Potato

Botanical Name :Solanum tuberosum
Family: Solanaceae
Genus:     Solanum
Species: S. tuberosum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Solanales

Common Names:Potato,patata,Bengali name :Alu

Habitat : Origin for potatoes in the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia (from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex), where they were domesticated 7,000–10,000 years ago. Now potato is cultivated throughout the world and is most common and popular vegetable for human.

Description:
Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm (24 in) high, depending on variety, the culms dying back after flowering. They bear white, pink, red, blue, or purple flowers with yellow stamens. In general, the tubers of varieties with white flowers have white skins, while those of varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skins. Potatoes are cross-pollinated mostly by insects, including bumblebees, which carry pollen from other potato plants, but a substantial amount of self-fertilizing occurs as well. Tubers form in response to decreasing day length, although this tendency has been minimized in commercial varieties.

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After potato plants flower, some varieties produce small green fruits that resemble green cherry tomatoes, each containing up to 300 true seeds. Potato fruit contains large amounts of the toxic alkaloid solanine and is therefore unsuitable for consumption. All new potato varieties are grown from seeds, also called “true seed” or “botanical seed” to distinguish it from seed tubers. By finely chopping the fruit and soaking it in water, the seeds separate from the flesh by sinking to the bottom after about a day (the remnants of the fruit float). Any potato variety can also be propagated vegetatively by planting tubers, pieces of tubers, cut to include at least one or two eyes, or also by cuttings, a practice used in greenhouses for the production of healthy seed tubers. Some commercial potato varieties do not produce seeds at all (they bear imperfect flowers) and are propagated only from tuber pieces. Confusingly, these tubers or tuber pieces are called “seed potatoes,” because the potato itself functions as “seed”.

Edible Uses:
Potatoes are prepared in many ways: skin-on or peeled, whole or cut up, with seasonings or without. The only requirement involves cooking to swell the starch granules. Most potato dishes are served hot, but some are first cooked, then served cold, notably potato salad and potato chips/crisps.
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Common dishes are: mashed potatoes, which are first boiled (usually peeled), and then mashed with milk or yogurt and butter; whole baked potatoes; boiled or steamed potatoes; French-fried potatoes or chips; cut into cubes and roasted; scalloped, diced, or sliced and fried (home fries); grated into small thin strips and fried (hash browns); grated and formed into dumplings, Rösti or potato pancakes. Unlike many foods, potatoes can also be easily cooked in a microwave oven and still retain nearly all of their nutritional value, provided they are covered in ventilated plastic wrap to prevent moisture from escaping; this method produces a meal very similar to a steamed potato, while retaining the appearance of a conventionally baked potato. Potato chunks also commonly appear as a stew ingredient.

Potatoes are boiled between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on size and type, to become soft.

Constituents:-–The tuber is composed mainly of starch, which affords animal heat and promotes fatness, but the proportion of muscle-forming food is very small – it is said that 10 1/2 lb. of the tubers are only equal in value to 1 lb. of meat. The raw juice of the Potato contains no alkaloid, the chief ingredient being potash salts, which are present in large quantity. The tuber also contains a certain amount of citric acid – which, like Potash, is antiscorbutic – and phosphoric acid, yielding phosphorus in a quantity less only than that afforded by the apple and by wheat.

It is of paramount importance that the valuable potash salts should be retained by the Potato during cooking. If peeled and then boiled, the tubers lose as much as 33 per cent of potash and 23 per cent of phosphoric acid, and should, therefore, invariably be boiled or steamed with their coats on. Too much stress cannot be laid on this point. Peeled potatoes have lost half their food-value in the water in which they have been boiled.

Medicinal Uses:
Potatoes, of any kind, whether they are raw, boiled, peeled, or mashed all have medicinal and healing properties. Even the water that you used to boil them in can be used. A potato’s skin is rich in fiber, iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium. It even contains your B & C vitamins. When you are cooking potatoes, boil them with the skins still on but washed good. That way you still have the benefits of these needed nutrients.

A potato that happens to have a greenish tinge to it, or that has begun to sprout, may contain a large concentration of solanine. This may affect your nerve impulses, along with causing vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. For your own safety, please stay away from these.

 Warts –— Place a thin slice of raw potato over the wart and cover with a bandage to hold it in place. Leave this on overnight and remove it in the morning when you get up. Repeat this process for a week. If your wart is still present after a week, try substituting garlic for the potato slice.

Freckles — Potato water can fade your summertime freckles. Wet a washrag with some of your potato water and wring out any excess. Place the washrag over your freckles and leave it on for 10 minutes. You can do this daily and in time, you will see those freckles begin to fade.

Indigestion, Stomach Pain, Heartburn –— Drinking raw potato juice will neutralize the acid in your stomach. To get potato juice, grate a potato over a thin towel. Wrap your grated potato in the towel and squeeze it over a cup until all of the liquid is out of the potato. Dilute 1 T of the potato juice in 1/2 cup of warm water and drink slowly. For heartburn, add twice as much warm water as you have of the potato juice and drink this mixture. You can also relieve heartburn by eating a slice of raw potato.

1st Degree Burns — Apply a slice of raw potato, unpeeled, or a slice of onion can be used also, directly over the burn. This will draw out the heat and the pain from the burned area. Leave this on the burned area for 15 minutes. Remove for 5 minutes, and replace with a fresh slice of raw potato for an additional 15 minutes.

Insect Stings — To relieve the pain and swelling from an insect sting, use one of the following for 1/2 hour and then follow with ice on the bite for another 1/2 hour: the juice from a raw potato or an onion, wet salt, or toothpaste.

To carry a raw potato in the pocket was an old-fashioned remedy against rheumatism that modern research has proved to have a scientific basis. Ladies in former times had special bags or pockets made in their dresses in which to carry one or more small raw potatoes for the purpose of avoiding rheumatism if predisposed thereto. Successful experiments in the treatment of rheumatism and gout have in the last few years been made with preparations of raw potato juice. In cases of gout, rheumatism and lumbago the acute pain is much relieved by fomentations of the prepared juice followed by an application of liniment and ointment. Sprains and bruises have also been successfully treated by the Potato-juice preparations, and in cases of synovitis rapid absorption of the fluid has resulted. Although it is not claimed that the treatment in acute gout will cure the constitutional symptoms, local treatment by its means relieves the pain more quickly than other treatment.

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Potato starch is much used for determining the diastatic value of malt extract.

Hot potato water has in years past been a popular remedy for some forms of rheumatism, fomentations to swollen and painful parts, as hot as can be borne, being applied from water in which 1 lb. of unpeeled potatoes, divided into quarters, has been boiled in 2 pints slowly boiled down to 1 pint Another potato remedy for rheumatism was made by cutting up the tubers, infusing them together with the fresh stalks and unripe berries for some hours in cold water, and applying in the form of a cold compress. The potatoes should not be peeled.

Uncooked potatoes, peeled and pounded in a mortar, and applied cold, have been found to make a very soothing plaster to parts that have been scalded or burnt.

The mealy flour of baked potato, mixed with sweet oil, is a very healing application for frost-bites. In Derbyshire, hot boiled potatoes are used for corns.

Boiled with weak sulphuric acid, potato starch is changed into glucose, or grape sugar, which by fermentation yields alcohol this spirit being often sold under the name of British Brandy.

A volatile oil – chemically termed Amylic alcohol, in Germany known as Fuselöl – is distilled by fermentation from potato spirit.

Although young potatoes contain no citric acid, the mature tubers yield enough even for commercial purposes, and ripe potato juice is an excellent cleaner of silks, cottons and woollens.

A fine flour is prepared from the Potato, and more used on the Continent than in this country for cake-making.

click to see :Natural medicinal uses of potato  :

Other uses:

1.Potatoes are used to brew alcoholic beverages such as vodka, potcheen, or akvavit.

2.They are also used as food for domestic animals.

3.Potato starch is used in the food industry as, for example, thickeners and binders of soups and sauces, in the textile industry, as adhesives, and for the manufacturing of papers and boards.

4.Maine companies are exploring the possibilities of using waste potatoes to obtain polylactic acid for use in plastic products; other research projects seek ways to use the starch as a base for biodegradable packaging.

5.Potato skins, along with honey, are a folk remedy for burns in India. Burn centers in India have experimented with the use of the thin outer skin layer to protect burns while healing.

6.Potatoes (mainly Russets) are commonly used in plant research. The consistent parenchyma tissue, the clonal nature of the plant and the low metabolic activity provide a very nice “model tissue” for experimentation. Wound-response studies are often done on potato tuber tissue, as are electron transport experiments. In this respect, potato tuber tissue is similar to Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans and Escherichia coli: they are all “standard” research organisms.

Click to see :>10 Surprising Uses For Potatoes  :

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato
http://www.examiner.com/article/medicinal-uses-of-potatoes
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/potato65.html

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