Potato, Prairie

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Potato, Prairie

Botanical Name: Psoralea
Family: N.O. Leguminosae

Synonyms: Prairie Turnip. Tipsinah. Taahgu.
Parts Used: Root, leaf, seeds.
Habitat: United States. Other species of the genus in India and Europe.

Description: The tubers of Psoralea esculenta are eaten by the Indians and settlers of the North-western United States. The other species have various medicinal qualities. P. pedunculata or P. melilotoides, the Virginian variety, is also known as Congo Root, Bob's Root, and Samson's Snakeroot.

Leaflets of P. obliqua, bitter, and of a distinct odour, have been found to be mixed with Buchu.

Constituents: Of the tuber, 70 per cent starch and 5 per cent of a new sugar not yet fully investigated. The root of the Virginian variety contains a volatile oil of pungent taste, and a bitter principle, not tannin. The Indian P. corylifolia yields a useful oleoresin.

Medicinal Action and Uses: P. glandulosa, or yolochiahitl, has a leaf included in the Mexican Pharmacopceia as a tonic or anthelmintic, and an emetic root. P. bituminosa of Europe and P. physodes of California are tonic and emmenagogic. The root of the Virginian variety is a valuable, aromatic tonic, useful in chronic diarrhoea, while the Indian species is useful for leucoderma and other skin diseases.