Blessed with vivid colors and showy flowers, celosia is a favorite among gardeners seeking ornamentals that rate high in eye appeal. To the cook and the practitioner of folk medicine, this member of the amaranth family is also reliable in the kitchen as a nutritious food and in the clinic as a balm that soothes numerous ailments. In 1987 this charming plant appeared on a postage stamp in North Korea.
What does it do?
Celosia has long been celebrated in two key areas: improving vision and curtailing various types of bleeding. Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries, celosia works its magic in cases of retinal degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, blurred vision, cataracts and bloodshot eyes. This impressive botanical is also used to treat uterine bleeding, bloody stool and bleeding hemorrhoids. Indeed, every part of the celosia plant occupies a valued niche in the world of natural healing. The flowers bring diarrhea under control while the leaves are used as dressings for boils and sores. The seeds ease stresses centered within the chest, and they are also rendered into poultices applied to broken bones. The leaves and the young shoots can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. In this capacity, celosia has been hailed as the easiest vegetable to cultivate, as it requires nothing other than planting and harvesting. No special equipment, no fertilizer, no preserving. It has been eaten with gusto in various parts of Africa for centuries.
About the herb
Its general (genus) name derived from the Greek term (kelos) for “burned,” celosia includes a species (celosia spicata) featuring a flower that resembles a flame in both shape and in color. As there are several species of celosia, there are also differences in appearance. One flower (celosia cristata) is referred to as cockscomb as it brings to mind the crest of a rooster’s head.
Add a cup of boiled water to 1 or 2 teaspoons of celosia seeds and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and drink one to three cups daily to address problems of vision or chest complaints. Steam the fresh leaves and tender young stems to be included with your favorite dish!