Also known as Chilean or giant rhubarb, this plant evolved over 150 million years ago and indeed looks like something from Jurassic times. It’s a large, clump-forming, herbaceous plant that grows up to 2m in height and is a cheerful sight alongside roads, rivers and streams in the south of Chile as it’s leaves open up like massive umbrella’s to the sky.
Unrelated to rhubarb, but offering similar culinary uses. The young stalks can be consumed in salads, in jams or in juices. It tastes acidic yet refreshing, when eaten raw, locals like to add salt or merquén (smoked local chili pepper).
The plant is astringent, hemostatic and febrifuge. Infusions and decoctions of it have been used by locals to treat fever, menstruation pains, diarrhea, stomach and liver affections. Their topical use is mainly to treat wounds and seal them.
Drink nature, drink Nalca tonic.