About Mashua Edit
Wikipedia Article About Mashua on Wikipedia
The mashua or añu is a perennial plant grown in the Andes for its edible tuber. It is a major food source there. The tuber is rather peppery in flavor when raw, but this quality disappears when cooked.
The plant is well adapted to high-altitude subsistence agriculture. It grows vigorously even in marginal soils and in the presence of weeds, and gives high yields; the tubers comprise as much as 75 percent of the mature plants by dry weight (40 percent is typical for cereals), and 70 tons per hectare have been produced under research conditions.
Its extraordinary resistance to insect, nematode, and bacterial pests is attributed to high levels of isothiocyanates. In Colombia, it is planted as a companion crop to repel pests in potato fields.
Mashua has also been used to treat nephropathy and as a diuretic.
Popularization of mashua may be limited by its strong flavor, and its reputation as an anti-aphrodisiac. Indeed it been recorded by the Spanish chronicler Cobo that mashua was fed to their armies by the Inca Emperors, "that they should forget their wives"