Botanical name: Dioscorea deltoidea Family: Dioscoreaceae (Yam family)
Synonyms: Tamus nepalensis, Dioscorea nepalensis
Nepal Yam is a hairless vine, twining clockwise. Tubers are ligneous, irregular. Alternately arranged leaves are simple, 5-11.5 cm long, 4-10.5 cm broad, ovate or triangular-ovate, often heart-shaped, the basal lobes rounded or sometimes dilated outwards, 7-9-nerved, long-pointed, hairless above, velvety on the nerves beneath. Leaf-stalks are 5-10 cm long, slender. Male flower spikes occur solitary in leaf axils, simple or sometimes branched, slender, lax, 7.5-25 cm long. Flowers are in small distant clusters; stamens 6, antheriferous. Female spikes are solitary, slender, up to 15 cm long, few-flowered. Capsule is 2 cm long, 3 cm broad, obovate or obcordate. Seeds are winged unequally all round. Nepal Yam is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Assam, Indo-China and W. China, at altitudes of 450-3100 m. Flowering: May-July.
Medicinal uses: The juice of the root tuber istaken in the evening in the treatment of roundworm. It is also used to alleviate constipation. The roots of most, if not all, members of this genus, contains diosgenin. This is widely used in modern medicine in order to manufacture progesterone and other steroid drugs. These are used as contraceptives and in the treatment of various disorders of the genitary organs as well as in a host of other diseases such as asthma and arthritis. The roots of this species contain an average of 4.8% diosgenin.
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