Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a tuberous, perennial, herbaceous vine in the morning glory family. Often confused with yam (Disocorea spp.), they are not related, and sweet potato is only distantly related to common potato (Solanum tuberosum). It is widely cultivated around the world but was first domesticated in Peru in about 8000 BCE and was found commonly in Central America by around 2500 BCE. Currently, it is the world's sixth most important crop and the UN considers it to be the most efficient staple food crop per hectare.
Nutritionally, it is primarily water and carbohydrates with almost no fat and provides significant amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Manganese. As a food it is primarily moist, filling, and sweet. The leaves are also edible and highly nutritious, being prepared as spinach or turnip greens.
I would suggest that this plant is mostly closely aligned with Venus in Cancer. We see that sweet potato leans heavily into Venusian qualities of beauty (it has ornamental vines, colorful tubers, and notable flowers) and the sweet taste. It also partakes in the Lunar qualities of being a food of the common people, highly nutritive, and moist. It likes warm and wet weather and is intolerant of frost, (the Moon’s fall and detriment being the depths of frost season).
What of its medicinal uses? It is broadly supportive of health and reduces inflammation and the risk of cancer, but studies are showing that it has a specific use in helping to balance insulin and thus is an antidiabetic – bringing in the Venusian action of balancing sugar within the body. Sweet potato leaves have also been shown to increase breast milk production, further linking the plant with the sign of Cancer.
The leaves have been specially selected for their beauty, such that around the world you can find colorful sweet potato vines gracing homes and streets, beloved for their abundant and rapid growth, they are a common background plant. The flowers are identical to the common ornamental morning glory varieties with lovely colors ranging from white to purple and everything in between. Sweet potato juice can also be used to create cloth dye, encompassing colors from pink to black.
Magically, sweet potato is a friendly and nurturing spirit that seeks companionship. Sweet potato magic is about meeting your needs, recognizing what is enough, and sharing the bounty of what’s left. It is a subtle magic, but one that can support you at such a fundamental level, that you feel the differences for years to come.