Despite the centuries-old history of amaranth, disputes about it do not subside. This is confirmed by consumer reviews. Today, not all representatives of traditional medicine welcome the use of amaranth in various diseases. In some reviews, we will see a negative assessment of the effect of the products of this culture on the body. Could our distant ancestors be mistaken in calling amaranth the golden grain of God, and where did the scientists claim that amaranth is a 21st century culture?
Brief pages of history
Amaranth was known even 8 thousand years ago. It was food for Mayans and Incas, grown in large quantities in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, India and Nepal, as well as in China, Southeast Asia, South India, West Africa. Moreover, in some countries amaranth grain was more valued, in others its leaves and stems, but everywhere this culture played an important role in economic development. So, in the 16th century the Aztecs received the emperor Montezuma in the form of a tax of 9 thousand tons of amaranth. In America, this culture was almost basic and revered as the “golden seed of God”, and the amaranth itself, for example, among the ancient Etruscans and Hellenes symbolized immortality.
In ancient times, it was not possible to study the composition of amaranth, but even then its healing properties were noticed. So, in history there is information that in ancient Tartaria (the country of Aryans) the plant was used for treatment for many ailments. In addition, the ancient Slavs and Arians used amaranth for feeding newborn children, soldiers took amaranth grains with them on heavy campaigns to restore strength and improve health. At different times, amaranth was used among the population as a hemostatic agent for pulmonary and uterine bleeding, for the treatment of hemorrhoids, intestinal problems, constipation and dysentery. Amaranth is highly appreciated today: the UN Food Commission for food and healing properties recognized amaranth as a 21st century culture.
Indeed, over time, scientists have discovered the unique chemical composition of amaranth. The real discovery was the discovery in the plant of a large amount of squalene, which saturates the body with oxygen, which prevents the development of cancer cells. In the course of biochemical studies of squalene, it was found that this organic compound is a derivative of vitamin A and, in the synthesis of cholesterol, turns into its biochemical analogue, 7-dehydrocholesterol, which in the sunlight becomes vitamin D, thereby providing radioprotective properties.
It should be noted that squalene is present in other plants, and this is used in the production of drugs, products and additives that help eliminate certain disorders in the body. It is found in olive oil, in wheat germ oil, in rice bran, in yeast, but in small quantities. According to modern research, the highest content of squalene in oil from amaranth grains is 8-10%, and this is several times more than in the liver of a deep-sea shark, which previously served as its main source.
Amaranth also contains a real complex of all the necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, fatty acids. The unique chemical composition has determined the great possibilities of using the plant as a therapeutic agent. In many countries, it has been used successfully for a number of health problems. It:
- inflammatory processes of the genitourinary system in women and men;
- skin diseases;
- peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum;
Amaranth oil preparations are being made to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood, to protect the body from the effects of radiation, for the resorption of malignant tumors.
Researchers on the Importance of Amaranth
Amaranth studies are carried out in different countries, and each time new ones are discovered, or already known properties of this plant are confirmed.
Chinese medicine calls food amaranth one of the main products for youth and beauty. It has been proved experimentally and subsequent practice that regular consumption of amaranth oil slows down the aging process, cleanses the skin, and accelerates cell renewal.
The education system in India has recommended amaranth as an essential nutritional supplement.
In Africa, doctors recommend amaranth leaves and seeds to be included in the diet for anyone with a lack of red blood cells.
The US Department of Agriculture in Wisconsin, during a study in 1996, proved that triglycerides and cholesterol levels are significantly reduced when amaranth is included in the diet menu.
The International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition published materials from a study conducted in 2013. The researchers concluded that consuming amaranth is an effective way to increase the nutritional value of calcium, as well as iron and zinc. Earlier in the same publication, materials from another study were published. According to its results, the consumption of amaranth grain helps to reduce LDL cholesterol of very low density by 21-50%.
Studies are being conducted on the effect of amaranth on the course of a disease. So, in 2014, Molecular Nutrition and Food Research published the results of studies regarding treatment for inflammatory processes. The materials say that amaranth suppresses inflammation and serves as a natural treatment for arthritis, has the ability to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
According to the results of studies published in the same publication in 2017, the proteins contained in amaranth have a particularly high quality of nutrients. This level is ensured by an excellent balance of essential amino acids. In addition, the phytochemicals contained in this plant contribute to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and provide a number of useful grain properties.
The journal “Sports medicine and physical training” published research materials that say that protein intake before and after training has a beneficial effect on the athlete’s body. This happens due to the reduction of muscle damage caused by physical exertion, and stimulation of muscle protein synthesis. In other words, protein is useful for muscle recovery and immune regulation of sports.
The list of studies and examples of publications are constantly updated.
Are skeptics right?
Researchers, representatives of both traditional and traditional medicine recall that each organism has its own characteristics and the ability to respond to any intervention in its work. At the same time, recommendations regarding the time of taking the drug or agent and dosage cannot be ignored. In particular, drugs and products that contain amaranth are recommended to be consumed half an hour before eating or immediately after eating. Amaranth oil for therapeutic purposes is recommended to use 1 hl twice a day, and this course is carried out three times a year. To reduce the concentration of cholesterol in the blood, oil is taken in the morning and immediately before bedtime.
Doctors from foreign clinics recommend including sprouted grains, infusions from dried leaves and amaranth rhizomes, salads from young green plants in the children’s diet. It is noted that the juice from the leaves and flowers of amaranth in baby food is an excellent source of essential natural protein. It contains a lot of important amino acids: cystine, nizatidine, phenylalanine, valine, tryptophan, threonine, methionine, lysine, isoleucine, leucine, arginine.
Despite the enormous benefits of amaranth and products based on it, there are contraindications for each drug or product. Doctors of traditional medicine believe that you should refrain from using decoctions and amaranth dishes for people with hypotension, suffering from urolithiasis, with exacerbation of cholecystitis and pancreatitis.
The list of contraindications compiled by doctors includes:
- chronic diseases of the pancreas;
- diarrhea, diarrhea, and frequent stomach upsets;
- duodenal ulcer;
- chronic pancreatitis;
- increased cholesterol in the vessels.
True, with respect to the last statement, traditional medicine claims the opposite: amaranth grain helps lower the level of so-called bad cholesterol.
In conclusion, we recall that not a single remedy, and not even a single newest medicine, is a panacea. The problem is solved only if an integrated approach is applied.