Botanical: Amaranthum blitum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Amaranthaceae
Amaranthum blitum (Linn.), the wild Amaranth admitted to the list of British plants, is an inconspicuous weed, often mistaken for an Orache or Goosefoot, sometimes found on rubbish-heaps near towns and probably a remnant of ancient cultivation as a pot-herb.
It is an annual, with trailing stems a foot or two in length and more or less oval leaves with long stalks. The numerous green flowers are clustered in the angles between leaf and stem and are unisexual, without petals, both male and female flowers occurring on the same plant.
The female flower develops into a juicy, crimson capsule containing a single seed. The clusters of these fruits have in some localities suggested the name of Strawberry Blite for the plant.
It flowers in August.
In France, its leaves are still eaten in the same way as spinach.
- Culpepper, speaking of the garden Amaranths and especially of the Love-lies-bleeding, which he calls Flower Gentle, Flower Velure, Floramor and Velvet flower, says:
- 'The flowers dried and beaten into powder stops the terms in women, and so do almost all other red things. And by the icon or image of every herb, the ancients at first found out their virtues. Modern writers laugh at them for it- but I wonder how the virtues of herbs came at first to be known, if not by their signatures, the moderns have them from the writings of the ancients; the ancients had no writings to have them from. -The flowers stop all fluxes of blood, whether in man or woman, bleeding either at the nose or wound.'
---Medicinal Uses---In modern herbal medicine, a fluid extract is employed, the dose being 1/2 to 1 drachm and also a decoction taken in wineglassful doses, which is used externally as an application in ulcerated conditions of the throat and mouth and as an injection in leucorrhoea, and as a wash for ulcers, sores, etc. For its astringency it is much recommended in diarrhoea, dysentery and haemorrhages from the bowels.
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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.
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