Water Spinach

Scientific Name: Ipomoea aquatica

Bahasa Indonesian: Kangkung

Batak: Kangkung

Basic Information: Ipomoea aquatica is a semi-aquatic, tropical plant grown as a vegetable for its tender shoots and leaves. It is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, although it is not known where it originated. This plant is known in English as water spinach, river spinach, water morning glory, water convolvulus, or kangkong in Southeast Asia. Ipomoea aquatica grows in water or on moist soil. Its stems are 2–3 metres (7–10 ft) or longer, rooting at the nodes, and they are hollow and can float. Water spinach is most commonly grown in East, South and Southeast Asia. It flourishes naturally in waterways and requires little, if any, care. It is used extensively in Indonesian, Burmese, Thai, Lao, Cambodian, Malay, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Chinese cuisine, especially in rural or kampung (village) areas. In Indonesian cuisine it is called kangkung, boiled or blanched together with other vegetables it forms the ingredient of gado-gado or pecel salads in peanut sauce. Some recipes that use kangkung is plecing kangkung from Lombok, and mie kangkung (kangkong noodle) from Jakarta.

Health Benefits:

  1. It can prevent insomnia: it contains sedatives elements that can make people sleepy and make it able to sleep soundly. This is due to selenium and zinc that makes nerve loose and relaxed.
  2. Prevent constipation, Anti-Poison – It has detoxifying properties, making it useful to relieve ulcer pain, to skin care. In addition, water spinach can also relieve constipation because it contains high levels of fiber.
  3. Contain iron – This ong choy water provides approximately 2.5 mg iron per 100 grams, so it is good to increase hemoglobin and prevents anemia.
  4. Anti-diabetes – Eating this leafy green is good for people with blood sugar because the substances can absorb the excess blood sugar.
  5. Increasing immunity – It is very high in vitamin C but also vitamin A, which is important for eye nutrition.
  6. Liver benefits – This is attributed to the effect of chemical compounds in spinach that contribute to the modulation of detoxification enzymes and antioxidants as well as the effects of free radicals.
  7. Cancer Prevention – Consuming water spinach might prevent you from having cancer because it contains a lot of vitamins, anti-oxide, and minerals which will prohibit cancer to go to the worse stage. Water spinach is really admitted as one of the best vegetable to cure and prevent cancer.

Fun facts:


  • Kangkung is an illegal vegetation in Texas, US. The plant has been on Texas’ “Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants” list since 1990.


  • Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.