What is African Wild Potato?
The African wild potato goes by many names: star flower, yellow star (Eng.); sterblom, geelsterretjie, gifbol (Afr.); moli kharatsa, lotsane (S Sotho); inkomfe, inkomfe enkulu (Zulu), inongwe, ilabatheka, ixhalanxa, ikhubalo lezithunzela (Xhosa), tshuka (Tsw.).
Hypoxis hemerocallidea has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries and today, under its misapplied name ‘African Potato’, it is a household name in South Africa and probably the best known muti plant in the country. It has even been recommended by a former Minister of Health for inclusion in the daily diet of HIV patients.
The wild potato contains several active ingredients that are of interest, including hypoxoside and phytochemicals.
The compound hypoxoside contains rooperol, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect the body against free radicals that can damage cells and cause many diseases. These diseases include cancer, heart failure, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Phytochemicals are substances that occur naturally in plants. They act as antioxidants in the body. Sterols and sterolins are phytochemicals in the wild potato. Sterols and sterolins boost the immune system, and may even help reduce cholesterol.
South Africans, particularly traditional Zulu healers, have long used the wild potato to treat many conditions. A few of these include:
- prostate disorders, like enlarged prostate and prostate cancer
- urinary tract and bladder infections
- HIV and AIDS
- inflammation, and conditions like edema and arthritis
Some people even swear African potato helps for weight loss and its active antimicrobial and antioxidant-rich compounds help to purify and protect the skin.
Usually people take African wild potato by mouth, but sometimes in the form of an extract, supplement, or tea. And sometimes people apply it topically to help heal wounds or use it as a general immune booster.
An African potato tea is made by using chopped African wild Potato and boiling it in water for 15-20mins.
Strain and drink.