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