Amaranth oil (Amaranthus L.)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Achis, achita, African amaranth, African spinach, alegra, amarante, amaranth grain, amaranth hybrid, amaranth seed oil, amaranth tender, Amaranthaceae (family), amaranthoideae, Amaranthus acanthochiton, Amaranthus acutilobius, Amaranthus albus, Amaranthus arenicola, Amaranthus australis, Amaranthus bigelovii, Amaranthus blitoides, Amaranthus blitum, Amaranthus brownie, Amaranthus californicus, Amaranthus cannabinus, Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus chihuahuensis, Amaranthus chlorostachys, Amaranthus crassipes, Amaranthus crispus, Amaranthus cruentus, Amaranthus deflexus, Amaranthus dubius, Amaranthus edulis, Amaranthus fimbriatus, Amaranthus floridanus, Amaranthus gangeticus, Amaranthus graecizans, Amaranthus greggii, Amaranthus hybridus, Amaranthus hypochondriacus, Amaranthus leucocarpus, Amaranthus lineatus, Amaranthus lividus, Amaranthus mantegazzianus, Amaranthus minimus, Amaranthus muricatus, Amaranthus obcordatus, Amaranthus palmeri, Amaranthus paniculus, Amaranthus polygonoides, Amaranthus powelii, Amaranthus pringlei, Amaranthus pumilus, Amaranthus quitensis, Amaranthus retroflexus, Amaranthus rudis, Amaranthus scleropoides, Amaranthus spinosus, Amaranthus standleyanus, Amaranthus thunbergii, Amaranthus torreyi, Amaranthus tricolor, Amaranthus tuberculatus, Amaranthus viridis, Amaranthus watsonii, Amaranthus wrightii, amaranto, amarantos, arowo jeta, ataco, Australian amaranth, azorubin, bayam, bayam bhaji, bayam hedjo, bigelow's amaranth, biteku teku, bledos, blero spinach, bondue, bone-bract amaranth, brown's amaranth, buautli, bush greens, calaloo, calalu, California amaranth, California pigweed, callaloo, careless weed, chihuahuan amaranth, Chinese spinach, choito, coimicoyo, common amaranth, common waterhemp, crispleaf amaranth, cuime, efo tete, elephant head amaranth, Florida amaranth, foxtail amaranth, fringed amaranth, fringed pigweed, fuchsschwanz, golden grain of the Gods, green amaranth, greenstripe, Gregg's amaranth, guegui, hinn choy, huautli, Indian spinach, Joseph's-coat, khada sag, kiwicha, komo, kulitis, lady bleeding, large-fruit amaranth, lenga lenga, linoleic acid, livid amaranth, love-lies-bleeding, lovely bleeding, mat amaranth, mchicha, Mexican grain amaranth, millmi, mystical grains of the Aztecs, oleic acid, pale-seeded amaranth, palmer pigweed, Palmer's amaranth, palmitric acid, pendant amaranth, pigweed amaranth, pilewort, Powell amaranth, Powell pigweed, prickly amaranth, Prince-of-Wales-feather, Prince's feather, princess feather, Pringle's amaranth, prostrate amaranth, prostrate pigweed, purple amaranth, quilete, quinoa de castilla, quintonil, ramdana, red amaranth, red cockscomb, red-root amaranth, redroot pigweed, Reuzen amaranth, rough-fruit amaranth, sandhill amaranth, sangorache, seaside amaranth, sharp-lobe amaranth, slender amaranth, smooth amaranth, smooth pigweed, southern amaranth, spinach grass, spiny amaranth, spleen amaranth, spreading amaranth, squalene, stearic acid, super grain of the Aztecs, surinam spinach, tall amaranth, tall waterhemp, tampala, tassel flower, thorny amaranth, thotakura, Thunberg's amaranth, tidal-marsh amaranth, Torrey's amaranth, Trans-Pecos amaranth, tropical amaranth, tumble pigweed, tumbleweed, vegetable amaranth, velvet flower, vitamin E, Watson's amaranth, white pigweed, wild beet, wild blite, Wright's amaranth, yin choi.
Amaranth is grown in Asia and the Americas and harvested primarily for its grain, which is used as a food source for bread, pasta, and infant food.
Amaranth oil has been shown to decrease cholesterol and lipid levels when taken with a low-sodium, heart-healthy diet. However, other studies have shown that amaranth in conjunction with a low-fat diet has no effect on cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol. Early research has also shown that amaranth oil may lower blood sugar.
There is not enough scientific evidence of an effect of amaranth for any indication. High-quality research is needed before a recommendation can be made.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Limited evidence suggests that amaranth may have antioxidant properties when combined with a heart-healthy diet. Additional studies are needed before conclusions can be drawn.
Amaranth plus a low-sodium, heart-healthy diet decreased cholesterol and blood pressure in patients with heart disease. However, additional evidence is needed before a recommendation can be made in this area.
Immune system function
Limited evidence suggests that amaranth may stimulate the immune system when combined with a heart-healthy diet in patients with heart disease and high cholesterol. However, additional studies of amaranth alone are needed in this area.
Early research suggests that consuming amaranth greens may improve night blindness. However, more studies are needed before a recommendation can be made.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Abnormal menstrual bleeding, allergies, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, arthritis, asthma, astringent, bed sores, burns, cancer, canker sores, cosmetic uses, diabetes, diarrhea, digestion, diuretic, eczema, energy, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammation, insect bites, leucorrhea (vaginal discharge), lung cancer prevention, nosebleed, nutritional supplement (infant formulas/cereal, pediatric, pre-school children), pain, psoriasis, rash, ulcers, wound care.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
A tea may be prepared by adding 1 teaspoon of amaranth leaves to 1 cup of cold water and consuming 1 to 2 cups per day. As an antioxidant, 200-400 milligrams of squalene, a constituent of amaranth, has been used daily. To enhance immune function, 600 milligrams of squalene has been used daily. A daily dose of 18 milligrams of amaranth oil has been used for 3 weeks for heart disease. For night vision, a daily dose of 850 micrograms retinol equivalents in the form of amaranth leaves has been used in pregnant women for 6 days per week for 6 weeks.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for amaranth in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with allergy or sensitivity to amaranth.
Side Effects and Warnings
There is limited evidence of amaranth's adverse effects. Amaranth may contain high levels of cadmium, nitrates, antitrypsin proteins, and heat-labile factors, which may affect the nervous system. In addition, amaranth grown in nitrogen-rich soil may cause health problems. Amaranth should be used cautiously in those with kidney disorders due to its high oxalate content.
Amaranth may decrease serotonin levels. Amaranth may increase or decrease immune function and should be used with caution in patients with immune disorders or in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect the immune system.
Amaranth may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Amaranth may lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients with low blood pressure or in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood pressure. Blood pressure may need to be monitored, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Amaranth is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Amaranth may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or injection should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Amaranth may lower blood pressure. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood pressure. Blood pressure may need to be monitored, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Amaranth may interact with antihistamines, agents that affect the immune system, agents that have effects in the eye, and agents that affect the kidney, and may add to the effects of lipid-lowering drugs.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Amaranth may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood sugar levels should be monitored closely and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Amaranth may lower blood pressure. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood pressure. Blood pressure may need to be monitored, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Amaranth may interact with antihistamines, probiotics, agents that affect the immune system, agents that have effects in the eye, and agents that affect the kidney. Amaranth may add to the effects of lipid-lowering, fiber-containing, and mineral supplements.
Amaranth may affect the levels of amino acid-containing supplements and some essential fatty acids.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Chaturvedi A, Sarojini G, Nirmala G, et al. Glycemic index of grain amaranth, wheat and rice in NIDDM subjects. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1997;50(2):171-178. View Abstract
Berger A, Gremaud G, Baumgartner M, et al. Cholesterol-lowering properties of amaranth grain and oil in hamsters. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2003;73(1):39-47. View Abstract
Carlson BC, Jansson AM, Larsson A, et al. The endogenous adjuvant squalene can induce a chronic T-cell-mediated arthritis in rats. Am J Pathol. 2000;156(6):2057-2065. View Abstract
Culpepper S, Grey T, Vencill W, et al. Glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) confirmed in Georgia. Weed Science 2008;620-626.
Gonor KV, Pogozheva AV, Kulakova SN, et al. [The influence of diet with including amaranth oil on lipid metabolism in patients with ischemic heart disease and hyperlipoproteidemia]. Vopr Pitan. 2006;75(3):17-21. View Abstract
Haskell MJ, Pandey P, Graham JM, et al. Recovery from impaired dark adaptation in nightblind pregnant Nepali women who receive small daily doses of vitamin A as amaranth leaves, carrots, goat liver, vitamin A-fortified rice, or retinyl palmitate. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(2):461-471. View Abstract
Kim HK, Kim MJ, Cho HY, et al. Antioxidative and anti-diabetic effects of amaranth (Amaranthus esculantus) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Cell Biochem Funct. 2006;24(3):195-199. View Abstract
Kim HK, Kim MJ, Shin DH. Improvement of lipid profile by amaranth (Amaranthus esculantus) supplementation in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Ann Nutr Metab 2006;50(3):277-281. View Abstract
Maier S, Turner N, Lupton J. Serum Lipids in Hypercholesterolemic men and women consuming oat bran and amaranth products. Cereal Chemistry 2000;77(3):297-302.
Martirosyan DM, Miroshnichenko LA, Kulakova SN, et al. Amaranth oil application for coronary heart disease and hypertension. Lipids Health Dis. 2007;6:1. View Abstract
Negi PS, Roy SK. Changes in beta-carotene and ascorbic acid content of fresh amaranth and fenugreek leaves during storage by low cost technique. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2003;58(3):225-230. View Abstract
Punita A, Chaturvedi A. Effect of feeding crude red palm oil (Elaeis guineensis) and grain amaranth (Amaranthus paniculatus) to hens on total lipids, cholesterol, PUFA levels and acceptability of eggs. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2000;55(2):147-157. View Abstract
Reyes FG, Valim MF, Vercesi AE. Effect of organic synthetic food colours on mitochondrial respiration. Food Addit Contam 1996;13(1):5-11. View Abstract
Shin DH, Heo HJ, Lee YJ, et al. Amaranth squalene reduces serum and liver lipid levels in rats fed a cholesterol diet. Br J Biomed Sci. 2004;61(1):11-14. View Abstract
Shukla S, Bhargava A, Chatterjee A, et al. Mineral profile and variability in vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor). Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2006;61(1):23-28. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017