Herb: Love Lies Bleeding

Latin name: Amaranthus caudatus

Synonyms: Amaranthus edulis, Amaranthus leucocarpus, Amaranthus mantegazzianus

Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth Family, Pigweed Family)

Medicinal use of Love Lies Bleeding:

The plant is astringent, anthelmintic and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of stranguary and is applied externally to scrofulous sores.

Description of the plant:


2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

A weed of cultivated ground.

Edible parts of Love Lies Bleeding:

Leaves - raw or cooked as a spinach or added to soups etc. The mild flavoured leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals. Seed - cooked. Very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious, individual plants can bear up to 100, 000 seeds. It is eaten cooked or ground into a powder and used in baking. The seed can also be popped in much the same way as popcorn. 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 seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated. The seed is very nutritious and contains 13 - 18% of a very high quality protein that is rich in the amino acid lysine. It also contains good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin E and the vitamin B complex. A red food colouring called "betalaina" is obtained from red cultivars.

Other uses of the herb:

Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant.

Propagation of Love Lies Bleeding:

Seed - sow late spring in situ. An earlier sowing can be made in a greenhouse and the plants put out after the last expected frosts. Germination is usually rapid and good if the soil is warm. A drop in temperature overnight aids germination. Cuttings of growing plants root easily.

Cultivation of the herb:

A weed of cultivated ground.

Known hazards of Amaranthus caudatus:

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. This is especially noticeable on land where chemical fertilizers are used. 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.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.