Amaranth – what is it, useful properties of a plant, use in cooking and traditional medicine

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Amaranth is an extremely useful medicinal herb. The ancient civilizations of the Aztecs, Incas, Mayans used for sacred rituals, were eaten, because its nutritional value is not inferior to rice or oats. Amaranth (lat.Amaranthus) means granting immortality, unfading, “bestowed by God.” The main qualities of the plant are medicinality, nutrition, strengthening immunity, antitumor effect.

Amaranth grass

The amaranth plant is annual or perennial with a branched stem 70–150 cm high. The leaves are ovate or elongated, ovate in shape, alternate, at the base pulled into the petiole. The flowers are small, unisexual, collected in purple-red, dense spike-shaped inflorescences 20–50 cm high. The fruit is a lid that does not open or opens across. The seeds are small, have a strong peel, adapted to fall out of the fruit. Amaranth green, rarely red color. Most species grow in South and North America, China, about 20 species in Russia.


More than 100 plant species are known. Other names for the culture are shiritsa, aksamitnik, velvet, cocks. All varieties are cultivated into three groups: decorative, fodder, vegetable. Most known are the following types of amaranth:

  • Amaranth panicled, or bloody. A fast-growing plant that does not tolerate freezing. It differs by a brown-red hue of leaves and vertical inflorescences with hanging ends. Before flowering, the young aerial parts in some countries are eaten, used as green fertilizer or as feed for pigs..
  • Amaranth is three-colored, or Chinese spinach. Due to the green, yellow or bright red color of the leaves, it is often bred in gardens for decoration. This species is considered a dietary, protein-rich product that removes heavy metals, protects against certain diseases, enhances immunity..
  • Amaranth is tailed. The plant is characterized by hanging inflorescences resembling tails. Dark purple or white color. Sometimes leaves are used as spinach. Seeds can replace poultry feed, and the aerial part is used to feed cattle, pigs, sheep.
  • Amaranth is white. Weakly branched shiritsa, flowers are greenish-white, collected on the axils of the leaves. Dead or dried plants turn into tumbleweed.
  • Amaranth is dark. The species has an emerald green color. With the onset of cold weather, the color of the leaves becomes multi-colored. A heat-loving, photophilous plant resistant to drought, ideal for filling empty spaces in flower beds or for arranging bouquets.

Blooming amaranth


As a result of numerous scientific studies, a unique chemical and amino acid composition of shirits has been revealed, where the vitamin-mineral and nutritional components are balanced. The plant serves as a source of many micro and macro elements, which indicates the need to include it in the diet. Flour and healing amaranth oil are made from the seeds of the plant. Amaranth calories – 371 kcal.



Other items


215 mg

Vitamin B6

0.19 mg

Saturated Fat

1.46 g


611 mg

Vitamin B5

0.06 mg

Monounsaturated Fat

1.69 g


55 mg

Vitamin B2

0.16 mg

Polyunsaturated fats

2.78 g


20 mg

Vitamin B1

0.03 mg


13.56 g


50 mg

Vitamin B9

85 mcg


62.25 g


2.32 mg

Vitamin PP

0.66 mg


24 mg


0.89 mg

Vitamin C

43.3 mg


11.2 g


0.16 mg

Vitamin K

1140 mcg

Alimentary fiber

6.7 g


0.9 mcg

Vitamin A

146 mcg


2.88 g


0.9 mg

Useful properties of amaranth

Due to its chemical composition, shiritsa has numerous medicinal and beneficial properties. The plant is a source of phytosterols, which, getting into the human body, reduce the concentration of cholesterol and triglycerides. Amaranth oil has a generally beneficial effect on people, on patients with coronary heart disease, hypertension. In addition, the oil copes with various types of skin damage: burns, cuts, insect bites, pressure sores.

In large quantities, high quality protein is contained in the shirite. The leaves and seeds of the plant contain 30% more protein than rice, oats and other types of crops. In addition, it contains lysine – the most valuable and indispensable amino acid for the human body, which functions as a synthesis of muscle fibers and muscle tissue formation. Useful substances containing leaves or oil of shiritsa serve to:

  • prevention of osteoporosis;
  • increase in calcium in the body;
  • metabolic regulation;
  • reduce the likelihood of cancer cells, vascular and heart diseases.

The use of amaranth is recommended for various diseases of the organs of vision, for example, for cataracts, conjunctivitis, night blindness, blepharitis. In addition, squalene and unsaturated fatty acids contained in shiritsa have a beneficial effect on blood circulation, fight malignant tumors, enrich the body with oxygen, which has a good effect on the state of the whole human body, including the organs of vision.

The use of amaranth

Plant seeds are used for hemorrhoids, diarrhea, heavy menstrual flow, inflammatory processes of the genitourinary system. Amaranth oil is obtained from the seeds, which is a source of antioxidants, many vitamins and the polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid necessary for the body. Oil is used to treat diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, diabetes mellitus, with varicose veins, heart attacks, strokes, and inflammatory processes..

Amaranth water infusion is recommended for intestinal colic, constipation, colitis, as a hemostatic agent. A decoction of the roots of shiritsa is used against rishta, jaundice. Apply juice or tincture on amaranth inside with:

  • kidney disease
  • gastrointestinal infections;
  • heart disease
  • with dermatitis, eczema, erosion – externally;
  • with a rash, diathesis, allergies, take a bath with a solution of the plant.

Juice from leaves of shiritsa is a source of natural protein, which is actively used in baby food. It contains many important amino acids: methionine, threonine, phenylalanine, cystine, leucine, etc. The juice is also used to prevent and treat respiratory diseases: asthma, tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis. Fiolic acid contained in the plant reduces the number of defects in the brain and spinal cord, which is important for pregnant women and breast-fed children.

Amaranth seeds

In folk medicine

Due to hemostatic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, general strengthening properties, shiritsu is actively used in folk medicine. The seeds and leaves of the plant are able to fully provide the body with the necessary vitamins, salts of calcium, potassium, iron. Amaranth tea will be an excellent remedy for obesity, neurosis, to strengthen the immune system. Shiritsa oil contains many unsaturated and organic acids, which ensure the body’s resistance to diseases.

Amaranth tincture

To prepare a tincture of water, 15 grams of a dry crushed plant (roots, stems, seeds, inflorescences) is poured with a glass of boiling water, then it is kept in a water bath for 15 minutes, left to infuse, then filtered. If desired, you can add honey or lemon juice. Take 50 ml for half an hour before eating, for two weeks. Tincture from this plant will enhance the body’s resistance to viruses, prevent the growth of cancer cells, it is used for peptic ulcer.

Homemade butter

To prepare medicinal oil, 1 part of the seeds is crushed in a mortar, combined with 3 parts of any heated oil and put into a thermos. After 7 days, the oil is carefully drained, and the seeds are squeezed into a glass bottle, then the whole process is repeated several more times with new seeds. The oil collected as a result is stored in a dark, cold place. Take a teaspoon up to three times a day for 1 month. Beneficial effect on blood vessels, heart and liver. A wide range of external cosmetic applications.

Amaranth bath recipes

For 2 liters of boiling water take 300-400 g. plant raw materials of the plant, insist 15 minutes in a water bath, filter and add to the bathtub filled with water. The procedure takes up to 30 minutes. It is used to treat skin diseases, insect bites, burns, bedsores, and has an antibacterial effect. It is not recommended to use shiritsa with pancreatitis, urolithiasis, cholecystitis, celiac enteropathy.

In cooking

Shiritsa leaves can be boiled, fried, steamed, seeds added to baking and any dish. In some countries, confectionery or flour products are made from seeds. Beer is brewed from amaranth in Peru, and porridge is made in Asia. Shiritsa oil is similar to any vegetable oil, it is suitable for frying and dressing salads. Amaranth cereal is also known, which does not contain gluten and is ideal for young children, pregnant and lactating women.

Amaranth puree soup

Nutritionists have long proved that soup should be present on the menu of every person. Unusual soup puree with a spicy additive – boiled seeds of amaranth, which makes its taste completely unforgettable, diversifies any diet. In addition, all dishes from this miracle plant are healthy, contain a lot of protein and will not harm the figure, as they are dietary.


  • vegetable or meat broth – 1 l;
  • milk –1/4 l;
  • cornmeal – 2 tbsp. l .;
  • onion – 1 pc.;
  • boiled amaranth seeds – 100 gr.;
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg – to taste.

Cooking method:

  1. Combine the broth with milk and chopped onion, chopped and fried in vegetable oil. Boil.
  2. Add corn flour and amaranth, crushed on a mixer. To taste salt and pepper, sprinkle with nutmeg. Remove from fire.

Mashed soup

Amaranth Grain Bread

Since ancient times, the healing properties of amaranth have been known. Since ancient times, our ancestors made flour from bacon seeds and baked bread, which was considered a source of longevity. Baked bread with a rich herbal smell of amaranth has healing properties, does not stale for a long time, is a very nutritious and protein product, reduces the risk of many diseases.


  • baking soda – 1 tsp;
  • whole wheat flour – 1 tbsp .;
  • egg white – 1 pc.;
  • wholemeal flour – 3/4 tbsp .;
  • amaranth seeds – 3/4 tbsp .;
  • margarine – 1 tbsp. l .;
  • skim cream – 1 tbsp.

Cooking method:

  1. Sift soda with flour, combine with other dry ingredients.
  2. Add beaten egg to milk and melted margarine.
  3. Mix well, add to dry mass. Then put the resulting dough on an oiled baking sheet, bake in the oven for 25 minutes at a temperature of 170-180 degrees Celsius.

Grain bread

Amaranth cultivation

Shiritsa is a weed, therefore the plant is unpretentious, adapts to any temperatures and even droughts. It is better to sow seeds when the temperature of the earth reaches 5-6 ° C, and the soil is saturated with water, which is important at the very beginning of amaranth growth. This plant is arranged with aisles of 45 cm, at a distance of 7-10 cm from each other. After 10 days, shoots appear.

The upper part of the plant develops slowly at first. The flower must be loosened every ten days, weed the soil. Shiritsa seeds are harvested in autumn, and panicles of flowers are threshed and spread in a thin layer on air to dry. Harvest plants pickle, freeze. Amaranth seeds can be eaten. Each plant gives an average of up to 600 thousand seeds, which retain germination up to 4 years.

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