Sacha Inchi plant Plukenetia volubilis herb
March 1 2016

Sacha Inchi, also known as Sacha Peanut, or Inca-Peanut, is a plant with somewhat hairy leaves. Sacha Inchi is native to the Amazon Rainforest, where it has been cultivated by indigenous people for centuries.

Food Chem Toxicol. 2014. A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study on acceptability, safety and efficacy of oral administration of sacha inchi oil (Plukenetia volubilis L.) in adult human subjects. The study was designed to assess acceptability and side-effects of consumption of sacha inchi oil, rich in α-linolenic acid and sunflower oil, rich in linoleic acid, in adult human subjects. Thirty subjects received 10 or 15ml daily of sacha inchi or sunflower oil for 4months. Acceptability was assessed with daily self-report and with a Likert test at the end of the study. Safety was assessed with self- recording of side-effects and with hepatic and renal markers. Primary efficacy variables were the change in lipid profile. Subjects reported low acceptability of sacha inchi oil at week-1 (37.5%). However, since week-6, acceptability was significantly increased to 81.25-93.75%. No differences were observed in acceptability with respect to sex or oil volume (P>0.05). Most frequent adverse effects during first weeks of consuming sacha inchi oil or sunflower oil were nauseas. The side-effects were reduced with time. Biochemical markers of hepatic and kidney function were maintained unchanged. Serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels and arterial blood pressure were lowered with both oils (P<0.05). Higher HDL-cholesterol was observed with sacha inchi oil at month-4. In conclusion, sacha inchi oil consumed has good acceptability after week-1 of consumption and it is safety.

Toxicol Mech Methods. January 2014. Exposure of fatty acids after a single oral administration of sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis) and sunflower oil in human adult subjects. Plukenetia volubilis is a potential oilseed crop because it is rich in α-linolenic acid (ALA) (omega-3 fatty acid). Objective: To evaluate the exposure of fatty acids after a single oral administration of sacha inchi or sunflower oil in healthy volunteers. Material and methods: Plasma fatty acids concentrations were assayed by Gas Chromatography with Flame Ionization Detector in 18 adult subjects. After fasting, blood samples were obtained at 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8 and 24 h after ingestion of 10 or 15 ml of sacha inchi oil or sunflower oil. Results: The proportion ALA/linoleic acid was 1.37 in sacha inchi oil and 0.01 in sunflower oil. ALA, lauric acid, palmitic acid, linolelaidic acid, cis-8,11,14-eicosatrienoic acid, cis-13,16-docosadienoic acid and cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels changed over time after sacha inchi oil ingestion but not with sunflower oil. The time at maximal concentration (tmax) for ALA was 2 h after sacha inchi oil ingestion. No ALA in plasma was observed after sunflower oil consumption. The maximal concentration of ALA was 2.84  0.36 mg/ml in women and 0.94  0.57 mg/ml in men, p < 0.05, whereas maximal concentration of DHA was 2.60  0.84 mg/ml in women and 1.00  0.38 mg/ml in men. There is a trend for higher plasma ALA levels with 15 ml sacha inchi oil. After 2 h of consumption, plasma delta triacylglycerol were reduced with sunflower oil but slightly increased with sacha inchi oil. A reduction in plasma delta triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein cholesterol was observed with both oils. Conclusion: Consumption of sacha inchi oil increased ALA and DHA in plasma.

Isolation, purification, and biochemical characterization of a novel water soluble protein from Inca peanut (Plukenetia volubilis).
J Agric Food Chem. 2002; Sathe SK, Hamaker BR. Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences, College of Human Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.
A water soluble storage albumin from Inca peanut Sacha Inchi accounted for approximately 25% (w/w) of defatted seed flour weight, representing 31% of the total seed protein. Sacha Inchi albumin is a 3S storage protein composed of two glycosylated polypeptides. Sacha Inchi has an estimated sugar content of 5%. Sacha Inchi is a basic protein and contains all of the essential amino acids in adequate amounts when compared to the FAO/WHO recommended pattern for a human adult. The tryptophan content of Sacha Inchi is unusually high (44 mg/g of protein), whereas the phenylalanine content is low (9 mg/g of protein). Sacha Inchi is a highly digestible protein in vitro.

Health value
Can you tell me anything about Sacha Inchi. Is it, in your opinion, of any value for good health? It sounds almost too good to be true. I read that this plant from the Amazon, has been discovered to be the richest vegetable source of the essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 that protect the heart and lower cholesterol.
   Sacha Inchi has been eaten for centuries by indigenous people in the Amazon, therefore it should be quite safe. However, as of 2014, I have seen few human studies with Sacha Inchi to know what health benefits it would provide but it does have beneficial oils to be considered in one's diet.