The health benefits of amaranth are being rediscovered in the Western
world today, but they were recognized long ago by people from countries
like Mexico, Argentina, and India. Believed to have originated in the
then introduced to Asia, amaranth has been a part of the human diet in
both the seed (grain) and leaf forms for a long time.
Amaranth in Greek means "everlasting". The Aztecs knew it as the "food
of immortality", while in India, amaranth grain is known as "rajgeera"
meaning, "the king's grain".
Known as thotakoora, cholai, marsa, and tamri bhaji, in various Indian
leaves are very popular in Indian cooking, especially in the South, and
come in many varieties:
green, red, and bicolored. The leaves are used in curries and soups.
Amaranth leaves are similar in taste to spinach but with a stronger
cook very easily. In fact, many people rate it higher in terms of taste
than spinach. In terms of nutrition as well, when compared to spinach,
amaranth has more to offer as it has higher concentrations of calcium,
iron, phosphorus, and vitamins.
Amaranth and Health
Homeopathic and ayurvedic experts have always recognized the amazing
health benefits of amaranth. Both, the seeds and leaves of amaranth,
are used as herbal remedies. The seeds and leaves have been found to be
very effective in stopping diarrhea, and hemorrhagic problems like
Amaranth leaves are also a wonderful astringent, and make a great wash
for skin problems like eczema, and a wonderful acne
also makes an
effective mouthwash for treating mouth sores, swollen gums, and sore
Amaranth leaves have been found to be a good home remedy for hair loss
and premature greying. Applying the fresh juice of amaranth leaves
helps hair to retain its color, and keeps it soft, and is a great hair-loss
The amaranth seed or grain is similar to millet and quinoa in terms of
nutritional benefits. In India, the grain is popped like corn and used
like breakfast cereal,
porridge, and gruel, and in sweets like laddus, or milled into flour
and used to
make flatbreads (chapathis).
grain has an extremely high protein and high fat content. In
fact, amaranth is a better source of protein than wheat. Amaranth grain
contains 6-10 percent oil -- mainly an unsaturated oil which is high in
linoleic acid and lysine,
essential amino acids, necessary for overall
health maintenance and tissue repair. Our bodies cannot produce these
essential fatty acids; we must therefore obtain these from our diet.
Amaranth is also rich in carbohydrates. It is this balance of
carbohydrates, protein, and fat that make this grain great as energy
food. Because of these essential nutrients and it's nutty flavor and
crunchy texture, amaranth is a popular ingredient in health food, and
is being increasingly used in greens plus energy
Amaranth grain is also very
easy to digest and gluten-free,
and, hence, often fed to babies,
children, the elderly and those recovering from fasts and illnesses.
In India, amaranth grain is milled into flour and combined with other
flours for making breads.
In the US, amaranth leaves, grain, and flour are available in Indian
grocery stores, as well as in your local organic and vitamin shop.
Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine
http://www.vitamins-supplements.org Home Remedies for Common
Ailments (H.K. Bakhru)
Buy leaves that look fresh, and refrigerate to keep
them from wilting. Amaranth leaves are best when used in 2-3 days.
Chop off the roots and tougher stems. Use the leaves
and tender part of the stems.
Rinse multiple times to remove any dirt/sand; or drop
them in a large bowl of water and let sit for a minute until the dirt
settles to the bottom, and then remove the leaves. Repeat a couple
times in clean water.