What Are the Health Benefits of Salsify?

Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on June 03, 2022
4 min read

You probably consume several types of vegetables without knowing their exact names or their benefits. Here’s a vegetable you should try. Salsify is a plant useful for your body as it boosts your immunity, fights cancer, controls blood pressure, supports the growth of bifidobacteria, and promotes better hair growth. 

Salsify is a vegetable originating from the Mediterranean region. The botanical name of salsify is Tragopogon porrifolius. It belongs to the Asteraceae family.

Often known as the oyster plant, this vegetable grows in well-drained soils and cool climates. Many regions across the world cultivate salsify due to its numerous advantages. 

Like any other plant, salsify has flowers, roots, seeds, and leaves. All these plant elements can be eaten raw or cooked. Its leaves are thin and green and measure about 30 centimeters long. 

The plant yields a bold purple flower head and a tiny fruit. The fruit of the salsify plant possesses one seed and is pale brown in color. In addition, salsify has a fleshy and brownish-yellow taproot that is long and cylindrical.

To cook salsify, you must first peel it. Cover the peeled roots in lemon juice or vinegar to avoid discoloration. You can then eat them raw or pair them with beef, pork, or chicken dish. Some people choose to puree salsify and use it to enrichen the flavor of various traditional dishes

You can eat many dishes with salsify. Be creative with as many options as you have and attend to your appetite. For instance, you can braise salsify with veal, add it to stews. or top it with cheese sauce. If you don’t want very fibrous or less meaty salsify, look for medium-sized roots.  You can also blanch, saute, or roast salsify. 

There are a number of ways you can store salsify. For example:

  • You can let it remain in the garden. This storage method ensures the maintenance of salsify’s nutritional value and consistent flavor.
  • Place harvested salsify roots in a bucket of moist sand in a root cellar.
  • Store salsify in a bucket of moist sand in a protected area. Ensure the bucket has a tight-fitting lid. 
  • Place salsify in a plastic bag. It can last up to two weeks while in the refrigerator. You must rinse and dry the roots placed in the plastic bag, though. 

Raw salsify (vegetable oyster) is packed with nutrients that have numerous benefits to your body. It not only provides dietary fiber but is also rich in carbs that help you with energy to work and stay active throughout the day.

Promotes better hair growth

Various studies agree that low levels or a lack of iron can cause hair loss. Fortunately, salsify contains copper and iron, which are essential in supporting healthy hair growth. 

Copper promotes a deep black hair color and prevents premature graying. 

Salsify also contains vitamin C that helps to synthesize collagen, which, in turn, strengthens the hair follicles and keeps your hair healthy. 

Controls blood pressure

Kidneys play a crucial role in controlling the blood pressure in your body. One of the prominent health benefits of salsify is its ability to control blood pressure. Salsify contains a mix of dietary elements like potassium, calcium, and sodium

When the equilibrium of sodium and potassium is disturbed in the body, blood pressure increases. Foods high in potassium and calcium, such as salsify, should be consumed to allow kidneys to function properly. 

Salsify also prevents the destruction of the cardiovascular system and any risk of heart diseases. 

Supports the growth of bifidobacteria

Salsify contains inulin, a vital prebiotic fiber. It helps feed bifidobacteria, which are anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria living in your large intestines. 

Their work is to reduce harmful bacteria and carcinogenic enzymes and also to cure constipation

Boosts immunity

Like other nutrient-dense foods, salsify has a blend of essential minerals that boosts the immune system. Its roots have a high amount of vitamin C, which promotes the production of white blood cells. White blood cells then protect your body against viruses, fungi, and bacteria. 

Besides that, vitamin C prevents your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals

Do not hesitate to use salsify in your meals, as it protects your body against a myriad of common diseases.

Fights cancer

It is relieving to know that cancer can sometimes be prevented using edible plants like salsify. Salsify contains high amounts of polyacetylene antioxidants such as:

  • Falcarindiol
  • Falcarinol
  • Methyl-falcarindiol 
  • Panaxydiol

All these elements have antioxidant properties that help reduce the risk of cancers like prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer

Salsify is a biennial plant that is also known as the oyster plant. Originating in the Mediterranean area, this vegetable has gained popularity and is now cultivated in several regions of the world. Salsify roots are the most commonly eaten parts, but the flowers, seeds, and leaves can also be cooked. 

You may eat salsify with many dishes. Store your salsify in a safe place where you can access and cook it. 

The many health benefits of salsify include promoting healthy hair growth, fighting cancer, boosting the immune system, controlling blood pressure, and supporting the growth of bifidobacteria.