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Did you know that Green Pigweed is found growing wild on Gozo and are rich in calcium and iron?
Author of, Weeds For Health On Gozo, Heléna Szöllősy shares everything you need to know about the wild plants that make up Gozo’s unique and diverse flora. Enjoy learning about the healing benefits and many usages of Green Pigweed which grows on Gozo from May to December.
Botanical Name: Amaranthus viridis - L. Synonyms: Amaranthus gracilis Family Name: Amaranthaceae Maltese Name: Denb id-dib aħdar Common Names: African spinach, Calalu, Green amaranth, Green pigweed, Kolitis, Rough pigweed, Slender amaranth, Wild amaranth Meaning of the Name: Amaranthus from Greek amarantos αμαραντοϛ, ’unfading,’ a never fading flower, referring to the long-lasting flowers, viridis, green.
Green Pigweed is an annual that flowers from May to December on Gozo.
- Habitats: A cosmopolitan weed growing on waste ground and roadsides.
- Range: Temperate and Tropical zones. Found in all warm countries. Probably originated in America
- Status for Malta: Not native, introduced in the last 500 years from foreign countries and now naturalized throughout the Maltese islands. Very common in the wild.
- Parts Used: leaves, root, seed.
- Herbal Actions: Analgesic, Anti-arthritic, Antiemetic, Anthelmintic, Antihyperglycemic, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antinociceptive, Antioxidant, Antipyretic, Antiulcer, Antiviral, Cardioprotective, Cytotoxic, Diuretic, Febrifuge, Hepatoprotective, Hypolipidemic, Laxative, Purgative
- Main Active Constituents: amino acids (arginine, histidine, lysine, methionine, cystine, phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine), fatty acids (linoleic and α-linolenic), flavonoids (rutin, quercetin), minerals (calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc), oxalic acid, resin, saponins, sterols (spinosterol), steroidal component (amasterol), sugars, tannin, vitamin B group, vitamin C
- Traditionally it was used for constipation, inflammation, eczema, bronchitis, anemia, and leprosy.
- The plant is cooling, alexiteric, laxative, stomachic, appetizer, and antipyretic; used in burning sensations, hallucination, bronchitis, piles, and leucorrhoea.
- A decoction of the entire plant is used to stop dysentery and inflammation.
- The plant is emollient and vermifuge.
- Infusion of plant has been used as a diuretic and galactagogue.
- Studies have suggested antimicrobial, antioxidant, antipyretic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anthelmintic, cardioprotective, anti-diabetic, hypolipidemic, and wound healing properties.
- The leaves are used as an emollient. A poultice of leaves was used for inflammations, boils, and abscesses. It is used also for acne and for skin cleansing. Philippine Negritos apply bruised leaves directly to eczema, psoriasis, and rashes.
- In India, the stem is used as an antidote for snake bites.
- Leaves were used for scorpion stings. The leaf sap is used as an eye wash to treat eye infections.
- The tops are rich in calcium and iron. The plant is a good source of vitamins B and C.
- The study found it to be an excellent source of protein.
- Leaves – cooked as spinach. They have a mild flavour. The leafy stems and flower clusters are similarly used.
- Seed – cooked. The seeds are exceedingly small but easy to harvest and very nutritious. The seed can be cooked whole and becomes very gelatinous like this, but it is rather difficult to crush all of the small seeds in the mouth and thus some of the seeds will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated. The seed contains 14 – 16% protein and 4.7 – 7% fat.
- Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant.
- The ash of the plants is rich in potash and is occasionally used to make soap.
- No members of this genus are known to be poisonous, but when grown on nitrogen-rich soils they are known to concentrate nitrates in the leaves. Nitrates are implicated in stomach cancers, blue babies, and some other health problems. It is inadvisable, therefore, to eat this plant if it is grown inorganically.
Make This! Fried Green Pigweed
- Green Amaranth
- Chopped Garlic
- Cooking Oil
- Dash of salt
- Heat up oil, and sauté garlic until fragrant.
- Add in Green Pigweed and cover about 3 minutes.
- Remove cover, stir well, add in a dash of salt, and stir well.
- Dish up and serve.
Author : Heléna Szöllősy. Editor: GITH
Helena is an expert on the medicinal properties of plants having trained in Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy, specialising in Phytotherapy including Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Apitherapy and Bach Flower Therapy.
Information on the traditional uses and properties of herbs is provided in this book for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace professional medical care. If you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your healthcare practitioner before self-administering herbs. Please also undertake your own research when foraging. Some wild plants are endangered and are protected by law.