Elephant Yam (Bengali Ol)


Botanical name:
Amorphophallus Campanulatus
Family:
Araceae
Synonyms:
Amorphophallus campanulatus (Decne.)
Sanskrit name
: Soorana
English name:
Elephant Yam
Tamil name:
Pidikarunai kizhangu
Bengali Name: Ole,OOL  OR OL
Other Names:
Dragon Arum , Kembang Bangah , Saranah , Soeweg , Whitespot Giant Arum ,
Habitat: Loose leafy detritus in moist shady habitats.Common throughout the Luzon provinces and in Mindoro, in thickets and secondary forests, at low and medium altitudes in settled areas. India, Bangla Desh,Burma, Sri Lanka,Thailand, Philippines
Parts Used:
Corm, roots.

Description:
The plant had three leaves, with one that was smaller and yellowing. The other two healthy and sturdier ones are rather pretty and the leaflets that emerge from each petiole may lead those who are unfamiliar with the plant to think that it is a papaya plant instead. The petioles are also beautifully mottled. The whole plant looks quite ornamental in a strange way.

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· A perennial growing to 0.75m. It is hardy to zone 10. The scented flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Flies. We rate it 2 out of 5 for usefulness.The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. stemless herb.Corm is globose, up to 30 cm in diameter.The leaf stalk develops from the corm, usually about 1 meter high.Leaves are solitary, blades up to 1 meter in diameter, trisected with dichotomous segments. Spathe is sessile, campanulate, purplish up to 30 cm in diameter.The spadix (a spike of flowers contained in the spathe) sulcate and depressed, up to 15 cms long, are malodorous when flowering.

Flowers: When ripe for pollination, the flowers have a foetid smell to attract carrion flies and midges. This smell disappears once the flower has been pollinated.

Cultivation details:
Requires shade and a rich soil in its native habitats, but it probably requires a position with at least moderate sun in Britain.Cultivated for its edible tuber in Asia, plants are not winter hardy outdoors in Britain but are sometimes grown outdoors in this country as part of a sub-tropical bedding display.

The tuber is harvested in the autumn after top growth has been cut back by frost and it must be kept quite dry and frost-free over winter. It is then potted up in a warm greenhouse in spring ready to be planted out after the last expected frosts. The tubers are planted 15cm deep. It is unclear from the reports that we have seen whether or not this root can be divided, it is quite possible that seed is the only means of increase[K].

The plant has one enormous leaf and one spadix annually. It requires hand pollination in Britain. When ripe for pollination, the flowers have a foetid smell to attract carrion flies and midges. This smell disappears once the flower has been pollinated.
Propagation
Seed – best sown in a pot in a warm greenhouse as soon as it is ripe and the pot sealed in a plastic bag to retain moisture. It usually germinates in 1 – 8 months at 24°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least a couple of years. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away strongly.

Chemical constituents and nutritional value:Corm is 74% moisture; 0.73% ash; 5.1% protein; 18% carbohydrate providing about 1,000 calories per kilo; comparable in food value to kalabasa, superior to singkamas.Petioles of young unexpanded leaves are edible when thoroughly cooked.

Medicinal Uses: Corms are Carminative; Expectorant; Restorative; Caustic, Stomachic and Tonic. Roots are emmenagogue.Poultices of corm are antirheumatic. Also used for hemorrhoids.Roots are used for boils and hemorrhoids. Tubers are also used for hemorrhoids.

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The Root is dried and used in the treatment of piles and dysentery. The fresh root acts as an acrid stimulant and expectorant, it is much used in India in the treatment of acute rheumatism. Some caution is advised.

Click to see more medicinal uses of Elephant Yam ( Amorphophallus Campanulatus)

Edible Uses: Leaves; Root, Rhizome – cooked. Acrid raw, it must be thoroughly boiled or baked. A very large root, it can be up to 25cm in diameter. Caution is advised, see notes above on probable toxicity.
Leaves and petioles – they must be thoroughly cooked. Caution is advised, see notes above on possible toxicity.

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• Leaves and roots.
• Rhizomes preferably cooked, acrid when raw. May cause perioral burning and itching.
Folkloric
· Poultices of corm are antirheumatic. Also used for hemorrhoids.
· Roots are used for boils and hemorrhoids.
· Tubers are also used for hemorrhoids.
• In India, tuberous roots are used for treatment of piles, abdominal pains, tumors, spleen enlargement, asthma and rheumatism. source

Studies
• Antibacterial / Cytotoxic: Amblyone, a triterpenoid isolated from A campanulatus showed to have good antibacterial activity and moderate cytotoxic activity.
Hepatoprotective: Study on the hepatoprotective activity of AC corm on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.
• Antioxidant / Hepatoprotective: Study on ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Amorphophallus campanulatus showed antioxidant activity. Results showed potent hepatoprotective action against carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic damage. The possible mechanism of antioxidant activity may be due to the free radical scavenging potential from the flavonoids in the extracts.
• Analgesic: Study on the methanol extract of A campanulatus tuber showed significant analgesic activity.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a family where most of the members contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if hundreds of small needles are digging in to them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.

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

Resources:
http://gardeningwithwilson.com/2008/06/05/elephant-foot-yam-the-singapore-botanic-gardens/
http://stuartxchange.org/Pungapung.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Amorphophallus+paeoniifolius

http://www.stuartxchange.com/Pungapung.html

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