The mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum, see below for other names) is a perennial plant grown in the Andes for its edible tuber, which is eaten as a root vegetable. It is a major food source there. The tuber is rather peppery in flavor when raw, but this quality disappears when cooked. It is related to garden nasturtiums, being of the Tropaeolum genus, not to be confused with the genus Nasturtium.
- Mascho (Peru)
- Añu (in Peru and Bolivia)
- Cubio (in Colombia)
- Tuberous Nasturtium
The plant grows vigorously even in marginal soils and in the presence of weeds. It is also well-adapted to high-altitude subsistence agriculture, and gives high yields; 30 tonnes per hectare are yielded at a height of 3000 metres, but up to 70 tons per hectare have been produced under research conditions.
Mashua as a food
Popularization of mashua may be limited by its strong flavor, and its reputation as an anaphrodisiac.
Mashua has putative anaphrodisiac effects. It has been recorded by the Spanish chronicler Cobo that mashua was fed to their armies by the Inca Emperors, "that they should forget their wives". Studies of male rats fed on mashua tubers have shown a 45% drop in testosterone levels.
- 10 perennial veggies to grow, San Francisco Gate
- Peace Diaries Workspace
- Mashua Ethnobotanical Leaflet, Southern Illinois University
- Johns, T; Kitts, WD; Newsome, F; Towers, GH (1982). "Anti-reproductive and other medicinal effects of Tropaeolum tuberosum". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 5 (2): 149 –161. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(82)90040-X. PMID 7057655. http://ac.els-cdn.com/037887418290040X/1-s2.0-037887418290040X-main.pdf?_tid=c19b3b82-21cb-11e2-b669-00000aab0f26&acdnat=1351517158_918954a694d38e9b7f9fc40c96abcee5.
- Lost Crops of the Incas: Little-Known Plants of the Andes with Promise for Worldwide Cultivation, National Academies Press
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