Origin: The potato is one of some 150 tuber-bearing species of the genus Solanum. The earliest archaeologically verified potato tuber remains have been found at the coastal site of Ancon (central Peru), dating to 2500 BC.
Potatoes are believed to have been individually domesticated many times and were largely cultivated in South America by the Incas around 1,800 years ago. Around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C., the Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes. Confronted by the invading Spaniards, potatoes were introduced into Europe during the second half of the 16th century.
By the end of the 17th century, the plant was a prime crop in Ireland. It turned out as a major crop in continental Europe, particularly Germany, and in the west of England by the end of the 17th century.
In 1621, Governor of Bermuda, Nathaniel Butler, sent two large cedar chests containing potatoes to Governor Francis Wyatt of Virginia at Jamestown. It was then that potatoes arrived in the Colonies.
During the first four decades of the 19th century, it continued to spread, in both Western and Eastern hemispheres, and the economy of Ireland became dependent upon the potato. During the 20th century, the potato was accepted across the entire world as one of the most beloved and produced food sources.
In the 18th century, King Louis XIV was helped by A. Parmentier to ensure potatoes gained popularity in France. To obtain the same, Parmentier created a feast using only potato dishes.
Scientifically: Potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals that are highly beneficial for human health. It is also a good source of antioxidants that reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Potatoes are packed with Vitamins A, C, D, E, B12, B6, and K. It also contains Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Choline, Betaine, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium, and Fluoride.
Potatoes have resistant starch that reduces insulin resistance. In return, this can improve blood sugar control. Resistant starch present in potatoes is a source of nutrition for beneficial gut bacteria.
They convert it into the short-chain of fatty acid butyrate linked to reduced inflammation in the colon, improved colon defenses and decreases the risk of colorectal cancer.
Potatoes are gluten-free making them a good food choice for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Studies have depicted that potatoes are among the most filling food items. It is greatly beneficial to the skin. Acne and other skin conditions such as dark spots, marks, and blemishes are cured using potato.
It addresses the problem of inflammation that is born from bruises, rashes, and ulcers. The problem of puffy eyes is also solved with this vegetable. In addition, it delays the signs of aging as it is blessed with antioxidants that guard the skin against environmental damage caused by pollution and exposure to the sun.
A simple homemade potato hair tonic does wonders for your hair preventing and treating premature graying.
Usage: Potatoes are the main ingredient of most of the dishes made across the globe. There is potato salad, potato chips, boiled potatoes, baked potatoes, French-fried potatoes, roasted potatoes, potato pancakes and what not.
Apart from the food, potatoes are also used for making vodka (alcohol). They are also used as fodder for livestock. Indian scientists have suggested that potato skins along with honey are a remedy for burns. Burn centers of India have experimented with the use of the thin outer skin layer of potato to protect burns while healing.
Below are some DIY with Potato:
- To make an anti-darkening scrub, combine equal portions of rock salt, lemon juice, and potato juice. Mix well and gently scrub your face with the same.
- Boil potato peels in water. After boiling, strain the water into a small container. Rinse your hair with this water post-shampoo.
- Take a raw potato. Peel and cut it into large even slices. Place these slices on the dark circle for 20 minutes. This remedy helps in reducing the dark circle.
- Peel and grate a potato and apply this on your face. Leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse later. This helps in eliminating dark spots.
- Use cold potato slices on burnt affected areas of the skin to soothe it.
- Grate a raw potato and add a teaspoon of yogurt to it. Mix well and apply on the face. Rinse after 15 minutes. This ensures that the skin is well moisturized.
- Boil potato peels in a pan of water. Strain and chill the water once boiled. Use this as a hair rinse after shampoo. This hair rinse prevents premature graying of the hair.