Family • Amaranthaceae - Amaranthus paniculatus Linn. - RED AMARANTH - Lao ya gu

Scientific names

Amaranthus paniculatus Linn.
Amaranthus cruenthus Linn.
Amaranthus sanguineus Linn.
Amaranthus caudatus Linn.

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Fan xui xian, Tian xue mu, Ye gu, Luo ye gu.
INDIA: Rajgira.
MALAYSIA: Bayam putih.

Common names

Halon (Tag.)
Kadiapa (Tag.)
Kalunai (Ilk.)
Koyapa (C. Bis.)
Kudiapa (Bis.)
Kuliapa (P. Bis.)
Urai (Tag.)
Red amaranth (Engl.)
Lao ya gu (Chin.)


Halon is an erect, stout, branched, unarmed, annual herb, growing to a height of 1 to 2 meters. All parts are usually reddish-purple. Lower leaves are oblong-ovate to ovate-lanceolate, up to 25 centimeters long, 8 centimeters wide, with long petioles. Upper leaves are similar in shape but smaller. Panicled inflorescences are terminal and are borne in the upper axils of the leaves. Panicles are 15 to 30 centimeters long, red, green or yellow. Flowers are numerous, about 1.5 centimeters long. Sepals are oblong to oblong-obovate, apiculate and shorter than the bracts. Utricle is 3-toothed at the apex, circumciss, exceeding the calyx. Seeds are brown or black, shining, about 1 mm in diameter.

In open waste places, at low and medium altitudes, from northern Luzon to Mindanao.
Certainly introduced; sometimes, cultivated.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Radiomodulatory influence of Rajgira (Amaranthus paniculatus) leaf extract in Swiss albino mice / J Maharwal et al / Phytotherapy Research, Volume 17 Issue 10, Pages 1150 – 1154 / DOI: 10.1002/ptr.1340

(2) Amaranth oil application for coronary heart disease and hypertension / Danik M Martirosyan et al / Lipids in Health and Disease 2007, 6:1doi:10.1186/1476-511X-6-1

(3) Effect of Amaranthus cruentus seeds on oxidative status in plasma and selected tissues of rats fed with high doses of fructose / Pawel Pasko, Henryk Barton et al / bashanfoundation.org

(4) Determination and Toxicity of Saponins from Amaranthus cruentus Seeds / Wieslaw Oleszek et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 1999, 47 (9), pp 3685–3687 / DOI: 10.1021/jf990182k

(5) Studies of Methanolic extract of Amaranthus paniculatus L. on Mice Liver against Gamma Radiation / Manish Jain, Rashmi Sisodia and A.L. Bhatia /

(6) Antioxidant Properties of Rajgira (Amaranthus paniculatus) Leaves and Potential Synergy in Chemoprevention / S Sreelatha*, E Dinesh, C Uma / Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 13, 2012

(7) Evaluation of radioprotective effects of Rajgira (Amaranthus paniculatus) extract in Swiss albino mice./ Krishna A, Kumar A. / J Radiat Res. 2005 Jun;46(2):233-9

(8) First case report of anaphylaxis caused by Rajgira seed flour (Amaranthus paniculatus) from India: A clinico-immunologic evaluation / Ramkrashan Kasera, P.V. Niphadkar, Aditya Saran, Chandni Mathur and A.B. Singh / Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol 2013;31:79-83

Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita, Università di Trieste - Progetto Dryades - Picture by Andrea Moro - Comune di San Dorligo/Dolina, località San Lorenzo, nei pressi della chiesetta, ai margini di un piazzale ghiaioso., TS, FVG, Italia, - Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share-Alike 3.0 License

– Contains a high content of beta-carotene, ascorbic acid and folate.
– Oil from Amaranthus cruentus contain 19% palmitic acid, 3.4% stearic acid, 34% oleic acid, 33% linoleic acid, 9% docosaenoic acid.


– Nutritionally, leaves are an excellent source of protein. Plant is a good source of minerals, such as iron, calcium, phosphorus and carotenoids.


Parts used
Leaves, seeds.

Culinary / Nutrition
– In Iran and Iraq, seeds and tender leaves are eaten.
– Leaves considered an excellent source of protein.
– In Southeast Asia, plant is used as a vegetable.

– Decoction of leaves used for chest afflictions
– In traditional and folk medicine, used for respiratory infections, vision defects, tuberculosis, fleshy tumors, liver problems and inflammations.
– In Ayurveda, leaf decoction used for chest afflictions and gastroenteritis; seeds applied to sores. . Seeds and leaves use as astringent for stopping diarrhea, bloody stools, hematuria, and excessive menstruation.
– In India, seeds are used as food and medicinally, as diuretic.
– Also, applied to scrofulous sores.

Study Findings
• Radiomodulatory / Gamma Irradiation: In pretreated irradiated animals the level of GSH was significantly higher but LPO level decreased significantly. Study showed albino mice pretreated with leaf extract provided protection against gamma irradiation in mice.
• Antioxidants and Radioprotection: Study showed mice pretreated with Amaranthus extract was protected against various biochemical changes. Results support the postulate that increased ROS induced by radiation exposure may be involved in some of the aversive effects of stress. Antioxidants in the extract are able to cope with radiation-induced oxidative stress to some extent, and may be due to the synergistic effects of some herb constituents. Study showed Amaranth supplementation provides antioxidative efficacy and benefits in learning performance after ionizing radiation exposure to the brain.
• Radioprotective / Antioxidant Constituents: Methanolic extract of Ap increased survivability in Swiss albino mice against lethal dose of gamma radiation. Radiation induced augmentation in MDA, protein, and glycogen content of liver is significantly ameliorated by amaranth extract, and radiation-induced depletion in glutathione and cholesterol is checked by treatment with AE. Protection may be attributed to synergistic effects of constituents rather than a single factor, as all constituents are well known antioxidants.
• Antioxidant: The ability of A. paniculatus extract to act as a free radical scavenger or hydrogen donor was revealed by DPPH radical-scavenging activity assay. Amaranth seeds, in a dose-dependent manner, can act as a moderate protective agent against fructose-induced changes in rats by reducing lipid peroixidation and by enhancing the antioxidant capacity.
• Saponins / Toxicity Study / Safety: Study concludes that the low content of saponins in amaranth seeds and their relatively low toxicity guarantee that amaranth-derived products create no significant hazard for the consumer.
• Antioxidant / Chemopreventive Potential: Study investigated the antioxidant capacity and possible protective effect of leaves on the antioxidant defense system in Erhlich’s ascites carcinoma-treated mice. The leaf extract showed significant reduction in tumor volume, viable cell count, tumor weight, and increase life span of EAC-bearing mice. There was also improved antioxidant potential. Results suggest significant protection against oxidative stress conditions and a chemopreventive potential that can be exploited for antitumor agents.
• Radioprotective / Leaves / Gamma Radiation: In a study that investigated the radioprotective effect of an aqueous extract of leaves against gamma radiation in Swiss albino mice, results showed a modulation of radiation-induced decrease of reduced glutathione and the radiation-induced increase in lipid peroxidation in the liver and blood.
• Anaphylaxis Report from Rajgira Seed Flour: Clinical and immunological investigation on anaphylaxis after consuming Rajgira seed flour revealed SPT (skin prick tests) and oral challenge positivity beside high allergen specific IgE in the serum of the patient. Three IgE binding protein fractions were detect in roasted flour extract which were considered allergenically important for triggering anaphylaxis.