Potato Yam(Dioscorea bulbifera)

Botanical Name : Dioscorea bulbifera
Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea
Species: D. bulbifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dioscoreales

Synonyms:
*Helmia bulbifera (L.) Kunth
*Polynome bulbifera (L.) Salisb.
*Dioscorea sylvestris De Wild.
*Dioscorea tamifolia Salisb.
*Dioscorea crispata Roxb.
*Dioscorea heterophylla Roxb.
*Dioscorea pulchella Roxb.
*Dioscorea tenuiflora Schltdl.
*Dioscorea latifolia Benth.
*Dioscorea hoffa Cordem.
*Dioscorea hofika Jum. & H.Perrier
*Dioscorea anthropophagorum A.Chev.
*Dioscorea longipetiolata Baudon
*Dioscorea rogersii Prain & Burkill
*Dioscorea korrorensis R.Knuth
*Dioscorea perrieri R.Knuth
English names: Air yam, Potato yam, Air potato.

Sanskrit name: Varahi.

Vernacular names: Ben: Banalu, Kukuralu; Hin : Gaithi, Rataler, Pitalu; Kan : Heggenasu; Man: Ha; Mar: Manakundu, Karukarinda; Mun : Jo aru; Tam: Kodikulangu; Tel: Chedupaddu-dumpa; San: Bongo-sanga.
Habitat:    Dioscorea bulbifera  is native to Africa, southern Asia (India, China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, etc.) and northern Australia.  It is widely cultivated and has escaped to become naturalized in many regions (Latin America, the West Indies, the southeastern United States, and various oceanic islands)

Description:
Climber, usually twining to the left; stem slender, green or purple, with 10-15 small crisped wings, tubers large, variable in form; leaves opposite and alternate, petioles 5-15 cm long, lamina cordate, very variable in size, attaining 35 cm in length, membranous, dark green, 7-9 costate; male spikes slender, almost capillary, 2.5-10 cm long, panicled, flowers crowded or scattered, green or purplish; female spikes 10-25 cm long, pendulous; capsules 1.6-2.5 cm by 0.8-1.25 cm, membranous; seeds with broad basal wing.
Flowering: August-September; Fruiting: November.

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Air potato is an herbaceous, twining vine that can grow to lengths exceeding 60 feet. It invades open areas in the sub-tropical southeastern United States. The leaves are alternate, long (8 inches), wide and heart-shaped with prominent veins that resemble greenbrier leaves. The rounded stems are thin and wiry. The chief means of reproduction are aerial potato-like tubers (bulbils) located at the leaf axils. The vine rarely flowers. Air potato can form dense masses of vines that cover and kill native vegetation including trees within a variety of habitats such as forest edges, hammocks, and many disturbed areas. It was introduced from Africa for food and medicinal purposes in the early 1900s. Air potato is a common and widespread food crop throughout most tropical regions of the world.

Ecology and cultivation: Plant of tropical climate, grows in the midst of scrub jungles, rare; wild and planted.

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Chemical contents: Tuber: furanoid norditerpenes, norditerpene glucosides, diosbulbinoside D & F, diosbulbin B & D, a new dihydrophenanthrene, d-sorbitol; Bulbil: diosgenin.

Medicinal Uses:

In folk medicine it has been used to ease the pain on sprained ankles, and certain other uses that is in combination with other plants.  In healing the sprained angle, the fruit of the vine, which is brownish in color is cut in have and the insides are scraped out and put into a cloth or something that will easily let the fluid out of it we massaging the sprained ankle with it. Always massage down toward the ground and outwardly of the foot.  TCM: Indications: rid of toxin, relieves swelling, reduces phlegm, cools blood, stops bleeding.
Traditional use: TRIBES OF PURULIA (West Bengal) : Tuber: in boils; SANTAL : (i) Dried tuber (powdery: as shampoo and on sores; (ii) Plant: against madness; SIKKIMESE : Tuber: in jaundice; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF DEHRA DUN AND SIWALIK: Tuber: in dysentery, piles; DANG (Gujarat) : Tuber: in abdominal pain, bone fracture.

Modern use: Aerial parts (50% EtOH extract) : diuretic; Rhizome: anorexiant.
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Remarks: Tubers are eaten as vegetable by the ethnic communities of Meghalaya, Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, Purulia and Medinipur districts of West Bengal, Varanasi, Mirzapur districts and Kumaon area of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Ratan Mahal Hills (Gujarat), Rajasthan, Cannanore district of Kerala and Mikirs (Assam), Santals (West Bengal) and Tharus (Uttar Pradesh).
Boiled bulbils are eaten by Mikirs and Santals as vegetable.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.invasive.org/browse/subject.cfm?sub=3017
http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/esadocs/diosbulb.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dioscorea_bulbifera

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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