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The Healing Properties of Andean Tocosh - Fermented Potatoes

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Thursday, November 26, 2009





You may be thinking what is Tocosh?  Up until recently I had not heard of Tocosh (Tocush, or however it is pronounced), I was told it was a potato that had a horrible smell associated with it but was supposedly really delicious.  My curiosity having already been peaked I decided to follow through by researching a little further. 
After a few minutes of searching on Google, I was surprised to discover that there wasn’t much information (at least on the English version of Google) about Tocosh, hell it’s not even on Wikipedia!  I decided to switch gears and use Google.pe which is the Peruvian/Spanish equivalent of English Google.  There I found a more information on Tocosh, some of which I found rather interesting.
It turns out that Tocosh isn’t a type of potato if not an end-result product of an ancient fermentation - putrification process developed by the Incas many years ago.  Back in those days the Incans considered Tocosh as the preserver of the human body.  The Incans would prepare Tocosh by digging a small hole along the side of a river bank.  In the hole they would fill it with regionally picked potatoes and then placed rocks over the potatoes to flatten them.  There they would leave the potatoes while the water from the river slowly worked its way into the hole for a period of 6 – 12 months.  The water that ran through those holes was what eventually would transform the potatoes to the point that it produced a powerful and natural antibiotic.  After an almost year long fermentation process the Incans would take the potato remains out of the holes and leave them to dry under the suns powerful rays.  Once dry the Tocosh in its final form would be used in stews and dishes of the Incans, as well as medication.
In today’s modern world Tocosh continues to be used more commonly in rural towns and cities of the Andes by their population.  Tocosh can even be purchased in a powdered state and in capsule form for certain medicinal uses.  Tocosh is said to be effective (and has been confirmed in medical investigations) in dealing with postpartum (whatever that is?), pneumonia, common cold, curing wounds through direct application,  hemorrhoids, and gastric ulcers, altitude sickness (Soroche), and gastrointestinal infections.  It has even been used as an antibacterial agent due largely to its high Penicillin content.   It is said that the people of the departments of Ancash and Huanuco (in to the North of Peru) have had fewer cases of gastric infections due to Tocosh being widely consumed in those regions.  It is speculated that the strong and unflattering smell of Tocosh is what keeps it from being consumed in larger cities like Lima. 

Having conducted an initial investigation through limited resources I would like to actually try the intriguing fermented potato and see if I can handle its strong and overpowering smell.  I will definitely write a follow up once I have made physical contact.
For those of you interested here is the link to a site that sells Tocosh in capsule form, LINK.


3 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Looking much better dude. Very nice template. See you soon...

    Carlos (B.L colleague)

     
  3. Thanks Carlos. It was a pain in the ass to change the default banner image and it probably didn't help either that I am still a novice when it comes to HTML and XML code.

     
  4. Anonymous Says:
  5. Hello,
    In 2003 and 2009, I had eaten some tocosh. The smell is terrible. it's smell the shit.It is very difficult to eat it because of the smell. I ate it 4 times. For 3 times, it had no taste. The last time, in mountain, the smell was less strong (may be because it was in open air)but the taste was more important : taste of french sirop grenadine Teissere(for the French) : a little bit sugar.
    It is quite difficult to eat Tocosh because of the smell.

    The taste of tocosh is surely not a reason to eat it.

    The smell is definitly not a reason to eat tocosh

    The medical aspect should be the only one reason to eat it...

    The family where I spent some holidays find some tocosh at Rimac market at Santos Chocano Aguilar street. May be also in other place in Lima.
    PHJ

     

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