Amaranthus spinosus Linn. is a very popular food crops which is known for its medicinal properties throughout the world. It is believed to be oldest food crops that have been cultivation since 6700 BC. It is commonly recognized as thorny amaranth, spiny pigweed, spiny amaranth or prickly amaranth. The matured form of Amaranth is also called as ‘Amaranth spleen’.
Top 10 Health Benefits Of Eating Amaranth Leaves
It is also one of the popular foods of India, in Hindi, Amaranth is known as Kate wali Chaulai or Kanatabhaji and in Sanskrit, it is called tanduliyaka. Its leaves once in a while look like spinach, and it is available in red, green and purple and golden colour. It is believed that there are more than 70 species of plants throughout the world. Amaranth is known for its amazing source for medicines.

Where Does Amaranth Grow?

The evidence indicates that Amaranth’s origin is South America towards Central America to Mexico. It is believed that shikri (Hunter-gatherers) collected and ate the seeds since pre-historic times; the seeds were also harvested by Aztec and Inca tribes of Central and South America. The evidence shows that its domestication took place as far back as 4,000 or 5,000 BC.

Today Amaranthus spinosus is distributed vastly throughout the tropics and warm temperate regions of Asia. It is cultivated throughout in India, Sri Lanka and found throughout the tropical zone and warm temperate regions of Asia Indonesia to Japan to the Pacific islands. In Australia, it is cultivated as weed well and also found in fallow lands.

How Does Amaranth Plant Look Like?

Amaranth is a green herb that is often called vegetable amaranth it looks like spinach in addition to tasting somewhat spinach like.

Stems: The stems are normally long upwards, narrow cut. The Grain amaranth plants dicotyledon plants with wide strong stems looks similar to those of sunflowers. It can can grow up to about 3 to 9 feet tall when mature.

Leaves: The leaves of Amaranthu’s plant are varying in size; they may be purple or green, with thin branches. They are usually simple with entire margins, with alternate and distinct marks relating to on species.

Flowers: The flowers are tiny green  and  are held up in dense generally towards the tips of the branches with elongated clusters. They have a long, soft feather look which is pink, green, white or purplish in Colour.

Seed: The seeds are generally small and shiny black; it differs to those of grain types, which are yellowish white. The tiny round shape seeds are mostly pale in colour, have up to 3000 seeds per gram.

Another Name For Amaranthus

English: Prickly Amaranth, Needle burr, Spiny amaranth, Thorny amaranth
Hindi: Kanta chaulai, Chaulai, lal sag
Gujarati: Kantalo dhimdo, Kantanu dant
Manipuri: Chengkruk
Marathi: Kante bhaji, kante math, Shavrani math
Tamil: Mullukkeerai
Malayalam: Kattumullenkeera
Telugu: Mullatotakura
Kannada: Mulluharive soppu
Bengali: Kantanotya
Oriya: Kantaneutia
Sanskrit: Tanduliuyah
Kashmiri: Bustan afroz, mawal
Punjabi: Taj khurus
Urdu: Gulkesh
Tamil: Punkirai
Telegu: Chilaka thotakoora

Uses Of Amaranthus Plant In Ayurveda

  • Digestible
  • Laxative
  • Diuretic
  • Stomachic
  • Antipyretic
  • Improves appetite
  • Biliousness
  • Blood diseases
  • Burning sensation
  • Leprosy
  • Bronchitis
  • Piles
  • Leucorrhoea

What is Amaranthus Extracted Used For?

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Hematology
  • Immunomodulatory activity
  • Anthelmintic properties
  • Antidiabetic
  • Antihyperlipidemic
  • Spermatogenic
  • Immune-stimulating activity

Types of Amaranth Grown in India

Presently, Amaranth  are recognized in three subgenera with around more than 70 species, although species numbers are doubtful, it is due to hybridizing of species in different climate and areas.

1.Amaranth Vridis: It is the most common varieties that are found all over India it is also called “green amaranth” and “slender amaranth.”

2.Amaranth Paniculatus: This type of plant is also called “autumn palette,” it is due to its gorgeous colors of gold with rust and delicate orange.

3.Amaranth Caudatus: It is also known as “love lies bleeding” it is due to its red colour flower that looks beautiful overhanging inflorescences.

4.Amaranth Tricolor: This type is named as “tricolor leaves” as it has leaves that are red, yellows and green’s colours.

5.Amaranth Hypochondriacus: It is also known as “Prince of Wales Feather” it is due to is decorative look. It has tall, thin, spiky inflorescences. Mostly, this type of plant originates in Mexico, but it is found throughout the Himalayas region.

6.Amaranth Spinosus: This type of plant is also called “prickly amaranthus” and “spiky amaranthus” it is due to its small thorny bush on stem.

7.Amaranth Cruentus: It is a green variety of plant that may sometimes appear in beautiful shades of cinnamon, purple, red and ginger.

Top 10 Medicinal Uses of Amaranth

Whole parts of the plant are known to contain in therapeutic active ingredients. In Ayurvedic text, the uses of Amaranthus spinosus Linn’s plant is very well mentioned it is used for the treatment of malaria, abdominal pain, dysentery, chicken pox, dysurea, fever, hysteria, vomiting, mania, tonsillitis, etc. Beside this it also has many medicinal uses and benefits below are some of it.

1.Boost Weight Loss Naturally

Eating amaranth grains and leaves can help you stay true to your weight-loss goals. It is because amaranth is loaded full with vitamins, it is a diet releases a specific “sated” hormone that suppresses the appetite.

Besides this, the dietary fibre is also bulky in your stomach so decreases your appetite. This way, it decreases the temptation to snack between meals that cause you to gain those extra pounds.[1]

2.Control Cause of Birth Defects

Consuming Amaranth can be beneficial to overcome birth defect’s problems. Vitamin “Folate” or “Vitamin B9” is often neglected in terms of basic minerals, but it is very important for pregnant mothers.

Due to Folate vitamin deficiency, it can result in neural tube defects in newborns.  A number of researchers also believe amaranth can prevent certain birth defects, especially folate inadequacy as it has an ample source of vitamin and minerals.

Amaranths have high sources of vitamin A and carotenoids that are known to enhance eye health and keep off visual abnormalities such as cataracts and macular degeneration. It is an important source of protein that can be used as an alternative to animal-based protein, which is higher in fat.

3.Increase Protein Content

This is indeed the most well known aspect of amaranth that causes it such a wonderful food source for so many people around the world. It had high-protein concentration; it helps the body can break the plant proteins down into functional amino acids and be reformed into working proteins.

The Proteins are essential for the growth, the creation of new cells and tissues. It also provides the energy needed for metabolic function. Amaranth consists of higher protein compactness than any other grain availed in the market.[2]

4.Improve Digestive Health

Eating amaranth can benefits the most to the people having gastrointestinal problems. As it is rich in high-fibre content, it enables to smooth digestion of food and promotes an efficient ingestion of minerals.

Moreover, amaranth is also a gluten-free substance that means it can be beneficial for the millions of people suffering from gluten intolerance or with celiac diseases. Amaranth in addition can be the best alternative as a grain source.[3]

5.Improves Varicose Veins

It is a type of condition that may not affect everyone’s person, but varicose veins can be ugly and uncomfortable as we grew older. Amaranth contains countless flavonoids, including rutin, which can help to eliminating varicose veins by strengthening capillary walls.

Besides this, amaranths also have high compactness of vitamin C that can aid integral component in the production of collagen, which may be helpful to repair and strengthen blood vessel walls.

6.Boost Hair Health

If your beauty conscious, want to look after the morality and appearance of your hair consuming amaranth can be best for you. The amaranth consists of a rare amino acid called “lysine” which our body cannot produce naturally.

This amino acid helps to boost your calcium intake efficiency and helps to strengthening follicles, preventing male pattern baldness. Using amaranth for hair is quite simple, just remove the juice from the leaves and apply it to your hair, it will not only strengthen your hair but also prevent hair loss.

7.Increase Antioxidant levels

These days most of the people rely on antioxidant to be fit and healthy for those amaranths can be the best choice. As amaranth is high-protein content, it makes it an important natural nutrient source for the people.

Some modern research indicated that amaranth also contains a certain peptide alike which is identified in soybeans, which have an ability to reduce inflammation in the body. It even prevents the activeness of free radicals that can cause healthy cells to evolve into cancerous cells.

It is one of the most exciting new developments in recent amaranth research that people unaware. These anti-inflammatory properties of amaranths can be helpful to people to diminish conditions like gout, arthritis and other inflammation-related problems.

8.Increase Bone Growth

Calcium is in important mineral that is necessary for the growth of bone and Amaranth leaves contain a wide range of minerals, including calcium.  There are very few leafy vegetables that hold higher levels of calcium than amaranth.

So it can be a regular super food that can help boosting bone strength and preventing problems related to osteoporosis. To be active and healthy calcium is a crucial mineral that prevents demineralization of the bones so consume amaranth daily and live a long life.

9.Improve Cardiovascular Health

In this modern world, cardiovascular disease has become most common it sometimes results in heart attack. Amaranth can play an important role in reducing these problems.

Amaranths have dietary fibre that can help to balance cholesterol within the body by eliminating “bad” cholesterol from the cardiovascular system.Additionally, amaranth contains an enormous amount of vitamin K; that is a well-known booster for heart health.

It also has potassium content that can help to lower blood pressure by expanding the blood vessels and lowering the strain on the cardiovascular system, thereby lowering the chances of developing coronary artery disease. Moreover, Amaranth has high content of phytotron that can contribute in reduction of “bad” cholesterol.

10.Improves Eye Vision

Lutein is an antioxidant that is responsible for eye tissue is related with better vision. Amaranth holds in Lutein, which is good for your eyes. In a study, it was found that consuming food containing Lutein can help to protect against the two common age-related eye disorders such as macular and degeneration.

Lutein, carotenoid and zeaxanthin from the yellow pigment into the retina and absorb blue light, an unhealthy element of sunlight. The significant level of carotenoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene and Lutein found in amaranth leaves can be a major boost for eye health.

Consumption of amaranth can good for living healthy life as it contains various types of vitamins and mineral. People suffering from kidney stones or gallstones should avoid eating as it is high in oxalic acid that could worsen the condition.