Home Herbal Monograph Aligator Yam, Giant Potato, Milky Yam

The early Sanskrit writers mentioned it under the names 'Vidari' and 'Bhumi-Kushmanda'. In the Nighantas, it has several synonyms. It was part of the composition of several diuretic and demulcent mixtures. In the Konkan region of India, the root was peeled, cut in to small pieces and dried for use as an aphrodisiac. The 'Susruta' gave several prescriptions for its use as an aphrodisiac.


It is found in India in the east including Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, and the west coast from Konkan to Kerala. It grows mostly in moist areas, monsoon forests and in coastal tracts. The plant is also grown for ornamental purposes and trained against trellises and pillars.

Morphology Description (Habit)

An extensive perennial climber with large, ovoid and tuberous roots. The leaves are large, palmately 5-7 lobed, ovate, lanceolate, acute or acuminate, glabrous and with prominent nerves beneath. Flowers are widely campanulate and few to many in the axillary corymbose cymes. Corolla is purple and campanulate-infundibuliform. Ovary 4-celled. Capsules are small and ovoid. Seeds 4 in each fruit, black and woolly.

Principal Constituents
b -sitosterol was identified1. Taraxerol and sitosterol were also identified2.


It showed stimulant as well as depressant actions on different organ systems3.


There is no adverse effect reported on the use of this plant.


The root has alterative, aphrodisiac, tonic, stimulant properties and used in male infertility and inflammations.

  1. Indian J. Appl. Chem., 1964, 27, 155.
  2. Phytochemistry, 1972, 11, 2621.
  3. Indian J. Med. Sci., 1969, 23, 479.