Amaranthus caudatus is a species of annual flowering plant. It goes by common names such as love-lies-bleeding, pendant amaranth, tassel flower, velvet flower, foxtail amaranth, and quilete. Many parts of the plants, including the leaves and seeds, are edible, and are frequently used as a source of food in India and South America — where it is the most important Andean species of Amaranthus, known as Kwacha.
Amaranthus grain contains a high level of protein, between 16%-18%, much more than the cereals of the Poaceae family. On the other hand the protein found in Amaranthus is one of the most balanced known and this fact alone is sufficient to consider the Amaranthus as one of the most promising plants for the nutrition of mankind. The protein in Amaranthus reaches a value of 75, corn reaches a value of 44, wheat a value of 60, Soya a value of 68 and cows milk a value of 72. Amaranthus contains twice as much lysine as wheat and 3 times as much as corn. As well as its protein, Amaranthus grain contains a lot of calcium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin E and vitamin B. It is having high content of beta-carotene (about 15 mg/100 g), ascorbic acid, Vitamin C and folate, may prove efficient antioxidants.
It is much eaten on fast days in cakes made from the flour of the parched grain. The grain is also parched or rolled on a popper and made into ladoos. Similarly the Mayas and Aztecs of old used to pop the seeds that they then mix with honey in order to make delicious pastries called “laddoos”.