Botanical Name: Amaranthus
*Amaranthus abyssinicus L.H.Bailey
*Amaranthus alopecurus Hochst. ex A.Br. & C.D.Bouché
*Amaranthus cararu Moq.
*Amaranthus caudatus subsp. mantegazzianus (Pass.) Hanelt
*Amaranthus caudatus subsp. saueri V.Jehlík
Common Name: Amaranth.
Amaranth possess various vernacular names such as Hindi: Lal sag, Thotakura Chaulai; Marathi: Shavrani math, Rajgira; Tamil: Punkirai; Telegu: Chilaka thotakoora etc. It is also known as Amaranthus hypochondriacus, Amaranthus frumentaceus, Amaranto, Chua, Amaranthus leucocarpus, Red Cockscomb, Velvet Flower.
Habitat: Amarnath is native to Central America and South America, it is also cultivated in the countries having warm climate.
Amaranth is an annual, large and bushy plant usually about 90-130 cm high. It has oblong-lanceolate pointed green leaves normally arranged alternately in 2-4 inches long. The stems are erect branched. The plant yields flowers at summer or autumn (August and October) which is pink or white in color. The seeds are yellow, white, red, brown, pink, or black in a spherical or flattened lenticular shape. It prefers the warm climate and thrives in well-drained soils. As the plant is annual, it has got the lifespan of one year.
The younger greens and small varieties are consumed as salad and older greens are used as a substitute for spinach. Amaranth is added as an ingredient in pasta, bread, instant drinks, baby’s food, etc. It could be added to soups or stews and also taken as a cereal for breakfast. Popped Amaranth is added to bread, tofu or meat. Amaranth flour could be mixed with wheat flour to make bread or other foods. The seed could be cooked or roasted like germ vegetables.
In 98 grams of Amaranth, 9.35 grams of protein is found along with 45.98 grams of Carbohydrate and 5.2 grams of fiber. This grain is rich in various minerals and vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, panthothenic acid, calcium, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and potassium. It also possess huge amount of lysine, which is not oftenly found in other grains.
Amaranth is rich in antioxidants, , proteins, vitamins and minerals which make it the healthy food by preventing the chronic diseases, enhancing immune system, stimulating repair and growth, lowering inflammation and blood pressure, lessening varicose veins, and promoting the strength of bones and others. It could be consumed either as a leaf vegetable, grain flour or a cereal grain.
This herb is used by the practitioners to obstruct bleeding. Amaranth is used as an astringent and as treatment for diarrhea, mouth ulcers and excessive menstrual flow. Gargling with this herb assist to alleviate the pharynx tenderness and assist the mouth ulcer treatment. This herb if used externally helps to cure vaginal discharges, nose bleeding and other abrasions. Amaranth greens are used to enhance eyesight.
Raw Amaranth possesses some toxic or undesirable components so; Amaranth should be consumed by cooking. Children are intolerant to lysinuric protein which may cause stomach pain and diarrhea. Lysine increases the absorption of calcium in the body which leads to the damage causing amount of calcium in the body. So one should avoid huge intake of calcium and lysine at the same time. Pregnant or breast feeding women should avoid Amaranth in order to be in the safe side.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.