Amaranth Flower: A Red Beauty to Enhance Your Life

5 min read

You must have heard of the amaranth flower as well as the fact that its red color is regarded as the darkest red in nature. No doubt that the amaranth plant is an exotic and showy plant, which makes it ideal for borders and beds. The amaranth flower is a breathtaking tassel that cascades to the ground from tall and erect branching stems.

In this post, we are going to discuss the following:

* Taxonomic Hierarchy of Amaranth Plant

* Description of Amaranth Flower

* Growing Amaranthus and Amaranthus Plant Care

* Uses of Amaranth

* Medicinal Properties of Amaranth

Taxonomic Hierarchy of Amaranth Plant

Classifying the amaranth plant into a taxonomic hierarchy is usually difficult because of the similarities between the different species of the plant. Despite this difficulty, amaranth has been successfully classified to the Kingdom Plantae and Subkingdom Tracheobionta, both of which indicate that it is a vascular plant. The main ranking order used in addition to the kingdom and subkingdom is the division, class, order, family, and genus. The plant belongs to the division Magnoliophyta and class Magnoliopsida, which shows that it is a flowering and dicotyledonous plant. The amaranth plant belongs to the order Caryophyllales and family Amaranthaceae. The genus that is used to represent the amaranth flower is the Amaranthus L., which is also commonly called pigweed.

Description of Amaranth Flower

The amaranth flower can be unisexual or bisexual for most species. In both cases, they are very small, and usually possess bracts and bristly perianth. The bracts subtend the flower with two membranous bractlets. The stamens are located directly opposite the sepals and the flower’s androecium hold five of these stamens. The flowers are generally aggregated in spikes, cymes or panicles. As earlier mentioned, the majority are sometimes bisexual and actinomorphic, while a few species of this flower are unisexual. The inflorescence may be green, white, purple, or pinkish depending on the species. The flower has four to five petals usually joined to the stamens, a hypogynous ovary with three to five sepals, and two to three styles.

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Growing Amaranthus and Amaranthus Plant Care

Growing the Amaranthus plant is straightforward, and it can be achieved by following basic steps and considering some factors. For example, it is important to note that Amaranthus grows best in partly shady conditions and sometimes full sunlight conditions. The plant can grow in any soil; however, a constant soil pH of between 6 and 7 should be maintained. Amaranthus can be grown both indoors and outdoors, provided that there are no dangers of frost. The seed should be lightly covered with soil to ensure that the seedling has proper sunlight exposure and protection from cold weather conditions. The seeds should be spaced 10 to 14 inches apart. It takes between 10 to 14 days and a temperature of 70 degrees F for the seeds to germinate.

Taking care of the Amaranthus plant is also easy. The plant is not sensitive to ethylene. The plant needs a constant supply of water, and as such, it should be regularly watered to maintain the moisture content of the soil in all seasons. Slow-release or all-purpose fertilizer can be applied to the plant on a monthly basis from the beginning of the growing season.

Uses of Amaranth

Amaranth has several uses. The leaves are used as vegetables and grains for culinary preparations. The grains are also used in preparing cakes, flakes, biscuits, pastry, breads, ice-cream, lysine-rich baby foods, and crackers. The grains can also be fermented and used in making beer. Amaranth has been extensively applied for several agro-industrial uses, which includes the manufacture of natural dyes, cosmetics, plastics of high quality and pharmaceuticals. The grains are also used as preservatives for preserving apple fruits and meats.

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The grains of Amaranth is used ethnomedicinally to treat snakebites, measles, and also for foot and mouth diseases of animals. The leaf and stem are sometimes used to treat kidney stones. Amaranth oil contains cholesterol-lowering agents, especially in the tocopherol, and these agents can be used in treating cardiovascular diseases. Amaranth oil may sometimes contain squalene which is a skin penetrant and a cosmetic ingredient, and it can also be used as a lubricant, especially for computer discs.

Medicinal Properties of Amaranth

Amaranth is rich in compounds that have different health benefits. These compounds are widely distributed in different parts of the plant, particularly the leaves, flowers, and seeds. The most common compounds present include lectins, unsaturated fatty acids, squalene, tocopherols, terpene alcohols, carotenoids, aliphatic alcohols, and phytosterols.

Lectins found in Amaranth are extensively used in cell biology, immunology, and cancer research. This is because it possesses biological effects such as cytotoxicity, immunosuppression, and mitogenicity. An example of a lectin found in many species of Amaranthaceae is Amaranthine.

Unsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acids and linoleic acid, are predominant in the leaves and seed oil of amaranth. Linolenic acid is also present in small amounts. The unsaturated fatty acids present in amaranth are good antioxidants and they significantly contribute to lipid metabolism.

Squalene is an immune adjuvant and a precursor of steroids. It helps in breaking hepatic cholesterol to bile acids by increasing the activity of 7?-hydroxylase. Squalene is used in some pharmaceuticals and production of cosmetics because of its emollient nature. Tocopherols are present in the seeds of amaranth.

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Tocopherols possess antioxidant activity and antitumor activity. It helps in regulating serum cholesterol, reducing the synthesis of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and also in regulating lipoprotein lipase.

Carotenoids are located in the leaves and they act as immune response enhancers, anti-carcinogenic agents, antioxidants, and eye protectors. Carotenoids are also used in preventing cardiovascular diseases. The main types of carotenoids present in amaranth are lutein and ?-carotene.

The seed oils of various Amaranthus species are highly concentrated with phytosterols. Phytosterols are the most important micro components compounds, and they are extensively used in pharmacy because they possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.

Polyphenols are also present in amaranth, and it is used in preventing osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus and some other neurodegenerative diseases.