Some recent works now use the name Dysphania schraderiana for this species (treated here as a synonym)[
Ambrina foetida (Schrad.) Moq.
Botrydium schraderi Spach
Chenopodium foetidum Schrad.
Dysphania schraderiana (Schult.) Mosyakin & Clemants
Chenopodium schraderianum is a glandular, erect, annual plant growing to 1 - 1.3 metres tall[
Used to control insects in Africa[
], the plant has been cultivated in the past in Europe for its medicinal benefits[
The leaves and seeds of all members of this genus are more or less edible. However, many of the species in this genus contain saponins, though usually in quantities too small to do any harm. Although poisonous, saponins also have a range of medicinal applications and many saponin-rich plants are used in herbalism (particularly as emetics, expectorants and febrifuges) or as sources of raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry. Saponins are also found in a number of common foods, such as many beans.
Saponins have a quite bitter flavour and are in general poorly absorbed by the human body, so most pass through without harm. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of raw foods that contain saponins.
Saponins are much more toxic to many cold-blooded creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish and make them easy to catch[
The plants also contain some oxalic acid, which in large quantities can lock up some of the nutrients in the food. However, even considering this, they are very nutritious vegetables in reasonable quantities. Cooking the plants will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[
Africa - drier areas from Chad to Ethiopia, south to S. Africa, Botswana and Namibia; Arabian Peninsula - Saudi Arabia, Yemen
Forest margins, meadows, riversides, around houses, sometimes in fields in northern China[
]. A weed of cultivated and waste places at elevations of 1,220 - 2,290 metres[
]. Upland grasslands, but often a weed in disturbed or cultivated ground[
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Succeeds from the temperate zone to moderate elevations in tropical climates.
An easily grown plant, succeeding in most soils but disliking shade[
]. It prefers a moderately fertile soil[
Leaves - raw or cooked as a spinach. The raw leaves should only be eaten in small quantities, see the notes above on toxicity.
Seed - ground into a powder and used with cereal flours to make bread, cakes etc. Small and fiddly to utilize, the seed is about 0.8mm in diameter[
]. The seed should be soaked in water overnight and thoroughly rinsed before it is used in order to remove any saponins.
The plant is antiasthmatic. It is also used in the treatment of migraine and catarrhal conditions[
The whole plant repels moths[
The plant is used in Africa to eradicate ants and other pests[
Gold/green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant[
Seed - sow spring in situ. Most of the seed usually germinates within a few days of sowing.