Pachyrhizus erosus (L.) Urb.
The species is indigenous to Central America (from Southern Mexico to Nicaragua and Costa Rica), and has naturalized elsewhere after introduction. It is cultivated as a tuber crop in the West Indies, in South and South-East Asia from the islands of the Indian Ocean, India, Myanmar, Indo China, Southern China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Pacific Islands, and to a lesser extent in tropical South America, Africa, and Australia.
Cây cӫ dұu (Vietnamese:), Man kaeo (Thai), Achipa (Spanish), Jacatupé (Portuguese), Kamias (Philippines), Fagiolo patata (Italian), Kuzuimo (Japanese), and Bengkuang (Indonesia).
The plant thrives in a warm, humid tropical climate from near sea level to 1,400 m elevation with an optimum temperature range of 20–28 °C in zones with approximately 1,500 mm mean annual rainfall. It prefers full sun and rich, moist, well-drained light, sandy-loamy, alluvial or volcanic soils; waterlogged soil is detrimental as it causes rotting of tubers.
- Roots – Edible root, the plant produces one or more turnip-shaped to elongated tubers up to 30 cm in diameter and 25 cm long. Mature tubers can reach 2 m long and weigh up to 20 kilos.
- Stems – climbing or trailing plant producing annual.
- Leaves – pinnately trifoliate, coarse, stipules lanceolate or falcate, 0.5–1 cm long, petiole 10–15 cm long.
- Flowers – shortly pedicelled, bluish-violet, glabrous, bracteoles at base of calyx, corolla glabrous.
- Pods – subsessile, linear, acuminate, compressed, finely pubescent, 5–10 seeded, 7.5–15 cm long, and 1.2–1.6 cm wide.
- Seeds – flat rounded to squarish, olive-green to brown or reddish-brown.
- By seeds – presoak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in situ.
- By division of the root tubers.
- By cuttings.
Alpa hydroxyl acid (AHA), pachyrhizon, rotenon, saponins, flavonoids, thiamin, pirydoxin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, and askorbic acid.
TRADITIONAL MEDICINAL USES
- The oil obtained from the seeds is purgative in doses of 40 gms.
- The seeds have been shown to have antifungal, antisecretory, antibacterial, and spasmolytic activities.
- Decreased locomotor activity, muscle relaxation, antianxiety, and anti-aggressive activity. Another study has shown moderate anti-herpes simplex virus activity.
- Studies have suggested antiviral, anti-osteoporosis, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, insecticidal, and skin whitening properties.
- A decoction of the roots is used as a diuretic, and also in the treatment of fevers and haemorrhages.
- A warmed poultice of the stem pulp is applied to painful areas in the leg.
- A tincture made from seeds is used in the treatment of herpes.
- Fern, K. (2014). Useful Tropical Plants. Pachyrhizus erosus (L.) Urb. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Pachyrhizus+erosus. 20-07-2020.
- Lim, T.K. (2012). Edible Medicinal and Non Medicinal Plants – Fruits Vol.10: 465-481.
- StuartXchange. (2016). Philippine Medicinal Plants. Sinkamas. http://www.stuartxchange.com/Sinkamas.html. 06-02-2021.