Dioscorea bulbifera L.

DeFilipps, Robert A. & Krupnick, Gary A., 2018, The medicinal plants of Myanmar, PhytoKeys 102, pp. 1-341: 62-63

publication ID


persistent identifier


treatment provided by

PhytoKeys by Pensoft

scientific name

Dioscorea bulbifera L.


Dioscorea bulbifera L.  


Myanmar: kway, ah-lu-thi, putsa-u. English: aerial yam, air potato, potato yam.


Tropical Africa and Asia. In Myanmar, found in Chin, Kachin, Mandalay, Mon, Sagaing, and Shan.


In Upper Myanmar, the plant is considered to be a galactagogue.


In China the tubers are considered cooling and antidotal; used internally and externally as remedies for sore throat, boils, swelling, and poisonous snakebites In the Philippines the powder obtained from scraping the axial fruit (bulblets) is rubbed on the abdomen ( Perry 1980). Medicinal uses of this species in China are also discussed by Duke and Ayensu (1985). Medicinal uses of the species in India are discussed in Jain and DeFilipps (1991). Chemical constituents, pharmacological action, and medicinal use of this species in Indian Ayurveda are discussed in detail by Kapoor (1990). Indigenous medicinal uses of this species in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India) are described by Dagar and Singh (1999). The medicinal uses of this plant in the Caribbean region, as well as its chemistry, biological activity, toxicity and dosages, are discussed by Germosén-Robineau (1997).

The tubers contain tannin, saponin, and alkaloids (poisonous); also, both the bulblets and the tubers contain a toxic principle removable by repeated washings and cooking ( Perry 1980). The chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, and use of this species as a hunting poison and medicinal plant in Africa are discussed by Neuwinger (1994). The toxic properties, symptoms, treatment and beneficial uses of this plant, parts of which are poisonous, are discussed by Nellis (1997).


Perry (1980), Forest Department (1999).