Herb: Rough Pigweed

Latin name: Amaranthus hybridus

Synonyms: Amaranthus chlorostachys

Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth Family, Pigweed Family)

Medicinal use of Rough Pigweed:

A tea made from the leaves is astringent. It is used in the treatment of intestinal bleeding, diarrhoea, excessive menstruation etc.

Description of the plant:


90 cm
(2 feet)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Of uncertain origin, it grows wild in cultivated fields and waste places.

Edible parts of Rough Pigweed:

Leaves and young seedlings - cooked as a spinach, added to soups etc or eaten raw. The nutritious leaves have a mild flavour. Seed - raw or cooked. Used as a cereal substitute, the seed is usually ground into a flour for use in porridges, bread etc. It is rather 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 seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated.

Other uses of the herb:

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

Propagation of Rough Pigweed:

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:

Of uncertain origin, it grows wild in cultivated fields and waste places.

Known hazards of Amaranthus hybridus:

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.