and veins
Health benefits Treats Influenza, Helps Losing Weight, Treats Smallpox, Boost the energy, Boosts Immune System, Promote the bones density and structure, Treats Wasp Stings
 Salsola kali L, (synonyms: Salsola. tragus, Salsola. kali var tragus or Salsola. pestifer) is a xero-halophyte plant that belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family. The plant is native to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, China and Australia. It is usually absent in huge areas that include tropical zones, Pacific islands and the Eastern coast of Africa. It is categorized as an important weed in Argentina and Afghanistan, a main weed in Canada and Hungary and a common weed in Iran, Italy, Morocco, South Africa and the USA. The plant has several common names including Common saltwort, Prickly Russian thistle, Prickly saltwort, Russian thistle, saltwort, Russian tumbleweed, prickly glasswort, roly-poly, spiny saltwort and Soft roly-poly. The generic name Salsola means salty, while kali refers to ashes, in allusion to a sodium rich plant. It is widely known simply as tumbleweed because in many regions of the United States, it is the most common and most conspicuous species of tumbleweed. Informally, it also is known as “salsola”, which was its generic name until fairly recently.

Plant Description

Common saltwort is an exotic, annual, erect, xerohalophytic forb. It is highly branched and rounded in form, growing from 1 to 3 feet (0.3-1 m) in height and from 1 to 5 feet (0.3-1.5 m) in diameter. The plant is found growing in roadsides, disturbed areas, scrub vegetation, on former sugarcane fields, heath, shrub land and coastal areas, fallows, agricultural land, range land, abandoned fields, overgrazed pastures, shingle and sand behind beaches, dry gravelly sites, railways, and other dry, stony and sandy areas. It can be found growing in any type of well-drained, uncompacted soil with a sunny exposure. It is most frequent, however, in alkaline or saline soils due to reduced competition. Stem is erect, rarely ascending, profusely branched from or near base (rarely simple in underdeveloped specimens). Branches are arcuate, proximal ones occasionally prostrate.


Leaves are alternate and narrow. Blades are linear, 1-2 mm wide, fleshy, usually not swollen at base, apex acuminate, forming a rather firm spine, 1-1.5(-2.2) mm long. Upper leaves have a sharp point at the apex and are 1.3-2 in. (3.3-5.1 cm) long.

Flowers and Fruits

Flowering occurs from midsummer to fall, when small, pink to greenish flowers develop from the leaf axils. Each flower is subtended by 3, spine-tipped leaves. Fertile flowers are followed by fruits that are 0.19-0.31 in. (4.8-7.9 mm) in diameter including the wings. Wings are opaque with smooth margins and veins. Seeds are cone shaped coiled utricle, 2 mm in diameter, dull brown to grey in color

Health benefits of Common Saltwort

Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of using Common saltwort

1. Treats Influenza

If you suffer from influenza, then you might end up drinking a cup of hot tea. Indeed, tea is a drink which can relieve the certain health problems including fever and influenza. However, in this case, Common saltwort is supposed to have the ability in treating this disease. Thus, having this plant as your herbal treatment is something that should be taken into account.

2. Helps Losing Weight

Common saltwort consists of wonderful amount of fiber. As a result, it will be beneficial for those who want to have a healthy diet. Then, one of the health benefits of Common saltwort for weight loss is to make you feel full longer. Certainly, it will help you to control the appetite. Thus, by having this plant, then you will get the best health benefits you may have never anticipated before.

3. Boost the energy

Magnesium contained in Common saltwort is very beneficial to boost the energy. Magnesium present in this plant helps to calms the nerves and helps with the digestion. Indeed, magnesium does a good job of promoting the body functions and regulating the blood flow. For the tips, you have to consume Common saltwort together with spinach to get the best health results then.

4. Boosts Immune System

Presence of great minerals in Common saltwort can help to strengthen the immune system. What is even greater is the ability to reduce the body inflammation. Furthermore, it will help you to stimulate the production of antibodies and white blood cells as well. Then, with these great benefits of Russian thistle, it will reduce the risks of certain health problems such as a fever, headache, influenza, and weaknesses.

5. Promote the bones density and structure

Another health benefit provided by Common saltwort is the presence of the calcium source in it. It is known that mineral can help to promote the bones density and structure. This will be good as it can avoid the risks of osteoporosis and other bone problems for sure. Therefore, if you want to have the healthy bones, you should consume dairy products including milk and Common saltwort for getting the best health results.

6. Treats Smallpox

Common saltwort has the ability to treat smallpox. The use of this herbal treatment has been used since many years ago. Therefore, you can consult the doctor before using this plant to prevent any risks for sure.

7. Treats Wasp Stings

Common saltwort consists of several nutrients and essential minerals. The nutritional content will help you to treat wasp stings. To use this kind of herbal treatment, then you need to talk to the doctor first. Then, with the doctor’s prescriptions, you can safely use it.

Traditional uses and benefits of using Common Saltwort

  • Juice of the fresh plant is an excellent diuretic.
  • Seedpods can also be used.
  • Salsolin, one of the constituents of the plant, has been used to regulate the blood pressure.
  • It is said to look like papaverine in its effect on vasoconstriction and hydrastine in its effect on the smooth muscles of the uterus.
  • The plant is a folk remedy for dropsy and excrescences.
  • Twisted seed-vessels having the same virtue and being given in infusion.
  • Navaho used a decoction of the ashes, both internally and externally for influenza and smallpox.

Culinary uses

  • It is, however, perfectly safe in small amounts and its acid taste adds a nice flavor to salads.
  • Young leaves and stems can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • It is an excellent food with a crunchy tender texture.
  • Leaves can be used as a spinach substitute or added in small quantities to salads.
  • Seed can be ground into a meal and used as gruel, thickener in soups etc. or added to cereal flours when making bread etc.
  • Seed is small and hard to collect any quantity.

Other Facts

  • Ashes of the burnt plant are used for making glass and soap.
  • At one time large quantities of the ashes were imported into Britain for this purpose, but nowadays a chemical process using salt is employed.
  • Ashes can also be used as a cleaner for fabrics.
  • As a low-water-use plant, germinating quickly on minimally disturbed soils, and relatively free of diseases and parasites, this has been recommended as a fuel source for arid lands.
  • Yields of around 3 tons per hectare of plant material have been achieved.
  • Salsola kali and related species have been used as emergency forage during drought.
  • Whole plant was likewise burnt for its fixed salt used in making glass.
  • Russian-thistle is sometimes used for Christmas decoration.
  • One plant typically produces about 250,000 seeds, which remain viable for less than a year.


  • The plant consists of up to 5% oxalic acid, so it should only be used in moderation.
  • Oxalic acid can lock up certain of the nutrients in food and, if eaten in excess, can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
  • People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyper acidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.



Establish desirable plants such as competitive perennial grasses in disturbed or open areas and after the control of Common saltwort.  Pull or uproot young plants or hoe just below ground level before seed set. Cutting flowers before maturity has worked for some stewards on preserves.  Mowing Salsola kali tends to cause the plant to grow low but repeated mowing may provide control.


Some plants in the Pacific Northwest are resistant to sulfonylurea herbicides such as Glean, Finesse, Ally, Amber, Express and Harmony Extra. Resistance to the trazine herbicides has also been observed. A non-selective broadleaf herbicide such as glyphosate can provide control of Salsola kali. Apply the herbicide before seed set. An application of 2, 4-D may actually cause S. kali to become tough and leathery, producing a plant that is more difficult to manage.






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