I just love uncovering ancient beauty and health secrets, mostly because they are natural.
But in my mind there must be something to them since they can be hidden for centuries and suddenly reappear.
I feel like it doesn’t hurt to try them because the secrets, concoctions, herbs, oils or whatever they may be, will be cheaper than the beauty counter at the mall or even the local drugstore.
Plus, there is always something mysterious and exciting about these secrets.
So today I want to tell you about something I recently discovered called amaranth. It’s still pretty unknown to most and originated from the Aztecs 8000 years ago. It was more than just a food for the natives, it was also used as medicine and in religious rituals.
Amaranth is in the category of grains but not like oats, wheat or rice. It’s more like quinoa or buckwheat. It’s a seed actually and can come as an oil. And it’s gluten-free.
Amaranth is also a complete protein that contains lots of vitamins and minerals. And the health benefits are pretty awesome. Here are just a few:
Supports healthy cells and circulation
Lowers blood pressure
Supports heart health
Improves heart rate in athletes and patients with type 2 diabetes
Aids in weight loss
Prevents bone loss and strengthens bones
Contains cancer-preventing peptides
Aids in digestion
Strengthens hair and may prevent baldness
Supports healthy vision and may prevent age-related eye diseases
But I want to get back to the beauty secrets of the oil.
The Aztec women used this oil for shiny, healthy hair. And it wasn’t until many years later, in the 1500s, that the sacred oil was used by Japanese women as a skin rejuvenator.
And they knew what they were doing …
Amaranth contains lipids. And according to the Journal of Cosmetic Science, “These lipids are extremely valuable because of the presence of ingredients like squalene, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E as tocopherols, tocotrienols, and phytosterols, which are not seen together in other common oils. In human skin physiology, squalene is not only used as an antioxidant, moisturizer, and material for topically applied vehicle, but is also used in treating skin disorders like seborrheic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, or atopic dermatitis.”
Amaranth is also a peptide and it’s of the most important ingredient you can add to anti-aging your skin.
Peptides are long-chain amino acids that can penetrate your skin. Peptides create tighter, plumper, smoother skin. And, drum roll please … they stimulate the production of collagen in the skin.
Peptides are the most current breakthrough in anti-aging creams to date but I can’t find any of them out there that contain amaranth oil.
But you can make your own anti-aging, anti-sagging moisturizer or just apply the oil alone.
You may also apply the oil to the area of your hair where you are experiencing hair loss. Apply once a day, every day. A little experimentation may be needed with this one. If you find it oily put it on several hours before you wash your hair or at bedtime.
Here are a few other do it yourself recipes using amaranth oil that I enjoy:
DIY Amaranth Body and Face Lotion :
1/4 cup beeswax
2 tablespoons shea butter or cocoa butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond oil
1 tsp amaranth oil
Add essential oils for scent
Melt beeswax gently over low heat. Add shea or cocoa butter and stir until liquid. Add coconut oil and stir until liquid. Remove from heat, add almond oil quickly and whip with an electric mixer (you want to whip it into a smooth cream before the beeswax solidifies, so be prepared to do this fast). Once it’s cooled somewhat, add amaranth oil and essential oils and mix thoroughly. Start with a few drops of essential oil and add more until it reaches desired strength. Store lotion in a glass jar at room temperature. Use within three months.
Oatmeal Honey Face Scrub with Amaranth :
1/4 cup oatmeal, ground up fine in food processor
2 tbsp raw, organic honey
1 tsp amaranth oil
Combine ingredients in a bowl. Texture will be sticky. If the mixture is too sticky or lumpy, try carefully adding a little more oil or a few drops of water. Apply the scrub to your face and massage it into your skin, especially on any problem areas. Rinse with warm water. Massage a few more drops of amaranth oil into your skin and let it soak in.
Coconut and Amaranth Hair Mask :
¼ cup coconut oil
2 droppers amaranth oil
8-10 drops essential oil of your choice (optional)
In a small dish, combine the ingredients. Start with the coconut oil and drip the other oils on top, then stir them together until smooth and fully combined. Take the mixture into your hands and rub your hands together to distribute the mask, then rub your hands through your hair, spreading the mask from the roots to the ends. Comb through your hair to ensure the mask is equally distributed. Tie or pin your hair up and wrap it in a hot, damp towel. Leave the towel on for 30-60 minutes. Wash and shampoo as usual.
Now I know I gave you a lot of information today.
So to recap – you can eat your amaranth which you’ll find at your local health food stores or Whole Foods. There are lots of recipes available online. Have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack or make a dessert. The possibilities are endless.
You could also grow your own – which I have read is easy because it was once known as pigweed. And, as you know, weeds grow like crazy. Seeds are also available online and the flowers are a pretty purple color.
I predict this A-Mazing little weed will become the next superfood.
But, until then, you and I can enjoy the ancient secret!
To a healthy more beautiful you!
Martirosyan DM, Et. al. Amaranth oil application for coronary heart disease and hypertension. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2007.
Berger A, Et. al. Cholesterol-lowering properties of amaranth grain and oil in hamsters. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. February 2003.
Maldonado-Cervantes E, Et. al. Amaranth lunasin-like peptide internalizes into the cell nucleus and inhibits chemical carcinogen-induced transformation of NIH-3T3 cells. Peptides. 2010.
Yelisyeyeva O., Et. al. Activation of aerobic metabolism by Amaranth oil improves heart rate variability both in athletes and patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Arch Physiol Biochem. May 2012.