Medicinal Herb Vidari/Alligator Yam (Ipomoea digitata)

Alligator Yam, Milky Yam and Vidari, Vidari-kanda are few common names of plant Ipomoea digitata. Ipomoea digitata is grown as ornamental plant. The plant is extensive perennial climber with large lobed leaves and beautiful pink or purple flowers.

Vidari Medicinal Uses
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Ipomoea digitata is used as medicine in Ayurveda and Southeast Asia for treatment of liver and spleen enlargement. It is also given in gynaecological ailments such as abnormally long and heavy menstrual periods at regular intervals. The plant is used as aphrodisiac, tonic and increasing breast milk. For medicinal purpose, the tuberous roots of plant are used.

General Information

Latin name: Ipomoea digitata Linn;Synonym: Ipomoea paniculata R. Br. Burm.;I. mauritiana Jacq.

Family: Convulvulaceae

Vernacular names

Sanskrit/Indian name: Vidari Ikshugandha, Ikshuvalli, Payasvini, Dirghakanda, Bhumi Kuahmanda

Bengali: Bhuh Kumdaa, Bhooi Kumhdaa, Bhumi kumar

English: Giant potato

Gujarati: Vidaaree Kand

Hindi: Vidaaree Kanda, Bhuh Kumdaa, Bhui Kumbhadaa

Kannada: Nelkumbal, Naadakumbala

Malayalam: Paalmutakku

Marathi: Bhui Kohalaa

Oriya: Bhuin Kakhaaru

Tamil: Nilappuchani, Paalmudamgi

Telugu: Paalagummudu, Nelagummudu


Ipomoea digitata is found growing in hotter and moist regions of India viz. Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Deccan, Konkan, Kerala.

Medicinal part of plant

The plant part that is used for medicinal purpose is large, tuberous roots. The roots are yellowish brown in colour and tastes bitter.

Constituents of roots

Phytochemical are bioactive compounds that are found in plants. These active substance protects plant from various diseases and due to presence of such compounds, the plants are useful in preventing and curing ailments. Different plants contains different phytochemicals.

This medicinal plant contains following phytochemicals:

The plant produces phytochemicals which have similarities in activity with the estrogen. This justifies its use in treatment of diseases related to female reproductive system.

The root contains Pterocarpan-tuberosin, pterocarpanone-hydroxytuberosone, two pterocarpenes-anhydrotuberosin and 3-O-methylanhydrotuberosin, and a coumestan tuberostan. An isoflavone-puerarone and a coumestan-puerarostan.

Effect of Ipomoea digitata root on body

  1. Following is given few pharmacological effects of Vidari Kanda on human body.
  2. Revitalizes body
  3. Reduces blood sugar level
  4. Increases weight
  5. Stimulates respiration
  6. Vasoconstrictor and bronchoconstriction effect
  7. Promotes rapid labor by stimulating contractions of the myometrium
  8. Liver protecting
  9. Reduces the lipid profile and lipoprotein levels

Ayurvedic Properties and Action on body

  1. Rasa (Taste): Tikta/Bitter, kashaya/Astringent, Madhura/Sweet
  2. Guna (Characteristics): Guru/Heavy, Snigdha/Unctuous, Tikshna/Sharp
  3. Virya (Potency): Sheet/ Cool
  4. Vipaka (Post Digestive Effect): Madhura/sweet

Dose of roots:3-6 grams powder.

Traditional Medicinal uses

Vidari or Aligator Yam is a medicinal plant with expectorant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant (seizures preventive) and aphrodisiac properties. The roots of plant has action on fat, muscles and reproductive system.

  1. The roots of plant are used to increase quantity of breast milk.
  2. The root powder is given in emaciation, debility, poor digestion.
  3. The dried roots are boiled in milk, added with ghee, sugar and given to improve weight and moderate menstrual discharge.
  4. The root powder is mild purgative and useful in constipation.
  5. In spermatorrhoea (involuntary discharge of semen without orgasm), the juice of fresh root is given with cumin/jeera and sugar.
  6. The roots are used in preparation of several Ayurvedic medicines like Phala Ghrita, Dhanvantara Taila,
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