Natural home remedies: potatoes
HOw to use the simple potato to relieve stomach upsets, wounds and inflammations.
The potato is native to South America and was transported to Europe in the mid-1500’s by Spanish sailors. It wasn’t until the 1800’s however that the potato became a staple food in Europe where it gained popularity for its nutritional benefits. Today there are more than 100 potato varieties. They come in many sizes, shapes and colors (yellow, white, red and even blue). Despite the physical differences, all varieties of the potato offer similar health benefits.
The components of potatoes consist of a high complex of carbohydrates, fiber and proteins. Included also are vitamin A, B-complex, and C; copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin and potassium. The skin is high in nutrients, and if possible the skin should be eaten or if not, peel as close to skin surface as possible to maintain the nutrients that cling closer to the skins
The potato is a member of the nightshade family, and does contain very small quanities 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 used externally for muscle pains and skin problems.
One of the therapeutic effects of potatoes come from the alkaline juices that can neutralize the stomach acids and relieve stomach upsets. Another is also to make potato water that will cleanse intestines and reduce the amount of acid in the gastointestinal system. To make the water you wash and dice a large potato. Steep it overnight in one cup of water to which you add a pinch of sea salt. Strain and drink the water every morning on an empty stomach.Potatoes are also used for inflammation and for pain relief. Use of the potato wrap has a 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 this 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 the sack if too hot. Attach the sack tightly to the body with a woolen blanket. Remove the sack only after it has cooled down completely. On the flip side, raw potatoes have a very cooling effect. Raw potato slices bring fast relief from swelling and itching caused by contact dermatitis and insect bites. The slices are also effective for bruises and sties. For this effect, peel and slice a potato and apply the slice to the affected skin until the potato warms up. For slow healing inflammations and wounds, grate three raw potatoes and moisten them with milk. Wrap then in a linen cloth and apply to the affected area.When storing potatoes there are a few tips to remember. Discard any potatoes that have excessive soft or sprouts. Look for any green spots or small sprouts and before cooking; peel this thoroughly. Mature potatoes may be stored up to two months, new potatoes can be stored for one week. Remember to use skins as much as possible to maintain all nutrients, and if not, to peel as closely to skin as can.