Amaranthus retroflexus

Botanical Name : Amaranthus retroflexus
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Amaranthus
Species: A. retroflexus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Names : Red-root Amaranth, Redroot Pigweed, Red Rooted Pigweed, Common Amaranth, and common tumble weed

Habitat :Amaranthus retroflexus is native to the tropical Americas but it is widespread as an introduced species on most continents in a great number of habitats.

Description:
True to its name, it forms a tumbleweed.  This is an erect annual herb reaching a maximum height near 3 meters. The leaves are nearly 15 centimeters long on large individuals, the ones higher on the stem having a lance shape and those lower on the plant diamond or oval in shape. The plant is monoecious, with individuals bearing both male and female flowers. The inflorescence is a large, dense cluster of flowers interspersed with spiny green bracts. The fruit is a capsule less than 2 millimeters long with a “lid” which opens to reveal a tiny black seed.

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Edible Uses:
This plant is eaten as a vegetable in different places of the world. No species of genus Amaranthus are known to be poisonous, but the leaves contain oxalic acid and may contain nitrates if grown in nitrate-rich soils, so the water should be discarded after boiling.

Amaranthus retroflexus was used for a multitude of food and medicinal purposes by many Native American groups.

Amaranthus retroflexus is used in the Indian state of Kerala to prepare a popular dish known as thoran by combining the finely cut leaves with grated coconut, chilies, garlic, turmeric and other ingredients.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves have been used to stop internal hemorrhaging, diarrhea, and excessive menstrual flow. An infusion has been used to treat hoarseness.  The stems have treated ulcers and profuse menstrual flows.  In a wash, the flowers, leaves, and roots have been used as an astringent for wounds and sores, and used as a mouthwash for canker sores and sore gums.

Other Uses:
Use as fodder…When fed to cattle and pigs in large amounts over several days, this plant might be harmful by causing nephrotoxicity

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranthus_retroflexus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

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