Is it effective?
While people throughout South Africa use the African wild potato, there is little research to confirm its effectiveness. More research is being conducted to test whether it can treat some medical conditions in humans. These conditions include:
Many academic sources have researched the antitumor properties of the African wild potato. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and antidiabetic capabilities have been noted.
These early findings were taken from what scientists call “in vitro studies.” This means the studies were done with test tubes and not humans. Other studies have been conducted in rats.
New evidence suggests that the African wild potato can fight cancerous and premalignant cells. It also has properties that might prolong survival in patients with lung cancer. But much more research is needed to confirm its efficacy.
Type 2 diabetes
A number of studiesTrusted Source show that the African wild potato could help manage type 2 diabetes because it would stimulate the secretion of insulin. But a South African studyTrusted Source found that it could also impair kidney function. Research is ongoing.
The immune system
The African wild potato contains a substance called beta-sitosterol, which scientists believe could help strengthen the immune system. Results of one studyTrusted Source showed that capsules containing beta-sitosterol can boost the immune system after physical stress, like exercise.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
South Africans have commonly used the African wild potato as an herbal treatment for HIV and AIDS. Some South African doctors prescribe it for their patients. But there is little evidence that it’s effective.
One study found that the African wild potato significantly inhibited metabolism of anti-retroviral medications. These are the highly effective drugs used to treat HIV. But other studies have not found this to be the case.