DIOSCOREA BULBIFERA L.

Dioscorea sativa Thunb.
Family: Dioscoreaceae

Bengali/vernacular name: Banalu, Chamalu, Suaralu, Ratalu, Pagla Alu.
Tribal name: Vole komra (Tripura), Hu-apy (Khumi), Mo alu (Chakma), Tha maitok (Marma), Thaktoi(Tripura), Chang Foya (Marma), Ta Su Dhui (Marma).
English name: Yam, Potato Yam, Air Potato.

Description of the plant:
A large twinner, tubers variable. Bulbils numerous, irregular in shape, 2.5 cm or more across, warted. Stem twining to the left. Leaves usually alternate, 10-15 cm long, ovate, acuminate, base more or less deeply cordate. Male spikes 5-10 cm long, clustered, axillary or in leafless panicle. Female spikes 1-25 cm long, in axillary clusters of 2-5. Capsules, 1.8-2.2 cm, oblong.

Using information:
The tubers are tonic, alterative, aphrodisiac, stomachic, expectorant, anthelmintic and astringent to the bowels; used in syphilis, piles, dysentery, diarrhoea, ulcers, bronchitis and asthma; also useful in dyspepsia, urinary discharges and leucoderma. The skin and the juice of tubers are used as vasicatories (Yusuf et al. 2009).

Chemical constituents:
Tuber contains steroidal saponins, diosgenin, bitter and non-bitter terpenes, norditerpene glucosides, diosbulbinoside D & F, a large number of diosbulbins, diterpene lactones, phenanthrenes, dihydrophenanthrene, furanoid nor-diterpenes and d-sorbitol. Bulbils also contain diosgenin (Ghani, 2003).

Distribution:
Forests of Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Tracts and other places of the country.