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Amaranthus spinosus - L.                
                 
Common Name Spiny Amaranth
Family Amaranthaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards 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.
Habitats Roadsides, waste places and fields in South-eastern N. America[72].
Range Tropical America.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Amaranthus spinosus is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 10-Apr It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind, self.The plant is self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Amaranthus spinosus Spiny Amaranth


ttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amaranthus.spinosus1web.jpg
Amaranthus spinosus Spiny Amaranth
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Leaves and stems - raw or cooked as a spinach[2, 61, 177]. If older leaves and stems are used the spines must be removed[183]. Highly esteemed[183]. The dried leaves contain (per 100g) 267 - 276 calories, 20 - 34.4% protein, 2 - 4.5% fat, 45 - 54% carbohydrate, 9.8 - 10.4% fibre, 16.6 - 24% ash, 1795 - 5333mg calcium, 333 - 460mg phosphorus, 13.5 - 152.7mg iron, 13 - 37mg sodium, 337 - 3528mg potassium, 27.9 - 40.8mg betacarotene equivalent, 0.06mg thiamine, 2.02mg riboflavin, 7.7 - 8.6mg niacin and 503mg ascorbic acid[218]. Seed - cooked. Very small, about 1mm in diameter[266], 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].
Composition                                         
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
  • 276 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 30g; Fat: 4.5g; Carbohydrate: 50g; Fibre: 10g; Ash: 20g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 5000mg; Phosphorus: 450mg; Iron: 100mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 30mg; Potassium: 3000mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 40mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.06mg; Riboflavin (B2): 2.02mg; Niacin: 8mg; B6: 0mg; C: 503mg;
  • Reference: [ ]
  • Notes:
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antidote;  Astringent;  Diaphoretic;  Emmenagogue;  Emollient;  Febrifuge;  VD.

The seed is used as a poultice for broken bones[218]. The plant is astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, febrifuge and galactogogue[4, 61, 147, 218, 238, 240, 272]. It is used internally in the treatment of internal bleeding, diarrhoea and excessive menstruation[238, 254]. It is also used in the treatment of snake bites[243]. Externally, it is used to treat ulcerated mouths, vaginal discharges, nosebleeds and wounds[238, 243]. The plant can be used fresh or it can also be harvested when coming into flower and dried for later use[238]. The root is emmenagogue and galactogogue[243]. A paste of the root is used in the treatment of menorrhagia, gonorrhoea, eczema and colic[243, 272]. It helps to remove pus from boils[272]. The juice of the root is used in Nepal to treat fevers, urinary troubles, diarrhoea and dysentery[272]. It is also used, often combind with the root juice of Dichrophela integra and Rubus ellipticus, to treat stomach disorders and, on its own, to treat indigestion and vomiting that occur after eating unusual foods[272].
Other Uses
Dye.

Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant[168]. A red pigment obtained from the plant (the report does not specify which part of the plant) is used as a colouring in foods and medicines[238].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. Requires a hot sheltered position if it is to do well[K]. Plants should not be given inorganic fertilizers, see notes above on toxicity. 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].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
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].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
200266
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[72]Small. Manual of the Southeastern Flora.
Getting rather dated now, it covers Southeastern N. America. No pictures, it is not for the casual reader.
[133]Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
[147]? A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[196]Popenoe. H. et al Lost Crops of the Incas
An excellent book. Very readable, with lots of information and good pictures of some lesser known food plants of S. America.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[206]Larkcom J. Oriental Vegetables
Well written and very informative.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[243] Medicinal Plants of Nepal
Terse details of the medicinal properties of Nepalese plants, including cultivated species and a few imported herbs.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[266] Flora of China
On-line version of the Flora - an excellent resource giving basic info on habitat and some uses.
[272]Manandhar. N. P. Plants and People of Nepal
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
T.Heleena Thu Oct 23 2008
Kindly give me the Amaranthas spinosus plant papers and reports.

chennai I'm heleena .I doing project work in Amaranthas spinosus plant extract induced in STZ induced diabetic rats. kindly help to give the detailed report in this plant and also give the Sangameswaran and jeyakar 2007 paper.plz give me the reports and paper immediately.Thanking you sir.

Elizabeth H.
Dulce-amor P. matondo Mon Jul 20 2009
Hi, Your website is very helpful and informative. Amaranthus spinosus is an edible weed in the Philippines and you can find it in the market specially in the southern Philippines. I am researching on other economic and pharmaceutical importance of this weed. The ideas i got from your website helped me lot in determining which areas have not been explored yet. Please post more information regarding this plant in the future as guide for those who want to investigate more regarding this species. Thanks a lot.
Elizabeth H.
John Michael Paraguya Tue Nov 3 2009
Good Day to you ! Our Group want to conduct an experiment regarding the effect of Amaranthus Spinosus to the Blood Hemoglobin count of Mice , but , unfortunately , laboratories in our locality doesn't conduct Blood Test from animals . On the other hand , we are still not sure on what process we are going to conduct . During our first decision , we wanted to make a POWDERED TEA , and mix it with water , then , feed the mice . Can you please , suggest other procedures to get the desired chemical components of this weed . We are still hesitant to do this procedure , since , the processes are intricate , to think that we are still high school students . Thank You very much and More Power !
Elizabeth H.
ladylane sayson Sat Dec 12 2009
hi.. im an aggies i wanna know the life span of amaranthus??? thanks!!!
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