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Plants of Peru and Superfood

Peru has about 25,000 species of native plants,
about 10% of all plant species in the world.

 

Peru has about 25,000 species of native plants, about 10% of all plant species in the world.

Thanks to its geographical diversity (coastal deserts, mountains or jungle), 28 different climates out of the 32 possible in the world and 84 of the 103 existing ecological zones, the Peruvian flora is one of the most diverse on the planet.

They are known as indigenous plants because they are native or native to the Peruvian country, some of them being food and/or medicinal.

Some of the best known native plants of Peru are Maca or Quinoa.

The properties of Peruvian native plants have been known since ancient times.

Some of these plants have been cultivated in Peru since 1600 B.C., as the indigenous inhabitants used them for their medicinal properties and potential health effects.

It is the effects of these plants that are responsible for the generational transmission in the different indigenous cultures that allow us today to benefit from their plants.

Indeed, the Incas considered some of these native plants as “gifts from the gods”, just look at the story of the birth of Maca for example.

In addition, Peruvians cultivated them as food and used them in religious ceremonies for dances and rituals.

In recent years, Peru has exported native plants such as maca, camu camu, uña de gato, quinoa, sacha inchi, achiote, aguaymanto, walnuts, purple corn, giant Cusco corn, kiwicha and yacón, worth more than $100 million a year.

Common Indigenous Plants of Peru

The list of the following plants is not exhaustive as Peru is so rich at this level.
Moreover, it must be understood that under the term of plants and more broadly of phytotherapy, it is necessary to associate plants with leaves, roots, fruits, seeds or nuts.

 

Maca

It’s a tuber native to the Andes. It contains elements such as calcium, potassium, and iron, silicon, iodine and phosphorus.

It influences hormonal balance, helping to normalize the thyroid and endocrine glands, as well as oxygenating muscle tissue.

Maca is also an energizer and helps fight osteoporosis.

Uña de gato

It is a climbing plant, a type of liana with curved spines that grow along its stems.

Uña de gato is used as a treatment for inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, to cleanse the digestive tract and as a useful aid in the fight against cancer.

It contains oxindole-type alkaloids.

Sacha Inchi

It’s a perennial plant. Its oil has nutraceutical properties. It contains a lot of vitamin A, vitamin E, fatty acids and omega 3, 6 and 9.

It produces an oil of high nutritional quality. Sacha Inchi powder has a high dose of protein.

It is also consumed as boiled or roasted grains. It can also be found in the form of butter.

Quinoa

It is a cereal with a high protein content; it is a source of many amino acids necessary for human development.

It is marketed industrially in the form of flour and flakes. It can be eaten on its own, in sweets, stews and soups.

Yacon

This tuber is used in weight loss diets.

It has antidiabetic properties and relieves gastrointestinal and kidney problems.

Hercampuri

This small shrub is grown in the mountains and helps regulate fat metabolism, being widely used in the treatment of obesity.

It acts as a diuretic, facilitates circulation, is hepatoprotective and acts as a hypo-glycemic.

Chirimoya

It is an edible fruit native to Peru, available in the rest of the Andes and Central America.

It has a creamy texture and the ugly Peruvian culture has often represented it in its handicrafts.

Cinchona

It is a tree of about 10 meters, natural of the Andes, being very well known to be present in the coat of arms of the Peruvian national flag.

Its bark contains quinine and is used to treat malaria.

Paico

It is a perennial herb native to Central America. Its flowers are small and green and it grows in subtropical and warm regions.

It is sometimes used to fight worm infections in humans and as a treatment for amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea and malaria.

It is used in cooking for its strong flavour, being compared to citrus fruits, aniseed and oregano.

Achiote

Its flesh is a deep red. Its seeds can be used against sore throat, diarrhea, asthma, angina, vomiting and headaches.

Mashua

This plant is cultivated from 2800 to 3800 meters above sea level. It can be eaten cooked or boiled, although it is generally used in sweets with milk.

It lowers the level of testosterone, which is why it is used in prostate diseases.

Industrially, it is an input for antibiotics.

Guava

It is a fruit with a high vitamin C content. It helps to fight against hypertension and stimulates cardiac activity.

The leaves of this plant can be used as an intestinal astringent, in stomach pain and as a skin healing agent.

Aguaymanto

It is a plant whose fruits are rich in vitamin C.

Oca

It’s a tuber native to the Andes. Generally cultivated by Quechua and Aymara farmers, it has been an essential part of the rural diet in the Andes for centuries.