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Amaranth brings tidings of comfort and joy to depressives

29 December 2014

On nearly any busy street corner or bus stop in Mexico, you’ll find people selling amaranth and honey bars… a traditional snack food that goes back to pre-Conquest Mexico, and known as “alagría” (“joy”). I like ‘em, and always feel good when I eat one, but always thought it was just they taste so darn good. It’s more than that.

“Words often hide a wisdom revealed to whoever is willing to see what is behind them,” said Manuel Soriano Garcia, a research scientist at UNAM’s Instituto de Química. Soriano has been studying the chemical properties of amaranth, which – while not providing instant joy  – has proven useful in treating depression at trials conducted at the National Institutes of Neurology and Psychiatry.

indexAmaranthus hypochondriacus, the naturally occurring tryptophan in Amaranth “won’t make you jump up and dance, but it has proven useful when a person’s mood sinks and helps them get out of their depression as quickly as possible,” he said, holding out the possibility of creating pharmaceutical quality amaranth capsules as an alternative to medications like Prozac.

“Commercial antidepressants work by saturation, meaning six weeks must elapse before the patient sees any improvement, and even then may suffer from side effects.

“In contrast, we lay hold of a plant eaten by our ancestors for thousands of years, which has an almost immediate effect and, most importantly, without the ravages that accompany chemical treatments” said Soriano.


(Adiós a la depresión con el amaranto, La Silla Rota, 23 December 2014)



One Comment leave one →
  1. 29 December 2014 6:06 pm

    It’s true!! I consume a small a mount of amaranto every morning – and I have no aches, no pains, no meds. And I climbed Tecate peak!

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