Gundelia is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Asteraceae. It can be found from February to May. The stems of this plant dry-out when the seeds are ripe and break free from the underground root, and are then blown away like a tumbleweed, thus spreading the seeds effectively over large areas with little standing vegetation. This plant is native to the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle-East. Opinions differ about the number of species in Gundelia. Sometimes the genus is regarded monotypic, Gundelia tournefortii being a species with a large variability, but other authors distinguish up to nine species, differing in floret color and pubescence. Young stems are cooked and eaten in the Middle-East and are said to taste like a combination of artichoke and asparagus.
Gundelia is reported to be rich in nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. The tender shoots and flower buds are often consumed in traditional dishes, providing a potential source of essential nutrients.
In Middle Eastern cuisine, Gundelia tournefortii is used in various culinary preparations. It is often added to salads, stews, omelets, or pickles. The slightly bitter taste of Gundelia adds a distinctive flavor to dishes.
In some traditional medicine practices, extracts from Gundelia have been studied for potential health benefits. These include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, it’s important to note that scientific research on the medicinal properties of Gundelia is still in the early stages.
Like many plant-based foods, Gundelia may contain dietary fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health.
Local Medicinal Uses:
In certain regions, Gundelia has been used in traditional medicine for various purposes, including its potential as a diuretic, to treat respiratory conditions, or to address digestive issues. Local communities may have specific uses and preparations based on their traditional knowledge.