Amaranthus spinosus: Antidepressant Herb

Amaranthus spinosus, commonly called spiny amaranth, spiny pigweed or thorny amaranth, is a plant that belongs to the Amaranthaceae family. The plant grows native to the tropics and is considered a weed. However, the plant is consumed as a food and is thought to have medicinal effects, which may include effects on the central nervous system. For example, in one study, extracts of Amaranthus spinosus were administered to rats and then the rats were subjected to experimental stress. The results of the study showed that the Amaranthus spinosus extracts were significantly able to attenuate the depressive-like effects of the stress. Phytochemical analysis of Amaranthus spinosus revealed the presence of flavonoids, saponins, glycosides, terpenoids, amino acids, alkaloids, carbohydrates, phenolic compounds and proteins. No toxic effects were noted by the researchers on the animals. Therefore Amaranthus spinosus appears to be rich in phytochemical nutrients that may explain its mood elevating effects. 

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Kumar, B. A., Lakshman, K., Velmurugan, C., Sridhar, S. M. and Gopisetty, S. 2014. Antidepressant activity of methanolic extract of Amaranthus spinosus. Basic and Clinical Neuroscience. 5(1): 11

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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