Mashua is a perennial plant that produces colorful flowers and a beautiful climbing vine that hummingbirds and gardeners love. Underneath the soil is an edible deliacy. The tuber of mashua was cultivated as food by the Incas. When eaten, mashua causes a decrease in testosterone production. For this reason, Inca warriors ate mashua while away fighting wars, to help them stop thinking about their wives.
Mashua is highly resistant to pests and diseases and grows well in high elevations and poor soils. They are related distinctly to nasturtiums, and when eaten raw, mashua has a peppery flavor similar to nasturtium leaves. This peppery flavor disappears when it is cooked. The tubers are long and pale in color, and can be roasted, baked, fried, and cooked in soups.