Amaranth is a member of the Grass family and closely related to the grains family. It has a long tall light green shaft often growing between 2 and 7 feet in height. Its leaves are broad and alternate and the flowerhead at the top often resembles bird feathers, these can be either red or magenta. Its name comes from Amaranton which means 'unwithering' as the flower head keeps it shape when it dries out.
Before the Spanish conquest in 1519, amaranth was associated with human sacrifice and the Aztec women made a mixture of ground amaranth seed, honey or human blood then shaped this mixture into idols that were eaten in ceremonies. In Ecuador, the flowers are boiled then the colored boiling water is added to "aquardeinte" rum to create a drink that "purifies the blood," and is also reputed to help regulate the menstrual cycle.
Wearing a wreath of Amaranth flowers on your head is said to speed up healing and the flower is often used in spells to cure broken hearts.Amaranth is sacred to Huitzilopochtli, an Aztec Sun God and is a suitable offering to Artemis and Demeter. It was used in the ancient rituals of Central and South America as part of an offering. The Aztecs saw it as the most sacred grain, sacred even above corn. The dried amaranth flowers have been used to call forth the dead.
An extract of the flowers can be used externally for sores and ulcers and as a mouth wash for sores in the mouth. Amaranth seeds can be used as a grain substitute for someone who is sensitive to grains or looking for a low-carb option. Amaranth leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach. They are very high in iron and vitamin C. If you aren’t into grains or greens, the local wildlife will be, so you can leave it on the stalk and after it dries out, finches and sparrows will have a nice meal of it.
#witch # wednesday # amaranth
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