of the valley
It was about 60-80
cm high; had white, pink or violet blossoms; and generated in its subterranean
part up to 50-60 tubers whose weight varied from 2-3 g to 2-3 kg. The one
who brought it surely didnt have the slightest idea of its forthcoming
expansion across fields in Europe and, subsequently, in the whole world.
This plant was the
potato, which contains the poisonous glycoalkaloid solanine in all its
parts but mostly in the blossoms and in the fruit. Its content is extremely
high when tubers are unripe or green as a result of incorrect storrage
but they cannot cause poisoning because solanin decomposes when boiled.
|Only the fruit,
blossoms, seeds, sprouts, and sun-greened tubers may be dangerous.
They can bring about stomachache,
nausea and vomiting, dizziness, psychic depression, breathing disruptions,
irregular pulse and even coma in the case of high dose intake and lack
Bearing in mind the application
of the potato in our everyday life, we should not expect it to have found
application in medicine.
© Thomas Schöpke