Herb: Anu

Latin name: Tropaeolum tuberosum

Family: Tropaeolaceae (Nasturtium Family)

Medicinal use of Anu:

The tuber is considered to be an anaphrodisiac in the Andes, reducing sexual desire. Many men, therefore, refuse to eat it, whilst recommending it for use by women!. Clinical trials have indicated a reduction of up to 45% in some male hormones when the tuber forms a considerable part of the diet, but no loss in fertility has been observed.

Description of the plant:

Perennial Climber

2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Mountain slopes and valleys. Moist wooded scrubby areas around 3000 metres in Peru and Ecuador.

Edible parts of Anu:

Tubers - cooked. A peppery flavour, it is rather unpleasant to many tastes. The flavour can be improved somewhat by freezing the tubers after they have been cooked, they are then considered to be a delicacy by many people. We have also noticed an improvement in the flavour if the tubers are harvested after they have been frosted, though if the frost is too heavy they can damage the tubers. Other reports suggest half-drying the tubers before use. The tubers can be up to 10cm long and 5cm thick. They are high in vitamin C. The dried tuber contains up to 16% protein. Leaves - raw or cooked as a vegetable. Flowers - raw.

Other uses of the herb:

The growing plant is very resistant to diseases and insects, it contains nematocidal, bactericidal and insecticidal compounds.

Propagation of Anu:

Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse. Prick the seedlings out into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. So far we have been unable to obtain seed from plants grown in this country. Division of the tubers in the autumn or spring. In cold winter areas the tubers can be harvested in the autumn after top-growth has died down and they can then be stored in a cool frost-free position until planting them out in the spring. Cuttings of basal stems in the spring. Pot them up into individual pots and place them in light shade in a frame until they are established. Plant out in early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Mountain slopes and valleys. Moist wooded scrubby areas around 3000 metres in Peru and Ecuador.

Known hazards of Tropaeolum tuberosum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.