Native to South America, the potato was transported to Europe in the mid-1500s by Spanish sailors. Not until the 1800s, however, did this food becomes a staple in Europe, and it quickly gained popularity in many other cultures as well because of its nutritional benefits. As a member of the nightshade family-which also includes eggplants and tomatoes-potatoes contain very small quantities of atropine. This substance is deadly in large amounts, but in small doses it has antispasmodic effects, making potatoes useful for easing gastrointestinal pain and cramping. Potatoes can also be applied externally for muscle pain and skin problems. The more than 100 potato varieties come in many sizes, shapes and colors (yellow, white and blue, for example). Despite their physical differences, all varieties of potato offer similar health benefits.
Storage and use
New potatoes, with their thin skins, can be stored for up to a week. Mature potatoes, which have thick skins, last 2 months in a cool, dry place. Before cooking, pare away any sprouts or green spots; these are signs of the development of solanine, which is toxic if ingested in large amounts. Discard potatoes that are excessively soft or sprouted. Cook all types of potatoes in their skins to preserve nut5rients.
The alkaline juice of the potato neutralizes stomach acid and relieves upset stomach, heartburn and even peptic ulcers. Warm potatoes applied externally help alleviate joint and muscle pain and improve circulation. Raw potatoes reduce itching and skins inflammation.
Potatoes are very nutritious, supplying complex carbohydrates, fiber and protein; vitamins A, B-complex and C; and copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin and potassium. When it is possible, eat the nutrient-rich skin. If you do not like it, peel the skin thinly, because many nutrients are concentrated just beneath it.
To promote healthy intestines
Drinking potatoes water can help cleanse your intestines and reduce the amount of acid in the gastrointestinal system. To prepare it, wash and dice a large potato. Steep it overnight in 1 cup of water to which you've added a pinch of sea salt, strain and drink the water every morning on an empty stomach. Repeat for several weeks.
To eliminates toxins from the body
A two-day diet of nothing but potatoes is sometimes recommended to flush excess fluid, and the toxins and waste products that fluid may contain, from the body and help purify the blood. Simultaneously, the alkaline substances in the potato bind to uric-acid deposits and remove them from the body, thus relieving gout and arthritis. Eat one large, plain baked potato with the skin five times a day for two days. Drink plenty of water.
To improve liver function
A tea made from potato skin can relieve gall bladder problems, thereby enhancing the liver's ability to clear waste products and toxins from the body. To prepare, peel a large potato and boil the skin in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Strain and drink the brew.
Used to treat gastrointestinal complaints, arthritis, wounds, skin inflammations, tense muscle and general pain especially in the joints, back and abdomen
Method of administration
A potato wrap for pain relief
The potato wrap has long history as a folk remedy for all types of muscle and bone pain. Potatoes retain heat for long periods of time, allowing the warmth to penetrate deep into the tissues. To make the wrap, boil 1 lb. of potatoes in their skins until tender. Place them in a linen sack and mash them. Apply the sack to the affected area, placing a towel underneath tightly to your body with a woollen blanket. Remove the only after it has cooled down completely.
Raw potatoes for inflammation
The cooling effect of raw potato slices brings fast relief from swelling (and itching) caused by contact dermatitis and insect bites. The slices are also effective for bruises as well as sties that occur on the eyelids. Peel and slice a potato and apply a slice to the affected skin until the potato warms up. Repeat as necessary.
Potato juice for heartburn
Potato juice helps reduce stomach acid and heal gastrointestinal inflammation because it contains compounds that coat the lining of the stomach. Use a juicer to extract the juice from 1-2 large potatoes (with the skins). Take 3-4 tbsp. of juice half an hour before meals. If you do not like the taste of potato juice when taken straight, mix it with another vegetable juice (such as carrot or beet) or add it to soup.