Amaranthus spinosus, commonly known as the spiny amaranth, spiny pigweed, prickly amaranth or thorny amaranth, is a plant that is native to the tropical Americas, but is present on most continents as an introduced species and sometimes a noxious weed. It can be a serious weed of rice cultivation in Asia.
Amaranthus spinosus is an erect, many-branched annual herb growing up to 1.5 m. The stem is smooth, robust, cylindrical and often reddish. The leaves are simple and alternate, glabrous or with sparse hairs on the main veins below, often diamond-shaped, long petiolate, up to 9 cm. They are dotted with numerous translucid spots; the venation is well marked. The leaf axils bear pairs of fine and slender spines. The small green flowers are grouped in clusters in the axils of the leaves and in branched terminal spikes. The fruit is a dehiscent capsule that splits open at maturity (dehiscent); it contains a single smooth, black, lens-shaped seed.
Amaranth leaves are rich in vitamin A and a cup can meet 97% of your daily need for this antioxidative vitamin. They are also full of flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants like beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein which provide a protective layer against oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Besides its culinary value, it is used to repute for treat digestible, bronchitis, appetizer, biliousness, galactagogue, haematinic, stomachic, nausea, flatulence, anorexia, blood diseases, burning sensation, leucorrhoea, leprosy and piles. Phytochemical investigations prove its importance as valuable medicinal plant.
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