Scientific Name: Eruca sativa
Rocket is an edible annual plant in the family Brassicaceae used as a leaf vegetable for its fresh, tart, bitter, and peppery flavor. Eruca sativa grows 20–100 centimetres (8–39 in) in height. The pinnate leaves have four to ten small, deep, lateral lobes and a large terminal lobe. The flowers are 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) in diameter, arranged in a corymb in typical Brassicaceae fashion, with creamy white petals veined in purple, and having yellow stamens; the sepals are shed soon after the flower opens.
- Rich in Antioxidants – Arugula is a great source of antioxidants and can greatly increase a person’s ORAC value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity), which is a method for measuring antioxidant capacities.
- Boosts Bone Health – Arugula is rich in vitamin K, which is beneficial to bones. Its combinative effects of low oxalate levels (allowing more minerals into the system) and the presence of so many minerals in the plant itself make it a strong support system for healthy bones.
- Helps Improve Immune System – Arugula is loaded with vitamins and minerals that in some way bolster the defenses of the body’s immune system. The body is stimulated to create white blood cells from the copper in these salad leaves, and the plant has a number of other ways to improve the strength of your immune system.
- Anti-cancer Properties – The European Journal of Nutrition has published a study that has found that the phytochemicals, found in arugula, inhibit the activity of cancer-causing cells. Phytochemicals are substances like thiocyanates, sulforaphane, or indoles that are effective in countering cancer-causing tendencies in the body’s own processes.
- Pre-natal care – Folates, a classification which includes folic acid, have been shown to decrease occurrences of certain mental defects in newborns.
- Increases Metabolism – Another benefit of arugula is the presence of B-Complex vitamins that promote metabolism. Eight B vitamins participate and aid in all different cell activities, including energy production, fat synthesis, the production of red blood cells, and many other vital processes for cell and metabolic health.
- Improves Eyesight – Arugula is a well-known source of carotenoids, which are naturally occurring pigments that have long been famous for improving a person’s ability to see properly.
- Increases Mineral Absorption – Arugula has a very low level of oxalates when compared to other popular leafy vegetables like spinach. Oxalates inhibit the absorption of minerals by the body’s systems, which is counterproductive to consuming minerals in the same bite.
- Weight Loss – The inclusion of arugula in a diet is the same as any other low-calorie, vitamin or nutrient-rich plant, and it will inevitably have a positive effect on any attempts at weight loss.
- Improves Overall Health – Vitamin A is one of the antioxidants mentioned above, and its significant presence in arugula also guarantees the ‘garden rocket’ eaters an improved condition of their bones, teeth, and eyes.
- Arugula was mentioned in the Old Testament Book of Kings (II Kings 4:39); although it was mentioned under different name. It was called Oroth, but historians believe that arugula is the biblical green that is referred with such.
- Arugula was grown as an edible herb in the Mediterranean area since Roman times. It was grown for both it’s leaves and the seed. These writings have been around since the first century AD.
- The white four-petaled flowers have purple veins and are borne in loose clusters. They produce thick, flat-beaked seed capsules known as siliques. A spicy oil can be extracted from the seeds and has applications in folk medicine.