Brave Hendrik, medicinal vegetable of yesteryear

Brave Hendrik is an edible plant. It occurs sporadically in the wild in the Netherlands; particularly in South Holland, Overijssel, Gelderland, Brabant and Limburg. He likes a wooded environment. In the past it was often eaten as a vegetable. In addition to its nutritional value, brave hendrik has medicinal properties. In addition, this plant is a popular food for some animals. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing brave hendrik / Source: Otto Wilhelm Thom̩ РThiotrix, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Naming good hendrik
  • Edible parts good Hendrik
  • Healing power of Brave Hendrik
  • Good Henry for animals
  • Save Good Henry
  • Good Henry in the vegetable garden
  • Eating tips good Hendrik


Naming good hendrik

The Latin name for good Henry is Chenopodium bonus-henricus . Chenopodium means goose foot. All plants in the goosefoot family start with this name. Bonus means ‘good’ or ‘good’ and Henricus comes from the German word Heinrich. Hendrik is the Dutch translation of the German Heinrich. Heinrich used to be spelled Heimrich. ‘Heim’ means residence or court town and ‘rich’ means edible. That indicated that this wild vegetable was growing around the house. Furthermore, there is a poisonous plant called kwaaie hendrik; good hendrik is, so to speak, his edible counterpart. In Germany, all plants that reminded of spirits, elves and goblins were called ‘Heinrich’. Of course you had good and bad Heinrichs. In English the plant is called good king henry. The origin of the prefix ‘king’ is unclear. That may be because there was once a French king Henry who promised every worker a chicken, and chickens love good chicken seed. The English name probably has nothing to do with the English king Henry.

Edible parts good Hendrik

You should not eat too many raw leaves of this plant; You can add some to a salad, as alternative lettuce leaves for an original salad. Preferably use the young leaves, seeds, blossoms and shoots. The young leaves can be prepared like spinach and the shoots like asparagus. The roots can be mashed and prepared into a peanut butter-like paste; that’s a recipe from the Balkans. The flowers can also be eaten. The flower of good hendrik looks somewhat like broccoli florets. The seeds can be ground and used as flour. It is recommended to soak the seeds overnight and clean them thoroughly so that they contain less saponin.

A Czech study published in 2003 showed that good hendrik is very effective against pathogenic fungi.


Healing power of Brave Hendrik

Good Hendrik contains a lot of vitamin C, oxalic acid, iron and saponin. In the past, this plant was used for skin diseases. Furthermore, it is a means to remove worms and it is a mild laxative and diuretic herb. In general, Good Hendrik is good for the intestines. In addition, ointments were made from Good Hendrik that are good against gout and other chronic pains. Because brave hendrik seed has a mild laxative effect, it is a good laxative for children.

Good Henry for animals

Animals also love good Henry. The plant is often given to chickens and geese in Germany. In Germany, the plant is popularly called ‘fette Henne’, among other things, because chickens like the seeds. The root is given to coughing sheep; good Hendrik is also medicinal for animals.

Save Good Henry

You cannot keep Good Henry for long; the leaves only last for a day. That is why it is not a plant that you will easily see at the greengrocer. Brave Hendrik is an ideal and easy plant for the vegetable garden. You pick it fresh, wash it and stuff it

Young good hendrik / Source: Orjen, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

straight into the pan; You can’t get fresher vegetables!

Good Henry in the vegetable garden

You could grow Brave Hendrik quite easily. It is a perennial plant. In the wild it is more common in nitrogen-rich soil, for example near manure piles or in places where odors are often used. Therefore, give the plant some manure from chickens or cows; a good humus layer can also help. Brave hendrik is a plant that can be harvested all year round. In the first year the harvest may be somewhat disappointing, but it will improve in the following years. The plants grow to a maximum of 60 centimeters in height and should be spaced 25 centimeters apart. Brave Hendrik can possibly be grown in a large pot on the balcony or roof terrace.

Eating tips good Hendrik

You can fry brave hendrik leaves in olive oil. After a few minutes the leaves are done. Then serve them with a knob of butter. That’s a tasty, good basis for eating good Hendrik. You can vary by putting some cream over the leaves during the last few minutes. Brave Hendrik combines well with parsley and savory. You can also fry it with garlic, shallots or onions, red pepper or spinach leaves. You can fry Brave Hendrik on a low heat and cover it with Dutch cheese, which will then melt by putting a lid on the pan.

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