Kochia scoparia seed Burning Bush

Bassia scoparia seeds

 

Division:  Angiospermae

Family:  Amaranthaceae

Subfamily:  Chenopodioideae

Genus:  Kochia

Species:  Kochia scoparia

Uses of Kochia scoparia include human food and traditional medicine, forage for livestock, and erosion control.

The seeds of Kochia scoparia are eaten as a food garnish called tonburi (とんぶり?)  (Japanese). Its texture is similar to caviar, and it also is called “land caviar”, “field caviar” and “mountain caviar”. In Japan, tonburi is a delicacy (chinmi) of Akita prefecture. After harvesting the seeds are dried. To prepare them, the seeds are boiled and soaked in cold water for about a day, then rubbed by hand to remove the outer skin. The seeds are 1-2 mm in diameter, glossy with a black-green color.

Tonburi also is used in traditional chinese medicine. It may prevent metabolic disorders such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity and atherosclerosis. In a study of mice fed a high-fat diet, an extract of tonburi did limit obesity.