Due to its geographical diversity and various climates, our country has a wonderful variety of native plants that are nutritious, and many of them have medicinal properties. Several are considered natural anti-inflammatories and many are used for the treatment of diseases.
Here are some plants which are native to Peru:
Maca is a tuber that grows in the Peruvian Andes and has been used since pre-Columbian times for its nutritional properties. It has a high content of calcium, potassium, iron, silicon, iodine and phosphorus. In addition, it is a plant that provides energy to the body, which is ideal for people who practice sports. Furthermore, it helps fight osteoporosis, oxygenates muscle tissues and normalizes the thyroid function and endocrine glands.
Ashanincas native to the Peruvian rainforests have used cat's claw for centuries as a medicine for treating inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, for cleansing the digestive tract and for the treatment of cancer. "Cat's claw" got its name thanks to the pairs of large curved thorns that grow along the plant. It contains chemicals called oxindole alkaloids, which improve the capacity of white blood cells. It is also used for recovery from childbirth and hormonal imbalances in women. In addition, it is considered very useful in the fight against diseases such as cancer, AIDS, systemic candidiasis, various herpes and Kaposi's sarcoma, various arthritis, bursitis, rheumatism, lupus and fibromyalgia.
Otherwise known as "annatto", this is a plant with healing properties and great health benefits. It is represented by an intense red or orange pulp. Achiote leaves act against sore throats, blood vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, angina, abscesses, cephalgia, kidney pain and diseases such as malaria and asthma. Other virtues of achiote, or annatto, are its contribution to healthy digestion, bone strengthening and the acceleration of wound healing.
This is found in the Andean zones, between 9,200 and 12,450 feet above sea level. It is eaten cooked, boiled or in sweet milk. Mashua has the special quality of being an extraordinary diuretic. Industrially, it is an element in antibiotics and reduces testosterone levels, so it is usually recommended to prevent and cure prostate conditions. It is also attributed with healing properties for the liver and kidneys.
Quinoa is found mainly in the Andes Mountain Range, between 9,200 and 12,450 f.a.s.l. and at temperatures ranging between 55º and 68º F. This rustic plant of diverse variety is one of the cereals with good protein content and a source of essential amino acids, particularly recommended for the diet of both children and adults. It is considered the food of longevity, industrially obtained in the form of flour and flakes and marketed in a mixture with oats and chocolate. It is consumed in sweets, soups and stews.
A low-calorie, low-fat dietary supplement, yacon is ideal for people on weight-loss diets. It contains anti-diabetic properties, also provides relief to gastrointestinal and kidney problems and is consumed for its skin rejuvenating action. The tea infusion derived from yacon leaves reduces the glucose content in the blood.
Sacha inchi oil has several functional properties that place it in the nutraceutical food category. Its main properties include the presence of vitamin A, vitamin E and essential fatty acids (unsaturated) linolenic, linoleic and oleic, called omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9, respectively. Its active ingredients reduce the rate of triglycerides and high blood pressure. Sacha inchi can be consumed as boiled grains or liquefied in the form of purée. It's a fantastic food for people of all ages.