Documentation on ethnomedicinal usages of different Dioscorea species (Yams) amongst the people of Bodoland Territorial Region, Assam, India

Paper Details

Research Paper 10/11/2022
Views (542) Download (54)

Documentation on ethnomedicinal usages of different Dioscorea species (Yams) amongst the people of Bodoland Territorial Region, Assam, India

Bhaigyaroti Muchahary, Uma Dutta
J. Bio. Env. Sci.21( 5), 46-55, November 2022.
Certificate: JBES 2022 [Generate Certificate]


Since the beginning of time, people have been using plants as a food source and as a medicine to treat various ailments. The current study aimed to explore and document the medicinal uses of Dioscorea (yams) in Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR), Assam. A survey was conducted among the people residing in four districts of BTR viz., Chirang, Kokrajhar, Baksa and Udalguri. The study shows that nine different species of Dioscorea namely, Dioscorea alata L., Dioscorea bulbifera L., Dioscorea deltoidea Wall. ex Griseb, Dioscorea esculenta (Lour.) Burkill., Dioscorea hamiltonii Hook.f., Dioscorea hispida Dennst., Dioscorea pentaphylla L., Dioscorea pubera Blume. and Dioscorea villosa L. occurring in this region have been used as a food source as well as for the treatment of various health ailments by different ethnic communities residing in this region. The relative abundance of individual Dioscorea species was also calculated and the result revealed that Dioscorea alata has the highest relative abundance in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Udalguri district, while in Baksa District; Dioscorea bulbifera has the maximum relative abundance.


Abhyankar RK, Upadhyay R. 2011. Ethnomedicinal studies of tubers of Hoshangabad, M.P. Bulletin of Environment, Pharmacology and Life Sciences 1(1), 57 -59.

Afiukwa CA, Ogah O, Ugwu OPC, Oguguo JO, Ali FU, Ossai EC. 2013. Nutritional and antinutritional characterization of two wild yam species from Abakaliki, Southeast Nigeria. Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences 4, 840-848.

Amanze NJ, Agbo NJ, Eke-Okoro ON, Njoku DN. 2011. Selection of yam seeds from open pollination for adoption in yam (Dioscorea rotundata Poir) production zones in Nigeria. Journal of Plant Breeding and Crop Science 3(4), 68-73.

Baro D, Baruah S, Borthukar SK. 2015. Documentation on wild vegetables of Baksa district, BTAD (Assam). Archives of Applied Science Research 7(9), 19-27.

Boro A, Bhattacharjee K, Sarma GC. 2011. Wild vegetables used by Bodo tribe in Udalguri District of Assam, India. Pleione 5(2), 209-216.

Burkill IH. 1960. The organography and the evolution of Dioscoreaceae, the family of the yams. Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Botany 56(367), 319-412.

Chaniad P, Tewtrakul S, Sudsai T, Langyanai S, Kaewdana K. 2020. Anti-inflammatory, wound healing and antioxidant potential of compounds from Dioscorea bulbifera L. bulbils. PLoS One 15(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243632.

Dey P, Boruah M, Yachna K, Rana V, Banik K, Choudhary H, Thakur KK, Dutta U, Arya A, Mao X, Ahn KS, Kunnumakkara AB. 2020. Diosgenin, a steroidal saponin, and its analogs: Effective therapies against different chronic diseases. Life Sciences 260, 118182. DOI: 10.1016/j.lfs.2020.

Dutta B. 2015. Food and medicinal values of certain species of Dioscorea with special reference to Assam. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 3(4), 15-18.

Jain SK, Rao RR. 1977. A Handbook of Field and Herbarium Methods. Today & Tomorrow’s Printers and Publishers, New Delhi.

Kamble SY, Patil SR, Sawant PS, Sawant S, Pawar SG, Singh EA. 2010. Studies on plants used in traditional medicines by Bhilla tribe of Maharashtra. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 9, 591 – 598.

Kumar S, Das G, Shin HS and Patra JK. 2017. Dioscorea spp. (A Wild Edible Tuber): A Study on Its Ethnopharmacological Potential and Traditional Use by the Local People of Similipal Biosphere Reserve, India. Frontiers in Pharmacology 8, 52.

Lev LS, Shriver AL. 1998. A trend analysis of yam production, area, yield, and trade (1961-1996). In Ligname, Plante Seculaire et Culture Davenir. Actes du Seminaire International CIRAD-INRA-ORSTOM-CORAF (Montpellier: CIRAD) 8-10.

Obidiegwu JE, Lyons JB, Chilaka CA. 2020. The Dioscorea Genus (Yam)- An Appraisal of Nutritional and Therapeutic Potentials. Foods 9, 1304.

Okwu DE, Ndu CU. 2006. Evaluation of the Phytonutrients, Mineral and Vitamin Contents of Some Varieties of Yam (Dioscorea sp.). International Journal of Molecular Medicine and Advance Sciences 2, 199-203.

Olayemi JO, Ajaiyeoba EO. 2007. Anti-inflammatory studies of yam (Dioscorea esculenta) extract on Wistar rats. African Journal of Biotechnology 6(16), 1913-1915.

Padhan B, Nayak JK, Panda D. 2020. Natural antioxidant potential of selected underutilized wild yams (Dioscorea spp.) for health benefit. Journal of Food Science and Technology 57(6), 2370-2376.

Padhan B, Panda D. 2020. Potential of Neglected and Underutilized Yams (Dioscorea spp.) for Improving Nutritional Security and Health Benefits. Frontiers in Pharmacology 11, 496.

Park JM, Kim YJ, Kim JS, Han YM, Kangwan N, Hahm KB, Kim TS, Kwon O, Kim EH. 2013. Anti-inflammatory and carbonic anhydrase restoring actions of yam powder (Dioscorea spp) contribute to the prevention of cysteamine-induced duodenal ulcer in a rat model. Nutrition Research 33(8), 677-85.

Polycarp D, Afoakwa EO, Budu AS, Otoo E. 2012. Characterization of chemical composition and anti-nutritional factors in seven species within the Ghanaian yam (Dioscorea) germplasm. International Food Research Journal (Malaysia) 19(3), 985-992.

Prain D, Burkill IH. 1936. An account of the genus Dioscorea in the East. Part 1. Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta 14, 1-210.

Sethi G, Shanmugam MK, Warrier S, Merarchi M, Arfuso F, Kumar AP, Bishayee A. 2018. Pro-Apoptotic and Anti-Cancer Properties of Diosgenin: A Comprehensive and Critical Review. Nutrients 10(5), 645.

Shajeela PS, Mohan VR, Jesudas LL, Soris PT. 2011. Nutritional and anti-nutritional evaluation of wild yam (Dioscorea spp.). Tropical and subtropical Agroecosystems 14(2), 723-730.

Sharma BD, Hore DK. 1995. Genetic resource of yams in N.E. India with special reference to Garo Hills, Meghalaya. Indian Journal of Hill Farming 8, 145-151.

Srivastava RC, Community N. 2010. Traditional knowledge of Nyishi (Daffla) tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 9, 26-37.

Viruel J, Segarra-Moragues JG, Raz L, Forest F, Wilkin P, Sanmartin I, Catalan P. 2016. Late Cretaceous-Early Eocene origin of yams (Dioscorea, Dioscoreaceae) in the Laurasian Palaearctic and their subsequent Oligocene-Miocene diversification. Journal of Biogeography 43(4), 750-762.