Amaranth Uses, Qualities, Remedies, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Amaranth is a multipurpose plant used as grain and leafy vegetable. In Greek, Amaranthus means immortal. Amaranth grain is gluten free and it is a rich source of protein, lipids, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and dietary fibre. In India, Amaranthus grain is commonly called as Rama’s grain (Rajgira)
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Introduction

There are different species of amaranthus, some are edible and possess medicinal benefits. The extract of Amaranthus is used to treat different diseases like respiratory disorders, gynecological diseases, diabetes, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, inflammation, pain etc. (A)

Amaranth Seed oil – It is obtained from seeds of Amaranthus cruentus and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. It is rich in linoleic acid, oleic acid and palmitic acid. (read)

Maarisha

In Ayurveda, Amaranthus is included under the group of Vegetables (shaka varga). Maarisha in Sanskrit is referred to a plant of Amaranthus species. There are 2 varieties, Swetha maarisha (Amaranthus blitum) and Rakta maarisha (Amaranthus tricolor).
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Sanskrit Synonyms, Varieties

Sanskrit Synonyms
Maarisha, Vashpaka, Marsha

Varieties
Swetha maarisha- white variety
Rakta maarisha – red variety

Swetha Maarisha

Botanical Name – Amaranthus blitum
Synonym – Amaranthus lividus
Family – Amaranthaceae
Related Plant – Amaranthus viridis, commonly called as slender amaranth or green amaranth. It is also used as vegetable.

Vernacular Names

Hindi Name – Marasa
English Name – Purple amaranth, Guernsey pigweed, Livid amaranth
Bengali Name – Saadanate
Gujarati Name – Dhaambho
Kannada Name – Harive soppu
Tamil Name – Tandukirai
Telugu Name – Totakuda
Konkani Name – Bhaji
Marathi Name – Bhaji, Matachi bhaji
French Name – amarante verte

Medicinal Qualities

Taste – sweet
Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) – pungent
Potency (virya) – cold
Ruksha – dry
Vishtambhi – causes constipation
Pittanuth – balances pitta dosha
Guru – heavy to digest
Effect on Tridosha
Increases vata and kapha dosha
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Therapeutic Uses

Raktapitta – used in bleeding disorders
Vishamagnijith – corrects vishamaagni (fire governed by vata)
Mada – intoxication
Trit – excess thirst
Visham – poisoning

Remedies

  • The leaves are used to treat fever.
  • The poultice prepared from leaves is used to treat inflammation, boils and abscess.
  • It is also used as a remedy for lung disorders.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Nutritional Values

Amaranthus leaves contain water 88.9 g, energy 18 kcal, protein 3.5 g, fat 0.3 g, carbohydrate 0.3 g, dietary fiber 2.6 g, Ca 270 mg, Mg 130 mg, P 65 mg, Fe 3.0 mg, carotene 1725 μg, thiamin 0.07 mg, riboflavin 0.22 mg, niacin 0.7 mg, folate 85 μg, ascorbic acid 42 mg. (read more)

Scientific Classification

Kingdom – Plantae
Phylum – Spermatophyta
Subphylum – Angiospermae
Class – Dicotyledonae
Order – Caryophyllales
Family – Amaranthaceae
Genus – Amaranthus
Species – Amaranthus viridis

Raktha Maarisha

Red amaranth is traditionally used to treat bleeding disorders, heavy menstrual bleeding, diarrhea, wound, mouth ulcers, cough, throat infections, toothache, eczema, piles, diarrhea, gonorrhea, leucorrhoea, impotence etc. It is used as blood purifier.

Botanical Name – Amaranthus tricolor
Synonyms – Amaranthus gangeticus, Amaranthus dubius,
Family – Amaranthaceae

Vernacular Name

Hindi Name – Lal Marasa, Lal saaga, laal marasha, Chaulai 
English Name – Red amaranth, Joseph’s coat, Chinese Spinach, Garden Amaranth, Fountain Plant, Elephant-Head Amaranth etc
Bengali Name – Dengua, Lal shak
Marathi Name – Maath, Mash, Chavalaayi, Ranmaath, Thambada maath
Kannada Name – Dantu, Harive soppu, Dantina Soppu, Chikkarive
Telugu Name – Thotakura, Erra Tatakoora, Bhadara, Dantu koora
Tamil Name – Thandukeerai, Mulaikkerai, Cherikkira
Malayalam Name – Aramaseetalam
Konkani Name – Tambdi bhajji
Gujarati Name – Tandaljo
Punjabi Name – Lal Marsa Sag
Oriya – Bajjisag
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Medicinal Qualities

Taste – sweet
Slightly heavy to digest
Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) – Katu (pungent)
Sakshaara – alkaline in nature
Sara – causes bowel movement
Shleshmala – increases kapha dosha
Swalpa dosha udeeritah – slightly increases dosha

Part Used
Roots, Leaves, Stem, Seeds

Traditional Uses

  • The roots, stem and leaves are good liver tonic
  • Roots and seeds are used to treat white discharge from vagina, impotence, colic, gonorrhea and eczema. They have galactagogue property which is used to promote and increase breast milk.
  • Roots are used to relieve pain and inflammation. They act as demulcent. (A)

Traditional Remedies

  • Root decoction along with Cucurbita pepo Linn. is used to control bleeding following abortion.
  • Root decoction is used to relieve piles and diarrhea in children.

As per the reference found from Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 27 the chapter, Maarisha is mentioned under Supya shaka (vegetables fit to make soup). All these vegetables have following qualities –
Guru – heavy to digest
Rooksha – dry
Madhura – sweet in taste
Sheeta veerya – cold potency
Bhedana – purgative
They produce wind during the process of digestion.
It is wholesome when consumed by boiling and draining the juice, and adding excess of fat substances.
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Nutritional Value

Leaves of red amaranth are rich in proteins, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin A.

Pharmacological Activity

Amaranthus tricolor possesses antioxidant, hepatoprotective, antiviral nd antiproliferative activity.

Phytochemicals

Amaranthus tricolor contains carbohydrates, flavonoids, proteins and amino acids, steroids and fatty acids (palmitic, linoleic, lignoceric and archidic acid)
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Sanskrit Verses

Morphology, Distribution

Morphology
Amaranthus tricolor is an erect, annual herb growing up to 5 ft tall. Stem cylindrical purplish red. Leaves are simple, 5 – 12 cm long, 3 – 7 cm wide, ovate or lanceolate, purplish pink in color. Flowers are pinkish white arranged in clustered spike. Seeds are small, 1.5 mm diameter, smooth, shiny black in color.

Distribution
Amaranthus is widely cultivated in India, Nepal, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillipines, Central America, Mexico, Southern and Eastern Africa.

Research

A study done to evaluate pharmacognostical and phytopharmacological profile of Amaranthus tricolor have reported that the plant possess hepatoprotective, hematological, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, antioxidant activity, anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties. (read more)

Classical Categorization

Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Shaaka varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadi varga
Charaka Samhita – Supyashaaka
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