Originally harvested in Perú and Chile, potatoes -also known as papas, patatas, or batatas- are members of the Solanaceae family. Highly appreciated for its edible tubers, they are some of the most used contemporary foods in the European and American cuisines.

Potato tubers
Potato Tubers

Low-income people in many countries eat, almost exclusively, potatoes instead of bread, since this tuber is a highly nutritious food. Easy to digest, potatoes play an important role in feeding ill, convalescent people and, of course, children.

Great utility in medicine

In cold regions, potato juice has long been used by Eskimos, polar explorers, navigators, and hunters as medicine, mainly to combat scurvy.

In the regions of temperate or tropical climate, this medical fact is practically unknown by people in general. However, potato juice is very useful for treating excessive acidity in the stomach. And according to some authorities on the matter, it is also good for curing ulcers.

These healing properties are attributed to a substance called solanine, which is rich in vitamins -mostly C- as well as amylase and mucoid. These are substances that protect the stomach.

To prepare potato juice, we recommend using 4 big potatoes, washed carefully and passed through a common kitchen grater. The mass obtained is squeezed through a cloth and the juice is drunk immediately. The normal dose is one tea-sized cup, 3 times a day.

French doctors recommend the consumption of well-cooked potatoes to diabetics, because of the potassium salts they contain. For the same reason, potatoes must be an integral part of the treatment for those who suffer from kidney stones.

Applied topically -that is, raw and grated, in cataplasms- potatoes calm neuralgias and pains caused by minor burns. In turn, when cooked and placed in hot cataplasms, potatoes are good emollient, effective in healing abscesses.

Raw potato is antiscorbutic and a local analgesic. When cooking its leaves, flowers, or fruits is sedative and slightly narcotic for ailments like diarrhea, neuralgia, rheumatic pains, and seizures. If mixed with honey, it is a remedy against rebellious coughs.

Since they have very little albumin, potatoes are suitable for rheumatism and arthritis in general. Fried potatoes should be avoided by those who suffer from constipation.

People who have chilblains, arthritis, and poor blood circulation in the hands, should drink the water of a cut unpeeled potato, and then rubbing the affected parts with a bit of crushed potato mixed with raw garlic, especially at night.

A certain amount of cooked potatoes peeled and cut into pieces, just with onion and a good portion of algae root also minced, is recommended to be taken every half hour on an empty stomach. It is also advisable in cases of nephritis, stones in the bladder, retention of urine, and swollen prostate.

Roasted potatoes with garlic, lemon, and oregano
Roasted potatoes with garlic, lemon, and oregano

Mashed potatoes are a great painkiller for intestinal irritations, as long as they are well-cooked and used until the colitis disappears, within a few hours, especially if they are combined with pomegranate juice.

Contraindications

Eaten in excessive quantity, potatoes can cause blockage of the belly and dilation of the stomach. Because they are very rich in potassium, potatoes should not be abused of by those who have kidneys deficiency, especially in the evening.

Green potatoes and the newly sprouted are very dangerous since they produce intoxications -mainly by colics and gastritis- and even dysentery.

Highly Nutritious Value

Potatoes are important food. Due to the fact that they do not have an accentuated flavor, they are likely to be accompanied by other foods, but their main merit is not in that sense. It is that being relatively rich in calories and not very expensive, they constitute an optimal source of energy.

A good proportion of vitamin C is found in potatoes, as can be seen from the fact that when there was a shortage of that tuber in Ireland, being the base of the diet in that country, there were numerous cases of scurvy as result from a severe lack of vitamins.

Although potatoes have a good dose of iron, we do not know how to take advantage of it, due to the fact of peeling them before cooking.

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