Basic Information



Species                       : Dioscorea deltoida Wall.

Local Name                : Byakur (Nep), Gebokkanak(Lep)

Synonym                     : D. pentaphylla L.

Family                         : Dioscoreaceae

Habitat                       : An extensive climber perennial herb. Grows in forests rich in  organic matter of

                                      forests of temperate Himalaya.


Distribution                  : Distributed in the alpine and sub- alpine areas.

Sikkim                           : Ravong (Hee- Gyathang), Lingthem, Lingdem, Sakyong, Bay, Busuk forest, Rinchenpong, Kaluk, Lingdong (East Sikkim),

                                      Kabhi, Leek.

Out side                       : Distributed in the alpine zone of Western Himachal Pradesh and Jammu- Kashmir (Bat kote, Besu, Ferozpur, Dachhigam forest,

                                     Kishanganga valley, Jakhar, Jhelum valley, Srinagar, Butna valley, Bhadrawah), Himachal Pradesh (Manali, Saraham, Nichar,

                                     Basdpa valley, Kinnaur, Sangla,Lahul, Simla, Narkunda); UttarPradesh (Mussoorie, Bhyundar valley, Magra, Deolasari,

                                     Glovaona, Tolma, Chamoli, Jhumnotri, Gangotri, Nandagiri valley, Mundali, Chakrata forest, Dehradun).

Morphological information

Perennial, climbing herb having horizontal rhizome near the surface chestnut brown outside with rectangular cracks. Stems unarmed, twinning to the left. Leaves alternate, ovate- lanceolate. Flowers in spike, male flowers 1- 3 in long spike female flower 1- 3 in long spike. Female flowers on pendant spike capsules 4- 6, wings broadly rounded. Seeds usually winged all round but sometime only one side light yellowish- brown coloured at maturity.

Flowering                       : May-July

Fruiting                          :

History                          :

Parts                             : Tubers.

Status                           : Endangered


Trioside and tetraoside (I) of furostanol type, diosgenin and their acetates isolated from rhizomes and their structures determined (I ZV. Akad. Nauk SSST. Ser Khim 1975, 90; Chem. Abstr 1975, 82, 156636 r).Two new compounds- 4- hydroxy- 2- (Trans 3', 7 methylocta  2’ 6' -dienyl)- 6- methoxy- acetophenone (I) and 4, 6- dihydroxy- 2- O (4- hydroxybutyl) acetophenone (II) -  isolated and characterized ( Phytochemistry 1989, 28, 947).

Agrocultivation       : The plant can be propagated by seeds, rihizome pieces or stem cuttings.


Diosgenin a steroid is considered suitable for the manufacture of oral contraceptives and the sex hormones.Certicateroids in the form of cortisones and hydrocortisone's are used for the treatment of rheumatism, rheumatic fevers, arthritis and other collagen disease of skin, eye and the ear.Both male and female sex hormones are synthesized from diosgenin. The male hormone testosterone and its derivatives are used to correct the male hormonal deficiency, especially in certain cases of impotency. These are also used for the treatment of breast cancer and menopause and various forms of uterine bleeding. Testosterone is inactive orally so it is converted into various derivatives. The main female sex hormones are estrogens and progesterone. Estrogen is used to suppress symptoms of natural or surgical menopause, local a tropic changes in the adult vagina and vulva, gonorrheal vaginitis. It is also used in cosmetic lotions and creams to improve tone and colour of the skin in women. Progesterone is mainly used as antifertility agent in the form of oral contraceptive.



 1. Chopra, R.N; S.L. Nayar; I.C. Chopra (1999). Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants. National Institute of Science Communication CSIR, New Delhi, 97.

2. Dr. Hussain, Akhtar (1993). Medicinal Plants and their Cultivation, CIMAP, Lucknow. 55- 65.

3. Kumar, Sushil; Janardhan Singh; N.C Shah; Vinay Ranjan (1997). Indian Medicinal and Aromatic Plants facing Genetic Erosion, CIMAP, Lucknow. 101- 104.

4. Progress Report of the Project "Studies on Medicinal Plants of Sikkim" (1998- 2001). State Council of Science and Technology for Sikkim.

5. Thakur, R.S.; H.S. Puri; Akhtar Hussain (1989). Major Medicinal Plants of India, CIMAP, Lucknow. 261- 263