What other names is Spinach known by?

Épinard, Épinard à Épines, Épinard sans Épines, Épinard à Feuilles de Laitue, Espinaca, Espinacas, Gros Épinard, Spinacia inermis, Spinacia oleracea, Spinacia spinosa, Spinaciae Folium, Spinatblatter.

What is Spinach?

Spinach is a vegetable. The leaves are used for food and to make medicine.

As a medicine, spinach is used to treat stomach and intestinal (gastrointestinal, GI) complaints and fatigue. It is also used as a blood-builder and an appetite stimulant.

Some people use it for promoting growth in children and recovery from illness.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Stomach and intestinal complaints.
  • Fatigue.
  • Stimulating growth in children.
  • Promoting recovery from illness.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of spinach for these uses.

How does Spinach work?

Spinach contains vitamins and other nutrients.

Are there safety concerns?

Spinach is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used as a food. However, the safety of larger, medicinal amounts is unknown.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Spinach is LIKELY SAFE during pregnancy and breast-feeding when used in food amounts, but the safety of larger medicinal doses is unknown.

Children: Giving spinach to infants less than four months old is LIKELY UNSAFE. The nitrates in spinach can sometimes cause a blood disorder (methemoglobinemia) in young infants.

Allergies: People who are sensitive to certain molds or latex might have allergic responses to spinach.

Diabetes: Spinach might lower blood sugar levels. Some doctors worry that it might make blood sugar levels drop too low if used along with diabetes medications. If you use spinach in medicinal amounts and take diabetes medications, monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medications might need to be changed. Check with your healthcare provider.

Kidney disease: Spinach may cause hard crystals to form in the kidneys. These crystals won't dissolve and might make kidney disease worse.

Surgery: Spinach might lower blood sugar levels. Some doctors worry that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using spinach in medicinal amounts at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Spinach might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking spinach along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Warfarin (Coumadin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Spinach contains large amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. By helping the blood clot, spinach might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Dosing considerations for Spinach.

The appropriate dose of spinach depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for spinach. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011