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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Amaranthus species
Alternative Names: Yin Tsai, Red Calaloo

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Amaranthus species


  • Annual
  • Tall bushy annual with medium green, oval to heart-shaped leaves are overlaid with burgundy red - can grow up to 1.5m high.
  • A fast-growing vegetable that can be harvested within 30 days after sowing.
  • The young leaves and stems can be harvested periodically for a long time during the growth.
  • Performs best in hot, humid weather - needs full sun, is draught tolerant and hardy.
  • Can be grown as an ornamental.

Culinary Uses

  • Use the young leaves in stir-fries, soups and fresh in salads.
  • The leaves will release red color into soups and dishes when cooked.
  • Prepare like spinach.

Parts Used

  • The young leaves and shoots.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • The Vegetable and Ornamental Research Institute at Roodeplaat, north of Pretoria analyzed the nutritional value of various Amaranth species and they found that the Amaranth is more valuable than any other leaf vegetable.
  • The leaves are a good source of protein - a portion of 100g will provide half of the body's daily allowance for protein.
  • The iron content can be as high as 5 times the recommended daily allowance, the calcium content at least double and the vitamin A content can be up to 20 times the recommended daily allowance.
  • Cooked amaranth leaves are also a good source of vitamin C, folate, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.
  • Amaranth seeds are a good source of thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folate, and dietary minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese - comparable to common grains such as wheat germ, oats and others.
  • Amaranth contains about thirty percent more protein than cereals like rice, sorghum and rye and can be a promising source of protein to those who are gluten sensitive - unlike the protein found in grains such as wheat and rye, Amaranth's protein does not contain gluten.
  • According to a 2007 report, amaranth compares well in nutrient content with gluten-free vegetarian options such as buckwheat, corn, millet, wild rice, oats and quinoa.
  • Amaranth is rich in the essential amino acid lysine that is limited in other grains while grains such as wheat and corn are comparatively rich in amino acids that amaranth seed lacks - thus - amaranth and other grains can complement each other.
  • Studies have shown that like oats, amaranth seed may be of benefit for those with hypertension and cardiovascular disease - regular consumption reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Where the active ingredient in oats appears to be water-soluble fiber, amaranth appears to lower cholesterol via its content of plant stanols and squalene.

For Animals. It is said that

  • Chicken feed.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff
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