Take a look at some lawns this spring. You might see something that looks like a crown of thin leaves and spikey, yellow flowers shooting over the grass, particularly if you live in the South. If the stems are triangular, you’ve just found a sedge. Dig it up. If it’s the right kind of sedge, clinging to the roots will be a few chewy, brown, marble-sized tubers called tiger nuts.
The plant is called yellow nutsedge or Cyperus esculentus, and it’s one of the absolute worst weeds in the world. It wreaks havoc on gardens and crops and causes millions of dollars of agricultural damage every year. But it’s also been cultivated for millennia, and yellow nutsedge as a crop, medicinal plant and weed has a very long, strange history with humans.
Today, tiger nuts have been getting a fair amount of attention in health food aisles. The tubers are becoming popular among paleo dieters and lauded as a “super-food.”
Dried, the tubers resemble shriveled, mummified knuckles. That’s somewhat fitting, because the earliest records of tiger nuts date back to ancient Egypt, where they were valuable and loved enough to be entombed and discovered with buried Egyptians from the 4th millennium B.C. to the 5th century A.D.
What records remain from antiquity suggest that tiger nuts were used medicinally and eaten as treats. The roasted, crushed tubers were eaten with honey.
Tiger Nuts are rich in prebiotic fiber. Prebiotics act as food for your body’s natural organisms. They help your gut’s natural probiotics thrive. A single ounce of Tiger Nuts has 40% of our daily recommended fiber.