- Family Amaranthaceae
- Amaranthus hypochondriacus
- Lady Bleeding, Lovely Bleeding, Love-Lies-Bleeding, Red Cockscomb, Velvet Flower, Pilewort, Prince’s Feather, Pig Weed, Cockscomb
- Spanish: Alegría, Chile Puerco, Chichilquiltic
- Nahuatl: Tlanepaquelitl, Quíhlitl, Huauhtli
- Maya: Kix-xtez
- None listed
Native to India and South America, it now grows wild in many countries as well as being cultivated. A common garden plant, it is a sturdy, upright annual growing to about three feet, having deeply veined, lance-shaped, purple-green leaves that grow to six inches. The flowers are tufts of small, deep crimson spikes which are harvested when in flower in late summer and early autumn.
The name comes from the Greek word meaning “unwithering”. It was used to decorate their tombs to signify immortality.
- Aerial parts
- decoctions to counter heavy menstruation
- gargles to soothe throat inflammations
- mouthwashes to heal canker sores
The astringency of the herb is useful in reducing blood loss and to treat diarrhea.
A decoction not only counters heavy menstrual bleeding, but also excessive vaginal discharge, diarrhea, and dysentery.
A related species called Quinoa or Inca Wheat, A. caudatus, is also a nutritious Andean grain. Both quinoa and amaranth are used as a grain or eaten cooked as a cereal. Another variety, A. grandiflorus, is used as a food by the Australian Aborgines. Still another variety, A. spinosus, is used in Ayurvedic medicine to reduce menstrual bleeding and excessive vaginal discharge and to arrest the coughing up of blood.