Dioscorea – Source, diagnostic characters, constituents and uses


Source, diagnostic characters, constituents and uses

Source, diagnostic characters, constituents and uses of Dioscorea


At the end of this lecture, student will be able to

Source, diagnostic characters, constituents and uses of Dioscorea


Dioscorea, commonly known as yam, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Dioscoreaceae.

It comprises over 600 species, many cultivated for their edible tubers.

Dioscorea has been a staple food and medicinal plant in various cultures for centuries.

Its tubers, which vary in size, shape, and color, are a valuable source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Dioscorea species are distributed across tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, with several species prized for their culinary and therapeutic properties.


• Yam, rheumatism root


• Dried tubers of Dioscorea deltoidea, D. compositae and other species


• Colur- light brown

• Odour – Odourless

• Taste – bitter

• Size- varies


Steroidal sapogenin – diosgenin– hydrolytic product of saponin, dioscin

• Glycoside- Smilagenin, Epismilagenin, Yammogenin

• Starch- non edible- bitter

• Enzyme – sapogenase


• Source of diosgenin

• Diosgenin – precursor for corticosteroids, sex hormones, oral contraceptives

• Rheumatic arthritis

Allied species

D. floribunda

D. villosa

Costus speciosus – alternate source for diosgenin- substitute for dioscorea

FAQs about Dioscorea

  1. Can yams help with weight management? Yes, yams are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a filling and nutritious food choice for individuals looking to manage their weight. Incorporating yams into a balanced diet can support satiety and promote healthy weight loss.
  2. Are there any medicinal uses of Dioscorea besides hormonal balance? Yes, Dioscorea species have been traditionally used to treat various health conditions, including digestive disorders, respiratory infections, and skin ailments. The bioactive compounds present in yams exhibit diverse pharmacological effects and may offer therapeutic benefits beyond hormonal regulation.
  3. Is Dioscorea safe for pregnant women? While yams are generally considered safe for consumption during pregnancy, pregnant women should exercise caution when using yam-based supplements or extracts, as their safety during pregnancy has not been thoroughly studied. It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating yam products into your pregnancy diet.
  4. Can individuals with diabetes consume yams? Yes, yams can be included in a diabetes-friendly diet, as they have a lower glycemic index compared to other starchy vegetables and are rich in fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. However, portion control and monitoring blood glucose levels are essential for individuals with diabetes to manage their carbohydrate intake effectively.
  5. Are there any cultural or ceremonial uses of yams? Yes, yams hold cultural significance in many societies, where they are often used in traditional ceremonies and rituals to symbolize fertility, prosperity, and abundance. In some cultures, yams are offered as gifts or used as ceremonial offerings during religious festivals and celebrations.

Also, Visit:

B. Pharma Notes | B. Pharma Notes | Study material Bachelor of Pharmacy pdf

B. Pharma Handwritten Notes

B. Pharma PDF Books

B. Pharma Lab Manual

D. Pharma Lab Manual

B. Pharma 8th Semester Previous Year Question Paper

D. Pharma Notes