Family • Solanaceae - Solanum tuberosum Linn. - POTATO - Ma ling shu

Scientific names

Solanum tuberosum Linn.
Solanum sinense Blanco
Solanum esculentum Neck.
Solanum aracatscha Bess.
Lycopersicon tuberosum (L.) Mill.

Common names

Patatas (C. Bis., Bik., Tag.)
Potato (Engl.)
Ma ling shu (Chin.)
Tu dou (Chin.)

Patatas is a perennial herb with rough, pinnate leaves. Flowers are rather large, white or purple, star-shaped, and borne on compound inflorescences, 3 to 4 centimeters in diameter. Roots grow round and edible fleshy tubers


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Potato (Solanum tuberosum) Juice Exerts an Anticonvulsant Effect in Mice through Binding to GABA Receptors / Planta medica ISSN 0032-0943 CODEN PLMEAA / 2008, vol. 74, no5, pp. 491-496

(2) Local Root Crops as Antioxidant

(3) Potato poisoning – green tubers and sprouts – Overview University of Maryland Medical Center / Information

(4) Teratological and toxicological studies of alkaloidal and phenolic compounds from Solanum Tuberosum L./ Shakuntala Chaube and Chester Swinyar / Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology • Volume 36, Issue 2, May 1976, Pages 227-237 / doi:10.1016/0041-008X(76)90002-8

– Cultivated at higher altitudes, especially in the Mountain Province, Luzon, and in the Lanao region in Mindanao
– Introduced from America.


• Study yielded a gluco-alkaloid, solanine, in the fresh plant, 0.0101 to 0.0489 %; flowers, 0.6 to 0.7 %; unripe fruit, about 1 %; seeds, 0.25 %; tubers and buds, 0.02%; skin, 0.07%, starchy region, 0.002%; shoots, 0.02 to 0.05%.
• Sprouting, growing tubers are considered poisonous, as well as the flowers, unripe seeds, and leaves as they contain solanine. The full-grown tuber does not contain solanine.
• Study isolated putrescine N-methyltransferase, a calystegine,a nortropane alkaloid with glycosidase inhibitory activity. source

• Antiscorbutic, aperient, diuretic, galactagogue, stimulant, emollient, antidote, antispasmodic.
• Considered a nervous sedative and stimulant in gout.
• Leaves believed to be poisonous.


– Very high starch content; valuable as an energy-giving food.
– Potatoes grown in Baguio are deficient in calcium, and only fair sources of iron.
– Good source of fiber, vitamins B and C, and minerals.
– Peels are high in potassium.

– Gently laxative, but non-purging.
– Promotes milk.
– Useful for gout.
– Potato-peel tea for hypertension.
– Poultice of leaves as a tonic.
– Used for scurvy, dyspepsia, hyperacidity, gout and arthritis.
– Decoction of leaves for chronic cough.
– Potato, ground to a paste, applied as a plaster to burns caused by fire.
– Poultice of grated raw potato used for light burns, arthritis, itching, etc.
– Boiled potatoes used as emollient poultices.
– Used as antidote to poisoning by iodine.
– Extract of leaves used as an antispasmodic in chronic coughs, producing opium-like effects. Extract also used as a narcotic.


Study Findings
• Antioxidant: A 2006 study of commonly consumed roots crops in the Philippines – Kamote (Ipomoea batata); ubi, purple yam (Dioscorea alata); cassava (Manihot esculenta); taro or gabi (Colocasia esculenta); carrot (Daucus carota); yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) showed them to be rich sources of phenolic compounds with antioxidant activity, highest in sweet potato, followed by taro, potato, purple yam and lowest in the carrot.
• Anticonvulsant: A study showed potato juice exerted significant anticonvulsant activity in mice. It suggests that potato juice, as well as potato, may influence brain GABA-activity.
• Teratological and Toxicological Studies: Study was done on the effects of acute and chronic administration in pregnant and non pregnant rats of alkaloidal, glycoalkaloidal and phenolic compounds from Solanum tuberosum. None of the compounds produced neural tube defects; a few fetuses had rib abnormalities.
• Antiobesity of New Purple Potato Variety: Study of a purple potato variety showed anti-obesity potential via inhibition of lipid metabolism through p38 MAPK and UCP-3 pathways.
• Anti-Adhesion / Antimicrobial Properties: A study showed S tuberosum has the potential of interfering with the adhesion of oral bacteria. Also, S tuberosum methanolic extract showed a greater then 25 mg/ml MIC value against S epidermis, S typhi and B subtilis.

Potato poisoning –
• Occurs when someone eats the green tubers or new sprouts of the potato plant. The poisonous ingredient is Solanine which is very toxic even in small amounts. Potatoes should never be eaten when spoiled or green below the skin. Sprouts should always be discarded.
• Symptoms: Delirium, diarrhea, dilated pupils, fever or hypothermia, hallucinations, headache, numbness, paralysis, shock, vision changes, vomiting.
• Treatment: Do not attempt home treatment or alternative remedies. Seek immediate medical help. Depending on severity, treatment might necessitate use of activated charcoal, breathing support, IIV fluids and gastric lavage.

Wild-crafted use of leaves.
Cultivated for the potato.