Health benefits of Skirret

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Skirret Quick Facts
Name: Skirret
Scientific Name: Sium sisarum
Origin China and Japan
Shapes Small fruits are ridged and are composed of two parts that split open at maturity.
Taste Sweet
Health benefits Support Neural Tube Defects, Indigestion, Eye Health, Skin Health, Boosts Energy, Reduces Inflammation, Promotes Urination and Healthy Hair
Sium sisarum commonly known as skirret, crummock is a perennial plant of the family Apiaceae sometimes grown as a root vegetable. The plant is of Chinese origin, and is mostly cultivated in japan and also in Europe. Some of the popular common names of the plants are Skirret, Suikerwortel, Crummock, Zuckewurzel and chervin. The English name skirret is derived from the Middle English ‘skirwhit’ or ‘skirwort’, meaning ‘white root’, whereas the Germanic names all translate as ‘sugar root’. In Scotland it is known as crummock. Its Danish name sukkerrod, Dutch name suikerwortel. The name (sium) is from the Celtic siu (water), in allusion to their habitat. Skirrets may be boiled, stewed, or roasted. The woody core is inedible, and should be removed before cooking because it is difficult to remove after.

Skirret Facts

Name Skirret
Scientific Name Sium sisarum
Native China and Japan
Common Names Skirret, Suikerwortel, Crummock, Zuckewurzel, chervin
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Skirret
Albanian: Skirret             
Amharic: Skirret              
Arabic: Skirret, Sīsārūn (سيسارون )
Armenian: Dahich (դահիճ)
Azerbaijani: Skirret, Adi sucuqçətiri        
Bengali: Skirret
Bulgarian: Skirret, tesnolisten rucheĭnik (теснолистен ручейник              )
Burmese: Sk rar wate (skရာဝတီ)
Catalan: Escaravia
Chinese: Cān qín (參芹)
Croatian: Skirret              
Czech: Skirret, Sevlák zeleninový             
Danish: Skirret, Sukkerrod
Dutch: Skirret, Suikerwortel       
English: Crummock, Skirret, chervin
Esperanto: Sciuro, sukerradiko 
Estonian: Eraldus            
Filipino: Skirret
Finnish: Skirret, Sokerijuuri
French: Skirret, Berle à sucre, Berle comestible, Berle cultivée, Berle des bergers, Berle des jardins, Berle des potagers, Chervis, Geyerlé, girole
Georgian: Sk’eit’ri (სკეიტრი)
German: Skirret, Zucker-Merk, Zuckerwurz, Zuckerwurzel, Berlein, Gartenrapunzel, Gerlein, Gierlein, Girgelen, Gritzel, Klingelmöhre, Klingelrüblein, Süsswurzel, Süßwurzel, Zuckerrübchen    
Greek: Skirret   
Gujarati: Skirret               
Hausa: Skirret   
Hebrew: Skirret
Hindi: Skirret    
Hungarian: Skirret, keleti békakorsó      
Icelandic: Skirret             
Indonesian: Skirret        
Irish: Skirret      
Italian: Sium Sisarum, Sisaro, Sedanina coltivata,
Japanese: Sukiretto (スキレット), Kurummoku (クルッモク), mukagoninjin (ムカゴニンジン)
Javanese: Skirret
Kannada: Skireṭ                (ಸ್ಕಿರೆಟ್)
Kazakh: Skirret (скиррет)
Korean: Skirret 
Lao: Skirret        
Latin: Siser         
Latvian: Cīņas   
Lithuanian: Kovotojas
Macedonian: Skiret (скирет)
Malagasy: Skirret            
Malay: Skirret   
Malayalam: Skirret         
Maltese: Skirret
Marathi: Skart   (स्कर्ट)
Mongolian: Skirret         
Nepali: Skiret (स्किरेट)
Norwegian: Søtkjeks     
Oriya: ସ୍କର୍ଟ    
Pashto: سکریټ             
Persian: اسکیت, پلم 
Polish: Spódnica, marek kucmerka, kucmerka   
Portuguese: Skirret, Sísaro, cherivia       
Punjabi: Skirret
Romanian: Skirret           
Russian: Skirret, poručejnik sacharnyj (поручейник сацхарный), sladkij koren (сладкий корень), Svekla Primorskaia, porucheynik sakharnyy (поручейник сахарный)
Serbian: Skirret (скиррет)
Sindhi: اسڪرپٽ           
Sinhala: Skirret
Slovak: Potočník sladký
Slovenian: Krilo               
Spanish: Skirret, Escaravía, Chirivia tudesca, chirivía de azúcar, escaravía tudesca, sisaro   Sundanese: Skirret         
Swedish: Sium sisarum, Sockerrot           
Tajik: Skirret      
Tamil: Skirret    
Telugu: Skirret 
Thai: Skirret       
Turkish: Skirret, Su kazayağı, dere kerevizi          
Ukrainian: Spidnytsya (спідниця), vex sizarovidnij (вех сизаровидний)
Urdu: سکرٹ    
Uzbek: Skirret  
Vietnamese: Skirret
Welsh: Skirret  
Zulu: Skirret
Plant Growth Habit Small herbaceous perennial plant
Soil Performs well in acidic to neutral soils. Well drained soils are best, as they prevent problems with disease, but skirret grows well even in heavy, swampy soil
Plant Size 3-4 feet and 1-2 foot wide
Root Grayish-white roots grow in clusters from the stem base like sweet potatoes. The roots have a flavor somewhat like potato and parsnip
Leaf Large, shining, dark green, compound, pinnate leaves.
Flowering season During June, July, and August
Flower Flowers are often arranged in a conspicuous umbel (a flat-topped cluster of flowers). Each small individual flower is usually bisexual, with five sepals, five petals, and an enlarged disk at the base of the style.
Fruit Shape & Size Small fruits are ridged and are composed of two parts that split open at maturity.
Taste Sweet taste
Plant Parts Used Root
Propagation By Seed and Division
Season October – March
Health Benefits
  • Boosts Antioxidant Production
  • Protection from Neural Tube Defects
  • Soothes Indigestion
  • Support for Eye Health
  • Boosts Skin Health
  • Boosts Energy
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Promotes Urination
  • Healthy Hair
Season October – March
Traditional uses
  • People take skirret for digestion problems, loss of appetite, and chest complaints.
  • Root is believed to cleanse the bladder, treat jaundice and other liver disorders.

Plant Description

Skirret is a small to medium-sized herbaceous perennial plant that normally grows between 3-4 feet tall and 1-2 foot wide. The plant performs well in acidic to neutral soils. Well drained soils are best, as they prevent problems with disease, but skirret grows well even in heavy, swampy soil. It has a cluster of sweet, bright white roots which are similar to sweet potatoes, but longer 15–20 centimeters (5.9–7.9 in) in length. They have a flavor somewhere between potato and parsnip. When boiled and served with butter, the roots form a dish, declared by Worlidge, in 1682, to be ‘the sweetest, whitest, and most pleasant of roots.’ These are used as a vegetable in the same manner as the common salsify, black salsify and the parsnip.

The plant has large, shining, dark green, compound, pinnate leaves. Small, white flowers are produced in umbels. The flowers are often arranged in a conspicuous umbel (a flat-topped cluster of flowers). Each small individual flower is usually bisexual, with five sepals, five petals, and an enlarged disk at the base of the style. Fertile flowers are followed by small fruits that are ridged and are composed of two parts that split open at maturity.


Likely originating in China, Skirret made its way to Europe early in the middle Ages where it was a primary root crop. Unfortunately, Skirret was rather quickly replaced by the potato (from South America) given that potatoes are a larger, more easily cleaned crop. However, Skirret is still used widely through northeastern Asia.

Health benefits of Skirret

Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of Skirret

1. Boosts Antioxidant Production

Skirret is rich source of healthful antioxidants, which the body uses to help combat free radicals, oxidized molecules that are the harbingers of disease. Normal cellular processes can cause free radicals, but their numbers increase because of pollution, smoking, and other detrimental practices. Diet rich in antioxidants helps keep the body healthy.

2. Protection from Neural Tube Defects

Women who are or are trying to get pregnant should be sure to eat a diet rich in foliate. This B vitamin is essential for preventing neural tube defects in developing babies and ensures that the brain and spinal cord form properly. When women suffer from foliate deficiencies, the developing infants are at increased risk for health conditions like spina bifida. Skirret is rich in foliate, making it a good choice for pregnant women or anyone else who wants to get enough of this important nutrient.

3. Soothes Indigestion

Historically, folk medicine practitioners advised people to eat skirret to calm bouts of indigestion. Eating Skirret may ease related conditions like bloating or constipation. Some people find that it helps treat complaints like loss of appetite, too. Adding skirret to spicy stir fry dishes might even prevent heartburn.

4. Support for Eye Health

Vitamin A plays an important role in vision health, and skirret is a good source of this nutrient. The vitamin is important for supporting the outer membrane and surface of the eye and helping guard against viruses and bacteria. Studies show vitamin A can help reduce dry eyes while protecting the cornea. When working together with other nutrients, vitamin A can also reduce vision loss.

5. Boosts Skin Health

As a rich source of vitamin C, skirret offers anti-aging benefits. The skin, in particular, benefits from vitamin C. This nutrient supports collagen production, which ensures skin retains or regains its healthful—and youthful—elasticity. With ample collagen production, the skin looks and feels suppler and is less prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C can also help the skin appear more uniform in color and less prone to patches of discoloration, a common occurrence that comes with age.

6. Boosts Energy

Natural sugars contained in skirret can give the body a physical and mental energy boost. Additionally, skirret is rich in B vitamins like niacin and riboflavin. These nutrients help the body convert carbohydrates into energy-giving fuel. The body’s cells require this fuel for their various processes.

7. Reduces Inflammation

Skirret consists of zinc, a nutrient that offers both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Many diseases stem from increased inflammation, which also causes pain. Individuals with conditions like arthritis can benefit from adding anti-inflammatory foods like skirret to their weekly diet. Zinc can also help reduce the length of time infections like the common cold affect the body.

8. Promotes Urination

Since at least the 16th century, folk medicine practitioners have recommended adding skirret to the diet to promote urination as the primary means to rid the body of toxins. An over-concentration of urine is not good for the bladder or kidneys. Promoting a healthy amount of urination helps eliminate toxins and potentially harmful pathogens from sticking around inside the body too long.

9. Healthy Hair

Skirret is a good source of vitamin E, which nourishes the hair and scalp. Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant properties that reduce the presence of free radicals. By maintaining healthy cells in the hair and scalp, hair appears healthier and is less prone to dryness and breaking. There is some evidence that vitamin E encourages healthy shine and may even help reduce hair loss.

Culinary Uses

  • Root can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • Roots have a very acceptable taste raw that is somewhat like a cross between carrots and parsnip but with a nutty flavor.
  • They can also be boiled, baked or added to soups etc.
  • The roasted root has been used as a coffee substitute.
  • The roots are scrubbed, cut into lengths, boiled, and served like parsnips or carrots.
  • Skirret roots can be stewed, baked, roasted, fried in batter as fritter, or creamed, and also be grated and used raw in salads.
  • Woody core may be present in some roots, though this seems to be variable in different plants.
  • If present, it should be removed before cooking because it is difficult to remove after.
  • It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
  • This plant was used historically as a flavoring in beers, wines and liquors.
  • It can be used interchangeably or with carrots, parsnips, potatoes, or salsify in most recipes.

Other Facts

  • There are approximately 550 skirret seeds per gram in well cleaned, fully dry seed.
  • The plant grows wonderfully in wild and abundantly found in shaded areas and forest edges.
  • The yields will be much better in the second year and will better in the subsequent years.
  • The wild ancestor of Skirret grows on the banks of waterways. This shows how tolerant skirret is of moist soils.
  • Pliny the Elder stated that Skirret was a favorite vegetable of the Emperor Tiberius.
  • Skirret becomes sweeter with frosts like carrots and parsnips.






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