Globe amaranth is a beautiful plant that produces big, colourful blooms. It is native to Central America and grown all over the world, with a small percentage of those crops turned into tea. It is often sold as a blooming tea, either by itself or in combination with other flowering plants. The goal of these teas is not to provide something with strong flavours and a host of health benefits, but to provide something that looks great while it brews and creates a mild, fresh, and fragrant drink.
Health Benefits of Globe Amaranth Tea
Globe amaranth tea has a number of purported health benefits. The problem is, there is very little science to back them up. It’s not that the science is contradictory, as is the case with soursop tea, or that it’s entirely made up, as seems to be the case with countless weight-loss products hitting the market in recent years. There have just been no interesting studies conducted on the benefits of this tea, which means that everything you read is either the result of anecdotal evidence, clever marketing, or obscure studies.
Some information does exist, though. For instance, one study suggested globe amaranth could be a useful source of a unique type of antioxidant known as “betacynanins”. These are red/purple pigments found in many red/purple plants. They are responsible for giving beetroots their colour (the name is actually derived from the Latin for “beetroot”) but are mostly present in the flowers of plants.
There may be some health benefits to these compounds, but right now their primary use is as a food colouring.
Globe Amaranth Tea in Traditional Medicine
Globe amaranth has been used, and in some cases still is used, in Caribbean folk medicine. It is said to provide relief for many respiratory conditions and is often given to babies as a remedy for whooping cough. It has been used in this manner throughout the Caribbean for at least 150 years, and there is also evidence to suggest that its use for respiratory conditions dates back further in other cultures.
Modern medicine has yet to truly explore globe amaranth or its compounds, but early research into betacynanins suggests there may be some benefits. And as we have discovered many times in the past, whenever there is a long history of use in traditional medicine, there is usually some actual evidence just waiting to be discovered. Such was the case with Greek mountain tea, which was considered a cure-all by the Greeks for hundreds of years and has recently been linked to a host of amazing health benefits, and even the hot toddy, which may provide some temporary relief from congestion, just like your grandma always promised.
How to Make Globe Amaranth Tea
You can make this flowering tea with fresh flowers or with dried flowers. If you’re using the former, you may want to crush the flowers to get the desired “bloom” and to help release those oils. If there is something to the claimed health benefits, then you’ll want as many of those oils as possible, as that’s where you’ll find the main concentration of antioxidants.
Use the flowers, not the root, and enjoy it on its own or with another blend. If you’re using fresh flowers, we recommend starting with a few small flowers and then working your way up from there after you have assessed tolerance and taste. If you have a dried mix, then you should find detailed instructions on how to brew it on the packet. We don’t sell globe amaranth tea here on Shelgo Tea, and we have no plans to sell it in the future, so we can’t help there.
If you have flowers of your own to use, wash them first just to clear any debris and unsavoury contaminants, and if you want to keep them for an extended time, then dry them. You can do this simply by hanging them in a cool and dry place—you don’t need to cook or dehydrate them if you don’t have the tools or the knowledge to do so.
Is Globe Amaranth Safe?
The flowers of globe amaranth are edible and safe, and they are also said to produce a fresh, subtle flavour. If you are allergic to any plants in this family, you should give it a miss, and if you are on any medication, then you should also consult your doctor before consuming globe amaranth tea. There don’t seem to be many contraindications to worry about, but this tea has not undergone as much testing as other teas have and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding then you should also stay clear. Again, it’s more about erring on the side of caution than anything else, but there is also an increased risk of uterine contractions with some herbal teas.
Herbal teas have their own unique flavours and it’s hard to compare them. It’s the same story with blooming teas. They may look similar and be purchased for the same purpose, but they all have their own unique flavour profiles. This is great news for anyone who likes experimenting and wants to try creating their own recipes. The trick with blooming teas is to find a combination that tastes great but also looks great—and to make sure you bring them all together in a teapot in whole flower form.
If you’re buying blooming tea blends, avoid anything that’s too vague about its contents. If a manufacturer is trying to sell you “blooming tea” and isn’t forthcoming about what the actual blooms are, it’s probably because they’re not using quality ingredients and are focusing purely on the aesthetic.
To make it yourself, look for the following:
- Jasmine Tea: One of the best blooming teas is jasmine pearl tea. The jasmine flowers and green tea leaves are wrapped tightly into balls and, when dropped in hot water, they slowly unfurl. Learn more about jasmine tea here.
- Chrysanthemum: Another beautiful flower that has a light flavour but looks fantastic in a tea.
- Hibiscus: Probably the most popular type of blooming tea, hibiscus may also be the healthiest. And unlike globe amaranth, there are a lot of studies to back up these health claims.
- Camomile: The flowers are little, but they make for a great addition to any blooming tea blend and they also taste great. We added camomile to our CatNap blend for this very reason, but we also sell it in loose flower form (and it’s all organic!).