Slender Amaranth (Amaranthus blitum)

Annual
A. blitum. L.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Slender Amaranth
Amaranthus blitum
Amaranthaceae

Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant[168].

  • Medicinal Use

    A fluid extract of the plant is used as an astringent internally in the treatment of ulcerated mouths and throats, externally as a wash for ulcers and sores[4].

    The juice of the roots is used externally to relieve headaches[272].

    The plant has a folk reputation for being effective in the treatment of tumours and warts[218].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked as a spinach[2, 4, 55, 183]. The leaves contain about 3.88% protein, 1.1% fat, 9.38% carbohydrate, 3.2% ash, 323mg Ca, 8.3mg Fe, they are very rich in Vitamins A & C, rich in vitamin B1[179]. The leaves are used as a potherb in order to remove poison from the system[218].

    Seed – cooked. Used as a cereal substitute in cakes, porridge etc[55, 183]. Very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious. The seed can be cooked whole, and becomes very gelatinous like this, but it is rather difficult to crush all of the small seeds in the mouth and thus some of the seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated[K].

    An edible dye is obtained from the seed capsules[4].

  • Cautionary Notes

    No members of this genus are known to be poisonous, but when grown on nitrogen-rich soils they are known to concentrate nitrates in the leaves. This is especially noticeable on land where chemical fertilizers are used. Nitrates are implicated in stomach cancers, blue babies and some other health problems. It is inadvisable, therefore, to eat this plant if it is grown inorganically.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow late spring in situ. An earlier sowing can be made in a greenhouse and the plants put out after the last expected frosts. Germination is usually rapid and good if the soil is warm[133]. A drop in temperature overnight aids germination[133]. Cuttings of growing plants root easily[206].
Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. Requires a hot sheltered position if it is to do well[K]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 7.5. Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity. This plant was cultivated by the ancient Romans and Greeks for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties[183]. Most if not all members of this genus photosynthesize by a more efficient method than most plants. Called the ‘C4 carbon-fixation pathway’, this process is particularly efficient at high temperatures, in bright sunlight and under dry conditions[196].
Temperate and Tropical zones.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.