Have you ever tasted any other type of potato apart from Sweet potato and Irish potato? Did you even know there’s another variety of potato apart from those two??
Well, there’s another on commonly known as native potatoes, living spring potatoes, Hausa potato, and Chinese potato. Despite its name having “potato” in it, it’s not a potato relative or a potato, nor are they related to tubers (yams, cassava).
African Native potatoes are members of the mint family.
They are the only mints producing human food below ground.
There are two main types of African native potatoes: The Solenostemon rotundifolius, which is of west African origin, and the Plectranthus esculentus, which is from South & East African origin.
S. Roundifolius is small, oval-shaped, and sweeter. At the same time, P. Esculentus is longer and thinner like fingers.
S. Roundifolius; Hausa potato, Sudan potato, Zulu round potato, Chinese potato, fabourama, koorka, and fra fra potato.
P. Esculentus; Livingstone potato, and Madagascar potato
- Afrikaans: Wilde aartappel.
- Burkina Faso: Fabourama.
- Ghana: Fra Fra potato, Pessa.
- Chad: Ngaboyo.
- Sudan: Fa – birama.
- Nigeria: Saluga, Tumuku, Rizga.
- Malaysia: Kembili, Ubi kembili.
- Ndebele: Umbondiwe.
- Sri Lanka: Innala, Ratala.
- Malawi: Buye, nyumbu, njowe.
- Tswana: Umbondive.
Uses and Health Benefits
African native potatoes are rich in calcium, vitamin A ( in the form of Beta carotene), iron, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, protein, and energy. The potatoes can be boiled or roasted and eaten like sweet potatoes; the Hausa potato can be eaten raw. The leaves can also be eaten as a vegetable.
The Livingstone potato is an aromatic herb that affects heart contractions and blood clotting. It also lowers blood pressure.
The Hausa potato has a cytotoxic and anti-tumor promoting activity, which can be used to treat cancer.
In Ghana, dysentery is treated with Native potatoes. The leaves are boiled, and drank or groundnut paste added to it to make a meal for the sick person. The potatoes are also cooked with the peel, filtered and drank at intervals of help with diarrhea or dysentery. This not only stops dysentery, but it also energizes the person.
The leaf is used to treat a wide range of digestive issues including, bloating and abdominal discomfort.
African native potato has an antispasmodic action, making it valuable in treating respiratory complaints, including asthma and bronchitis.
The leaves have a strong camphoraceous aroma and are used as a body rub to cleanse, deodorize the skin, and treat skin conditions.
Like all medicines, one needs to take the right quantities, so it is advisable to take it in moderation.