Category Archives: Fruits & Vegetables

Mulberry fruit

Botanical Name: Morus nigra
Family: Moraceae
Tribe: Moreae
Genus: Morus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: The closely related genus Broussonetia is also commonly known as mulberry, notably the paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera.

Habitat:
Black, red, and white mulberry are widespread in southern Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa and Indian subcontinent, where the tree and the fruit have names under regional dialects.

Spacis:
Over 150 species are there but out of them the following species are accepted by the Kew Plant List as of August 2015:-

Morus alba L. – White mulberry (China, Korea, Japan)
Morus australis Poir. – Chinese mulberry (China, Japan, Indian Subcontinent, Myanmar)
Morus cathayana Hemsl. – China, Japan, Korea
Morus celtidifolia Kunth – (North and South America)
Morus indica – L. – India, Southeast Asia
Morus insignis – Bureau – Central America and South America
Morus japonica Audib. – Japan
Morus liboensis S.S. Chang – Guizhou Province in China
Morus macroura Miq. – Long mulberry (Tibet, Himalayas, Indochina)
Morus mesozygia Stapf – African mulberry (south and central Africa)
Morus mongolica (Bureau) C.K. Schneid. – China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan
Morus nigra L. – Black mulberry (Iran, Caucasus, Levant)
Morus notabilis C.K. Schneid. – Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in China
Morus rubra L. – Red mulberry (eastern North America)
Morus serrata Roxb. – Tibet, Nepal, northwestern India
Morus trilobata (S.S. Chang) Z.Y. Cao – Guizhou Province in China
Morus wittiorum Hand.-Mazz. – southern China

Description:
Mulberries, growing wild and under cultivation in many temperate world regions.

Mulberries are fast-growing when young, but soon become slow-growing and rarely exceed 10–15 metres (30–50 ft) tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple and often lobed and serrated on the margin. Lobes are more common on juvenile shoots than on mature trees.[citation needed] The trees can be monoecious or dioecious. The mulberry fruit is a multiple fruit, approximately 2–3 cm (3?4–1 1?4 in) long. Immature fruits are white, green, or pale yellow. In most species the fruits turn pink and then red while ripening, then dark purple or black, and have a sweet flavor when fully ripe. The fruits of the white-fruited cultivar are white when ripe; the fruit of this cultivar is also sweet, but has a mild flavor compared with darker varieties. Although quite similar looking, they are not to be confused with blackberries.

Botanically the fruit is not a berry but a collective fruit, in appearance like a swollen loganberry. When the flowers are pollinated, they and their fleshy bases begin to swell. Ultimately they become completely altered in texture and color, becoming succulent, fat and full of juice. In appearance, each tiny swollen flower roughly resembles the individual drupe of a blackberry. The color of the fruit does not identify the mulberry species. White mulberries, for example, can produce white, lavender or black fruit. White mulberry fruits are generally very sweet but often lacking in needed tartness. Red mulberry fruits are usually deep red, almost black, and in the best clones have a flavor that almost equals that of the black mulberry. Black mulberry fruits are large and juicy, with a good balance of sweetness and tartness that makes them the best flavored species of mulberry. The refreshing tart taste is in some ways reminiscent of grapefruit. Mulberries ripen over an extended period of time unlike many other fruits which seem to come all at once.

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Cultivation:
Mulberries can be grown from seed, and this is often advised as seedling-grown trees are generally of better shape and health, but they are most often planted from large cuttings which root readily. The mulberry plants which are allowed to grow tall with a crown height of 1.5 to 1.8 metres (5 to 6 ft) from ground level and a stem girth of 10–13 cm (4–5 in). They are specially raised with the help of well-grown saplings 8–10 months old of any of the varieties recommended for rainfed areas like S-13 (for red loamy soil) or S-34 (black cotton soil) which are tolerant to drought or soil-moisture stress conditions. Usually, the plantation is raised and in block formation with a spacing of 1.8 by 1.8 m (6 by 6 ft), or 2.4 by 2.4 m (8 by 8 ft), as plant to plant and row to row distance. The plants are usually pruned once a year during the monsoon season to a height of 1.5–1.8 m (5–6 ft) and allowed to grow with a maximum of 8–10 shoots at the crown. The leaves are harvested three or four times a year by a leaf-picking method under rain-fed or semiarid conditions, depending on the monsoon. The tree branches pruned during the fall season (after the leaves have fallen) are cut and used to make durable baskets supporting agriculture and animal husbandry.

Mulberry tree scion wood can easily be grafted onto other mulberry trees during the winter, when the tree is dormant. One common scenario is converting a problematic male mulberry tree to an allergy-free female tree, by grafting all-female mulberry tree scions to a male mulberry that has been pruned back to the trunk. However, any new growth from below the graft(s) must be removed, as they would be from the original male mulberry tree.

Anthocyanin content depends on climate and area of cultivation, and is particularly high in sunny climates. This finding holds promise for tropical countries that grow mulberry trees as part of the practice of sericulture to profit from industrial anthocyanin production through the recovery of anthocyanins from the mulberry fruit.

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Edible Uses:
The ripe fruit is edible and is widely used in pies, tarts, wines, cordials, and herbal teas.Jams and sherbets are often made from the fruit. The fruit of the black mulberry (native to southwest Asia) and the red mulberry (native to eastern North America) have the strongest flavor, which has been likened to ‘fireworks in the mouth’.

Medicinal Uses:
Mulberry fruit was much used in folk medicine, especially in the treatment of ringworm. Mulberries are also widespread in Greece, particularly in the Peloponnese, which in the Middle Ages was known as Morea, deriving from the Greek word for the tree ( mouria).

The fruit and leaves are sold in various forms as nutritional supplements. The mature plant contains significant amounts of resveratrol, particularly in stem bark. Unripe fruit and green parts of the plant have a white sap that may be toxic, stimulating, or mildly hallucinogenic.

Other Uses:
Mulberry leaves, particularly those of the white mulberry, are ecologically important as the sole food source of the silkworm (Bombyx mori, named after the mulberry genus Morus), the cocoon of which is used to make silk. The wild silk moth also eats mulberry. Other Lepidoptera larvae—which include the common emerald, lime hawk-moth, sycamore moth, and fall webworm—also eat the plant. Black mulberry was imported to Britain in the 17th century in the hope that it would be useful in the cultivation of silkworms.

Mulberry fruit color derives from anthocyanins, which are under basic research for mechanisms of various diseases. Anthocyanins are responsible for the attractive colors of fresh plant foods, including orange, red, purple, black, and blue. These colors are water-soluble and easily extractable, yielding natural food colorants. Due to a growing demand for natural food colorants, their significance in the food industry is increasing.

A cheap and industrially feasible method has been developed to extract anthocyanins from mulberry fruit which could be used as a fabric tanning agent or food colorant of high color value (above 100). Scientists found that, of 31 Chinese mulberry cultivars tested, the total anthocyanin yield varied from 148 to 2725 mg per liter of fruit juice.[24] All the sugars, acids, and vitamins of the fruit remained intact in the residual juice after removal of the anthocyanins, so the juice could be used to produce products such as juice, wine, and sauce.

During the Angkorian age of the Khmer Empire of Southeast Asia, monks at Buddhist temples made paper from the bark of mulberry trees. The paper was used to make books, known as kraing.

This offers a challenging task to the mulberry germplasm resources for:

*Exploration and collection of fruit yielding mulberry species
*Their characterization, cataloging, and evaluation for anthocyanin content by using traditional, as well as modern, means and biotechnology tools
*Developing an information system about these cultivars or varieties
*Training and global coordination of genetic stocks
*Evolving suitable breeding strategies to improve the anthocyanin content in potential breeds by collaboration with various research stations in the field of sericulture, plant genetics, and breeding, biotechnology and pharmacology

Cultural uses:
A Babylonian etiological myth, which Ovid incorporated in his Metamorphoses, attributes the reddish-purple color of the mulberry fruits to the tragic deaths of the lovers Pyramus and Thisbe. Meeting under a mulberry tree (probably the native Morus nigra),[27] Thisbe commits suicide by sword after Pyramus was killed by the lioness because he believed that Thisbe was eaten by her. Their splashed blood stained the previously white fruit, and the gods forever changed the mulberry’s colour to honour their forbidden love.

The nursery rhyme “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” uses the tree in the refrain, as do some contemporary American versions of the nursery rhyme “Pop Goes the Weasel”.

Vincent van Gogh featured the mulberry tree in some of his paintings, notably Mulberry Tree (Mûrier, 1889, now in Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum). He painted it after a stay at an asylum, and he considered it a technical success.

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morus_%28plant%29
https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/mulberry.html

Blueberry

 

Botanical Name: Vaccinium corymbosum
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Vaccinium
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales

Common Name:Blueberry

Habitat: Blueberries are native to North America. The highbush blueberry varieties were introduced into Europe during the 1930s.

They are now grown commercially in the Southern Hemisphere, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia .

Description:
Blueberries are perennial flowering plants with blue– or purple–colored berries. They are usually prostrate shrubs that can vary in size from 10 centimeters (3.9 in) to 4 meters (13 ft) in height. In commercial production of blueberries, the species with small, pea–size berries growing on low–level bushes are known as “lowbush blueberries” (synonymous with “wild”), while the species with larger berries growing on taller cultivated bushes are known as “highbush blueberries”.

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The leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen, ovate to lanceolate, and 1–8 cm (0.39–3.15 in) long and 0.5–3.5 cm (0.20–1.38 in) broad. The flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish. The fruit is a berry 5–16 millimeters (0.20–0.63 in) in diameter with a flared crown at the end; they are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally dark purple when ripe. They are covered in a protective coating of powdery epicuticular wax, colloquially known as the “bloom”. They have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season: fruiting times are affected by local conditions such as altitude and latitude, so the peak of the crop, in the northern hemisphere, can vary from May to August.

Uses:
Blueberries are sold fresh or are processed as individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit, purée, juice, or dried or infused berries. These may then be used in a variety of consumer goods, such as jellies, jams, blueberry pies, muffins, snack foods, or as an additive to breakfast cereals.

Blueberry jam is made from blueberries, sugar, water, and fruit pectin. Blueberry sauce is a sweet sauce prepared using blueberries as a primary ingredient.

Blueberry wine is made from the flesh and skin of the berry, which is fermented and then matured; usually the lowbush variety is used.

Nutrients:
Blueberries consist of 14% carbohydrates, 0.7% protein, 0.3% fat and 84% water (table). They contain only negligible amounts of micronutrients, with moderate levels (relative to respective Daily Values) (DV) of the essential dietary mineral manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber (table).[36] Generally, nutrient contents of blueberries are a low percentage of the DV (table). One serving provides a relatively low caloric value of 57 kcal per 100 g serving and glycemic load score of 6 out of 100 per day.

Phytochemicals and research:
Blueberries contain anthocyanins, other polyphenols and various phytochemicals under preliminary research for their potential role in the human body. Most polyphenol studies have been conducted using the highbush cultivar of blueberries (V. corymbosum), while content of polyphenols and anthocyanins in lowbush (wild) blueberries (V. angustifolium) exceeds values found in highbush cultivars.

Medicinal Uses:
Blueberry is used for preventing cancer, cataracts and glaucoma and for treating ulcers, urinary tract infections (UTIs), multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), colic, fever, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids. Blueberry is also used for improving circulation and memory, and as a laxative.

As early as 1927 studies were being published on the health benefits of Blueberry Leaf for controling blood sugar, but the benefit of antioxidants wasn’t commonly known or hadn’t really made it to being a household word until the scientists Ehlenfeldt and Prior published their findings in 2001 on the ORAC, phenolic and anthocyanin concentrations in fruit and leaf tissues of the highbush blueberry. Kind’a heavy readin’ for a simple country girl, but what they basically found was that the leaf was 31 times higher in anthocyanin antioxidants than the fruit. Jest sayin’.

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueberry
http://wildaboutberries.com/blueberry-leaf_302.html
http://www.google.com/search?q=medicinal+uses+of+blueberry&client=safari&rls=en&oq=medicinal+uses+of+blueberry&gs_l=heirloom-serp.12..0i30l2.1160377.1167178.0.1171399.14.14.0.0.0.0.385.3236.0j4j7j2.13.0….0…1ac.1.34.heirloom-serp..1.13.3232.If9rvRfxIfU

Black Grapes

Description:
Black grapes, also sometimes known as Concord grapes or slipskin grapes, are sold fresh or made into fresh juice, jams or jellies. They are rich in a number of nutrients, including natural antioxidants, and can be part of a healthy diet that reduces the number of calories you consume, helping you lose weight.

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Food Value:

Calorie Content:
Fresh black grapes are low in calories, with a 1-cup serving containing only 62 calories and less than 1/2 gram of total fat. While you can eat the grapes whole and raw, making a fresh juice from them by blending 1 cup of grapes with 1/2 cup of fresh water will give you 1 cup of fresh juice that is lower in calories than a commercially produced grape juice, even if unsweetened. One cup of commercial grape juice has 152 calories per serving and also less than 1/2 gram of total fat. Substituting whole grapes or fresh grape juice for a 12-ounce can of grape soda once a week can reduce your caloric intake by over 5,000 calories, or roughly 1.5 pounds of body weight, in the space of one year.

Dietary Fiber Content:
Black grapes are a good source of dietary fiber, which gives bulk to your diet, helping you eat less.Dietary fiber can also help reduce the symptoms of constipation as well as lower your blood cholesterol levels. A serving of black grapes has 0.8 gram of dietary fiber, a high amount for the small serving size. This provides 2 to 3 percent of the recommended dietary intake and can help you meet the daily recommendation, which is important as most Americans have a diet that is too low in fiber.

Sugar Content:
Black grapes are naturally sweet, with almost 15 grams per cup. The American Heart Association recommends you choose natural sugars, such as those found in grapes, over added sugars because natural sugars have greater nutritive impact. Because of their natural sweetness, you can use grapes as a healthy way to satisfy a sweet tooth or sugar craving. In addition to eating them fresh, you can also freeze grapes and eat them as a refreshing, low-calorie and sweet dessert, substituting them for other foods, such as ice cream or cake, that are often high in added sugar.

Antioxidants and Fruit Intake:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating between 1 1/2 and 2 cups of fruit each day as part of a balanced diet, which is important for healthy weight loss. Black grapes are also a rich source of the natural antioxidant resveratrol, a type of flavonoid. In 2011, the “Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences” published a report that stated that diets high in resveratrol led to overall reduced body fat levels as well as a decrease in overall weight gain.

Vitamin Contents:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that healthy adult men and women consume 2 cups of fruit each day. A cup of most sliced or chopped raw fruits fulfills half of this requirement, including 1 cup of whole grapes – equivalent to about 32 whole seedless grapes. Both the red and green varieties are low in fat, high in fiber and a source of essential vitamins.

Vitamin K:
Each 1-cup serving of fresh grapes contains 22 micrograms of vitamin K. For a man, this amount supplies 18 percent of his recommended daily allowance; for a woman, a cup of grapes fulfills 24 percent of her vitamin K requirement per day. Your body needs adequate vitamin K to build strong bones and to synthesize several of the proteins required for blood coagulation. If your diet lacks foods rich in vitamin K, you may be more likely to develop osteoporosis or bleed too much when injured.

Vitamin B-6:
As an adult, you should get at least 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B-6 each day. Grapes contain 0.13 milligrams of vitamin B-6 in every cup, supplying 10 percent of the required daily intake. Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B-6 is necessary for the production of neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin. Along with other B vitamins, it helps you metabolize the protein, fats and carbohydrates in your diet. People who consume plenty of vitamin B-6 may have a lower risk of depression, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis, according to University of Maryland Medical Center.

Thiamin Source:
Every 1-cup serving of fresh grapes supplies 0.1 milligram of thiamin, or vitamin B-1. Consuming this amount of grapes would fulfill 8.3 percent of a man’s daily requirement of the nutrient and 9 percent of a woman’s recommended intake. Because this isn’t a very good source of the vitamin, you can’t get your daily recommended intake from grapes alone. Thiamin supports the health of your immune system and aids in the production of adenosine triphosphate, the primary compound your cells use for energy. Most Americans aren’t severely deficient in thiamin, says UMMC, but if you regularly don’t get enough, you may have a higher risk of developing cataracts.

Riboflavin Needs:
Riboflavin, another member of the B family of vitamins, is needed to synthesize red blood cells, to support nervous system function and to help prevent free radical compounds from damaging DNA or cellular tissue. You may have a higher risk of cataracts if your diet doesn’t contain enough riboflavin. You may also suffer from digestive disorders or fatigue. A 1-cup serving of grapes contains approximately 0.1 milligram of riboflavin, or about 7.6 percent of a man’s recommended daily intake and 9 percent of a woman’s. Consume additional sources of riboflavin to meet your DRI.

Health Benefits:
Black grapes, velvety colored and deliciously sweet and juicy, can be consumed fresh and raw, dried as raisins or as a juice. Rich in nutrients, black seedless grapes are similar in taste and texture to red or green grapes, but because of their skin color, they have a higher antioxidant content. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends between 1 1/2 and 2 cups of fruit each day as part of a balanced diet, and eating black grapes will help you meet that goal.

Anthocyanins are the flavonoid compound that gives black grapes their dark color; the darker the fruit, the higher the anthocyanin content. A natural antioxidant, anthocyanins protect your body from damage from free radicals, produced as your body breaks down food, reducing the risk of cell damage and death and potentially slowing down the aging process. A study published in the 2010 “Annual Review of Food Science and Technology” found that anthocyanins may help reduce inflammation and cancer activity, alleviate diabetes and control obesity.

Polyphenols also are present in high concentrations in black grapes. One of the most widely found and consumed natural antioxidants, they occur mainly in fruits and plant-based drinks, including juices and red wine made from black grapes. A 2005 publication of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition cites polyphenols as preventing cardiovascular diseases, cancers and osteoporosis. They may also help prevent neurodegenerative diseases and certain types of diabetes. Most of the studies were in vitro or animal experiments, however, so the research isn’t conclusive.

According to “A History of Food,” black grapes have a lower glycemic index than other grapes. While “Harvard Health Publications” cites the average GI for all grapes as 59, black grapes, according to “A History of Food,” have a GI of 43 to 53. The lower the GI is, the less effect the food has on your blood sugar and insulin levels. This means grapes won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike, which, in addition to being dangerous for diabetics, can lead to energy highs and crashes.

Resveratrol Content:

A phytonutrient, resveratrol is present in high concentrations in all grapes, including black grapes. A natural antioxidant, resveratrol may be useful in increasing lifespan and preventing the growth and development of cancer cells. But the majority of studies of the substance have been done on yeast, insects and animals, so the effect of resveratrol in humans isn’t yet understood. Some scientists believe it may be the resveratrol content of red wine that makes the “French Paradox” possible — low levels of cardiovascular disease among the French despite high levels of cigarette smoking and saturated fat in the typical French diet.

Resources:
https://www.livestrong.com/article/277286-benefits-of-black-grapes-in-weight-loss/

Removing unwanted hair


Earlier it was only women who were concerned about excessive body hair and its removal. They visited the friendly neighbourhood parlour to get their eyebrows shaped and moustaches removed. Times have changed; now both men and women want to get rid of unwanted hair – from face, arms, legs, chest and back. A hairy torso (male or female) is no longer considered attractive!

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In men excessive body hair is often, paradoxically, paired with male pattern baldness. This excessive hair not only looks cosmetically unappealing but can result in excessive sweating, and infections in the hair follicles.
Excessive hair growth in women is usually familial or due to obesity. Such women may have hair in areas such as the face, chin and back.

Women produce both male and female hormones. If the balance is disturbed, and more male hormones are secreted then the woman can become very hairy. This can occur during the teens or in later life. It may be due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), congenital adrenal hyperplasia, if excessive steroids are administered or produced in the body as in Cushing’s syndrome, with some anti depressants and medications like danazole. In rare cases, it may be due to male hormone secreting tumours. If the hirsuitism is accompanied by deepening of the voice, loss of scalp hair and acne, it is called virilisation.

Shaving is a time tested method to remove hair from the arms, legs, axilla [armpits] and face. Shaving facial hair does not make it grow back thicker, coarser or faster. Apply shaving gel or foam first to soften the hair. Poor technique can cause ingrown hair.

A few unwanted hairs can be plucked using tweezers but it is painful. Pulling in the direction opposite to hair growth can cause ingrown hair and scarring. Apply ice immediately to the tweezed area to reduce swelling and redness.

Hair removing creams are available OTC (over the counter). The chemicals dissolve the hair shaft. Allergy can develop to the chemicals so it needs to be tested on a small area first. It can burn the skin if it is left on for too long.

Hot or cold wax can be used to remove hair. This can be done professionally in a salon or at home. It is messy and painful. Infection and burns can occur. It should be avoided if acne creams are also being used.

Twisting thread and then pulling the hair out is called threading. It is a technique done in parlours. It can cause pain.

Laser treatments have become very popular in recent times. Beauty parlours and spas offer such treatments. Only a licensed pro-fessional should do it. A physician should be available on the premises to tackle any side effects. Lasers suitable for Indian skin need to be used. The sittings need to be scheduled at the correct intervals 8-10 weeks apart. It does not get rid of unwanted hair permanently. After repeated sittings, hair growth is reduced by upto 80 per cent. It can cause scarring, keloid formation and pigment changes. That is why it should be tried on a small area first.

Hair can be removed permanently with electrolysis. A professional uses a needle to apply an electric current in the hair follicle. There may be tingling and pain. The process is slow and time consuming but is permanent. It can cause pigment changes. Several sittings spaced out over a period of months are required.

Resources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Sweet Potato

Botanical Name: Ipomoea batatas
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Ipomoea
Species: I. batat
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names: Sweet Potato, Yam, Kumara 
Although the soft, orange sweet potato is often called a “yam” in parts of North America, the sweet potato is botanically very distinct from a genuine yam (Dioscorea), which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. To add to the confusion, a different crop plant, the oca, Oxalis tuberosa (a species of wood sorrel), is called a “yam” in many parts of Polynesia, including New Zealand. To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires sweet potatoes to be labeled as “sweet potatoes” and not as “yams”

The Portuguese took the Taino name batata directly, while the Spanish also combined it with the Quechua word for potato, papa, to create the word patata for the common potato. In Argentina, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic it is called batata. In Mexico, Peru, Chile, Central America, and the Philippines, the sweet potato is known as camote (alternatively spelled kamote in the Philippines), derived from the Nahuatl word camotli. Boniato is another name widely used in mainland Spain and in Uruguay.

In Peru, the Quechua name for a type of sweet potato is kumar, strikingly similar to the Polynesian name kumara and its regional Oceanic cognates (kumala, umala, ‘uala, etc.), which has led some scholars to suspect an instance of Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact.

In New Zealand, the most common variety is the Red (purple) cultivar, and is called kumara, though orange (Beauregard) and gold varieties are also available. Kumara is particularly popular as a roasted food or in contemporary cuisine, as kumara chips, often served with sour cream and sweet chili sauce. Occasionally shops in Australia will label the purple variety “purple sweet potato” to denote its difference to the other varieties. About 95% of Australia’s production is of the orange variety named “Beauregard”, originally from North America, known simply as “sweet potato”. A reddish-purple variety, Northern Star, is 4% of production and is sold as kumara.

In Papua New Guinea, sweet potatoes are known as kaukau in Tok Pisin. In South Korea, sweet potatoes are known as ‘goguma’

Habitat: The origin and domestication of sweet potato is thought to be in either Central America or South America. In Central America, sweet potatoes were domesticated at least 5,000 years ago. In South America, Peruvian sweet potato remnants dating as far back as 8000 BC have been found. Now sweet potato is grown all over the world.

Description:
Sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas, is an herbaceous perennial plant grown for its edible storage roots. The sweet potato plant is a branching, creeeping vine with spirally arranged lobed, heart shaped leaves and white or lavender flowers. The plant has enlarged roots called tubers which act as an energy store for the plant. The tubers can be variable in shape and can be red, yellow, brown, white or purple in color. Sweet potato vines can reach 4 m (13 ft) in length and the plant is usually grown as an annual, harvested after one growing season. Sweet potatoes may also be referred to as yams or Spanish potatoes and originate from Central America.

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Cultivation & Propagation:
Sweet potatoes grow very well in tropical and subtropical climates and they are very sensitive to cold weather.
The plant does not tolerate frost. It grows best at an average temperature of 24 °C (75 °F), abundant sunshine and warm nights. in well-draining, loamy soil with a pH of 5.6–6.6. Sweet potatoes should be planted in full sun and require plenty of space as the vines will spread over large areas. Annual rainfalls of 750–1,000 mm (30–39 in) are considered most suitable, with a minimum of 500 mm (20 in) in the growing season. The crop is sensitive to drought at the tuber initiation stage 50–60 days after planting, and it is not tolerant to water-logging, as it may cause tuber rots and reduce growth of storage roots if aeration is poor.

Edible Uses:
Sweet potato tubers are eaten cooked as a vegetable or may be processed into flour or starch. The leaves can be eaten fresh or after cooking. Sweet potatoes pack a powerful nutritional punch. They have got over 400% of our daily needs for vitamin A in one medium spud, as well as loads of fiber and potassium. They have got more grams of natural sugars than regular potato but more overall nutrients with fewer calories.

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People allover the world eat sweet potato (both the tubers & the leaves) as vegetable  & also  in different forms.

Medicinal Uses & health benefits:
Possible health benefits of consuming sweet potatoes:
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like sweet potatoes decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Diabetes:
Sweet potatoes are considered low on the glycemic index scale, and recent research suggests they may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes. The fiber in sweet potatoes makes a big difference too. Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber (skin on).

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men, which most people do not reach.

Blood pressure:
Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults are meeting the daily 4,700 mg recommendation for potassium.3 One medium sweet potato provides about 542 milligrams.

Also of note, high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.

Cancer:
Among younger men, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition.4 Beta-carotene has also been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.

Digestion and regularity:
Because of its high fiber content, sweet potatoes help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Fertility:
For women of childbearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources appears to promote fertility, according Harvard Medical School‘s Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes (consumed as beta-carotene then converted to vitamin A in the body) is also essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.

Immunity:
Plant foods like sweet potatoes that are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients.

Inflammation:
Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in sweet potatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.6

In a study published by the Journal of Medicinal Food, purple sweet potato extract was found to have positive anti-inflammatory and antilipogenic effects as well as free radical scavenging and reducing activity.

Vision:
According to Duke ophthalmologist Jill Koury, MD, vitamin A deficiency causes the outer segments of the eye’s photoreceptors to deteriorate, damaging normal vision. Correcting vitamin A deficiencies with foods high in beta-carotene will restore vision.

Also of note, the antioxidant vitamins C and E in sweet potatoes have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.

A higher intake of all fruits (3 or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease the risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
Other Uses:
In South America, the juice of red sweet potatoes is combined with lime juice to make a dye for cloth. By varying the proportions of the juices, every shade from pink to black can be obtained.

All parts of the plant are used for animal fodder.

Sweet potatoes or camotes are often found in Moche ceramics.

Several selections are cultivated in gardens as ornamental plants for their attractive foliage, including the dark-leafed cultivars ‘Blackie’ and ‘Ace of Spades’ and the chartreuse-foliaged ‘Margarita’.

Cuttings of sweet potato vine, either edible or ornamental varieties, will rapidly form roots in water and will grow in it, indefinitely, in good lighting with a steady supply of nutrients. For this reason, sweet potato vine is ideal for use in home aquariums, trailing out of the water with its roots submerged, as its rapid growth is fueled by toxic ammonia and nitrates, a waste product of aquatic life, which it removes from the water. This improves the living conditions for fish, which also find refuge in the vast root systems.

Researchers at North Carolina State University are breeding sweet potato varieties that would be grown primarily for biofuel production.

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php
https://www.plantvillage.com/en/topics/sweet-potato/infos/diseases_and_pests_description_uses_propagation