Beta vulgaris

scientific name: 
Beta vulgaris L.
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Biannual or annual, acaulescent herb, with succulent, purple-red root.  Leaves forming a rosette, ovate to ovate-oblong, with long petiole, green, red or purple; inflorescence spike-like, numerous flowers borne in cymes; fruits 1-seeded but two or more are usually joined together.



asthenia, weakness:

root, juice, taken orally with sugar and/or honey and/or milk1-3


root, juice, taken orally1

The root of Beta vulgaris is widely used for human consumption and is an industrial source of sucrose.

For period delay (amenorrhoea), asthenia and weakness:

Wash the fresh crude root. Prepare 100 mL juice. Drink one or more times a day29.

According to published and other information:

Use for period delay (amenorrhoea), asthenia and weakness is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, and on available published scientific information.

Due to health risks involved with asthenia and weakness, an initial medical evaluation is recommended.  The use of this resource can be considered complementary to medical treatment, unless it is contraindicated.

TRAMIL Research20

The fresh juice of the root (120 mL/day) administered orally to patients aged from 50 to 64 suggests good systemic tolerability.

The hydroalcoholic extract (70%) from the root (200, 400 and 800 mg/kg) administered orally to female rats did not show abortive effects or embryotoxicity25.

The fresh root in feed (1.96%) fed to both male and female rats for 14 days did not have any evident toxic effects26.

The boiled root (502 g/person) administered orally to human adults showed weak anti-thyroidal activity, in a study measuring the capture of iodine by the thyroid27.

The aerial plant parts eaten by cows induced contraceptive and / or interceptive effects; experimental data indicated mutagenic activity in microorganism models for this plant part, although no reference is made to the root28.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in lactating women.

The root contains alkaloids: allantoin4, melatonin5, choline6, nor-epinephrine7 and derivatives of amines8;carbohydrates: pectin9, sucrose10; betalains11; phenylpropanoids: caffeic acid, ferulic acid, r-coumaric acid12; organic acids: oxalic acid13; flavonoids: betagarin and derivatives14-15; triterpenes: betavulgarosides and derivatives16-17.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of root18: calories: 44; water: 87.4%; proteins: 1.6%; fats: 0.2%; carbohydrates: 10%; fibers: 0.9%; ash: 0.8%; calcium: 23 mg; phosphorous: 35 mg; iron: 1.1 mg; sodium: 36 mg; potassium: 330 mg; carotene: 0 µg; thiamine: 0.02 mg; riboflavin: 0.04 mg; niacin: 0.30 mg; ascorbic acid: 6 mg.

TRAMIL Research19

The fresh juice of the raw root (20, 50 and 100 µL/mL) showed antimutagenic effect in vitro in a mebendazol-induced mitotic segregation model with Aspergillus nidulans.  In the isolated organ model of guinea pig ileum and rat uterus, it induced an increase of intestinal and uterine motility respectively, an effect attributed to the potassium content of the juice.

TRAMIL Research20

In a controlled clinical assay, 20 asthenic patients (aged 50 to 64) with more than 30 days of evolution were given root juice (120 mL/day).  After 9 days, there was evidence of significant subjective improvement, compared to 12 asthenic patients who took syrup.  The hematocrit, hemoglobin and eritrosedimentation values, the polimorphonuclear leucocyte, monocyte and reticulocyte counts; glycemia, urea, creatinine, uric acid, cholesterol and triglycerides remained equivalent to basal levels.

The root of the rubra variety in Walher carcinoma and Jensen sarcoma models decreased tumor growth21.

The hydroalcoholic acid (1:1) of the dried root (1667 mg/mL) in vitro showed antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger andTrichophyton mentagrophytes on agar plate22.

The root extract administered to mice induced acceleration of intestinal motility and partially protected against in vivo experimental infection with influenza virus23.

The adenine, contained in the root, is believed to have anti-anemic effects (1.5 g/day), the betaine is believed to have emmenagogue and abortifacient effects, and the allantoin is believed to have immunostimulant effects4.

The choline, betaine and juice pigments are believed to be cell respiration stimulants; the glutamine is believed to be a metabolism stimulant and to have antiasthenic activity; betaine is a lipotropic factor, it stimulates and regularizes the hepatic function; betanidin, following inoculation in rat, caused a temporary increase of blood pressure and of heart rate24.




1 WENIGER B, ROUZIER M, 1986 Enquête TRAMIL. Service Oecuménique d'Entraide SOE, Port au Prince, Haïti.

2 GERMOSEN-ROBINEAU L, GERONIMO M, AMPARO C, 1984 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

3 WENIGER B, 1987-88

Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

4 CHIERICI L, 1953 Allantoin and tyrosine in beets. Ateneo Parmense 24:185-188.

5 DUBBELS R, REITER RJ, KLENKE E, GOEBEL A, SCHNAKENBERG E, EHLERS C, SCHIWARA HW, SCHLOOT W, 1995 Melatonin in edible plants identified by radioimmunoassay and by high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. J Pineal Res 18(1):28-31.

6 TYIHAK E, 1964 Effective component in the effect of the red beet (Beta vulgaris var conditiva) on tumors. Naturwissenschaften 51:315-316.

7 IKEKITA M, MORIYA H, MORIWAKI C, RURIKAWA T, 1979 Some properties of anti-bradykinin substance from beet (Beta vulgaris L. var rapaDumort.f rubra DC.) roots. Yakugaku Zasshi 99:607-611.

8 NEURATH GB, DUNGER M, PEIN FG, AMBROSIUS D, SCHREIBER O, 1977 Primary and secondary amines in the human environment. Food Cosmet Toxicol 15(4):275-282.

9 PARFENENKO VV, BUZINA GV, LUTSENKO OK, 1974 Production of gel-forming beet pectin in the presence of 1.1% hydrochloric acid. Khlebopek Konditer Prom 1974(10):20.

10 CHOLLET MM, 1950 Sucrose and raffinose in beets. Bull Soc Bot Fr 1950:173-177.

11 PIATTELLI M, MINALE L, PROTA G, 1965 Pigments of centrospermae. III. Betaxanthins from Beta vulgaris L. Phytochemistry 4:121-125.

12 HERRMANN K, 1957 Oxidative enzymes and phenolic substrate in vegetables and fruit. I. hydroxycinnamic acids. Z Lebensm-Unters Forsch 106:341-348.

13 BURBA M, NITZSCHKE U, 1974 Oxalic acid in sugar beet roots. Int Sugar J 76:326.

14 TAKAHASHI H, SASAKI T, ITO M, 1987 New flavonoids isolated from infected sugar beet roots. Bull Chem Soc Japan 60(6):2261-2262.

15 ELLIGER CA, HALLOIN JM, 1994 Phenolics induced in Beta vulgaris by Rhizoctonia solani infection. Phytochemistry 37(3):691-693.

16 YOSHIKAWA M, MURAKAMI T, KADOYA M, MATSUDA H, MURAOKA O, YAMAHARA J, MURAKAMI N, 1996 Medicinal foodstuffs. III. Sugar beet. (1): Hypoglycemic oleanolic acid oligoglycosides, betavulgarosides I, II, III, and IV, from the root of Beta vulgaris L. (Chenopodiaceae). Chem Pharm Bull 44(6):1212-1217.

17 YOSHIKAWA M, MURAKAWI T, KADOYA M, YAMAHARA J, MATSUDA H, 1998 Medicinal foodstuffs. XV. Sugar beet. (2): Structures of betavulgarosides V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X from the roots and leaves of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L., Chenopodiaceae). Chem Pharm Bull 46(11):1758-1763.

18 DUKE JA, ATCHLEY AA, 1986 Handbook of proximate analysis tables of higher plants.Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press, p26.

19MORON F, 1990 Actividades biológicas de Beta vulgaris. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina “Dr. Salvador Allende”, Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana, La Habana, Cuba.

20CARBALLO A, RODRIGUEZ A, RODRIGUEZ O, LLENDERROZOS A, 1992 Efectividad de la administración del zumo de raíces de remolacha (Beta vulgaris L.) en el control de la astenia. Estudio clínico controlado. Informe TRAMIL. Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas. Santa Clara, Cuba.

21 KOSHIMIZU K, OHIGASHI H, KONDO A, YAMAGUCHI K, 1988 Screening of edible plants against possible anti-tumor promoting activity. Cancer Lett39(3):247-257.

22 GUERIN JC, REVEILLERE HP, 1984 Antifungal activity of plant extracts used in therapy I. Study of 41 plant extracts against 9 fungi species. Ann Pharm Fr42(6):553-559.

23 PRAHOVEANU E, ESANU V, ANTON G, FRUNZULIC S, 1986 Prophylactic effect of a Beta vulgaris extract on experimental influenza infection in mice. Rev Roum Med Virol37(2):121-124.

24 JOSEPH H, GRANDGUILLOTTE M, 1986 Recherches bibliographiques. TRAMIL II, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana, UASD/enda-caribe.

25 RAO VSN, DASARADHAN P, KRISHNALAH KS, 1979 Antifertility effect of some indigenous plants. Indian J Med Res70:517-520.

26 NAVRATIL B, ZEMAN L, 1976 Effect of the daily ration and the type of complete mixed feed fed to pregnant sows on the number and weight of piglets. Zivocisna Uyrpba21:295-303.

27 GREER MA, ASTWOOD EB, 1948 The antithyroid effect of certain foods in man as determined with radioactive iodine. Endocrinology43:105-119.

28 ALKOFAHI A, ABDELAZIZ A, MAHMOUD I, ABUIRJIE M, HUNAITI A, EL-OQLA A, 1990 Cytotoxicity, mutagenicity and antimicrobial activity of forty Jordanian medicinal plants. Int J Crude Drug Res28(2):139-144.

29 VANACLOCHA B, CAÑIGUERAL S, (eds.) 2003 Beta vulgaris. En: Fitoterapia. Vademecum de Prescripción. 4ta Edición. Editorial MASSON, Barcelona, España, p. 428.


The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.