Dioscorea Plants: A Genus Rich in Vital Nutrapharmaceuticals- A Review

Document Type : Review Paper


1 Student Research Committee, School of Medicine, Bam University of Medical Sciences, Bam, Iran.

2 Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Gazi University, 06330 Ankara, Turkey.

3 Zabol Medicinal Plants Research Center, Zabol University of Medical Sciences, Zabol, Iran.

4 Department of Biosciences, COMSATS University, Park Road, Islamabad, Pakistan.

5 Department of Botany, Lahore College for Women University, Jail Road Lahore, Pakistan.

6 Department of Agriculture and Animal Health, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa, Private Bag X6, Florida, 1710, South Africa.

7 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Yaounde 1, Yaounde Po.Box 812, Cameroon.

8 Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University, Kasr El-Ainy Street, Cairo 11562, Egypt.

9 Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, October University for Modern Sciences and Arts (MSA), 12611 Cairo, Egypt.

10 Phytochemistry Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

11 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

12 Department of Pharmacy, University of Napoli Federico II, Via D. Montesano 49, 80131 Napoli, Italy.

13 CREA-Research Centre for Food and Nutrition, Via Ardeatina 546, 00178 Rome, Italy.

14 Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia.

15 Department of Pharmacy, University of Napoli Federico II, Via D. Montesano 49, 80131 Napoli, Italy


Dioscorea species, known as “Yams,” belong to family Dioscoreaceae. This genus consists of
more than 600 species distributed from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean’s South America, and the
South Pacific islands. Their organoleptic properties make them the most widely used carbohydrate
food and dietary supplements. The underground and/or aerial tubers represent valuable sources
of proteins, fats, and vitamins for millions of people in West Africa. This review gives a shot of
secondary metabolites of Dioscorea plants, including steroids, clerodane diterpenes, quinones,
cyanidins, phenolics, diarylheptanoids, and nitrogen-containing compounds. This review collected
the evidence on biological properties of description Dioscorea, including in-vitro and in-vivo studies.
Dioscorea species contain promising bioactive molecules i.e. diosgenin that support their different
biological properties, including antioxidant, hypoglycaemic, hypolipidemic, anti- antimicrobial,
inflammatory, antiproliferative, androgenic, estrogenic, and contraceptive drugs. Indeed, besides its
nutrient values, Dioscorea is a potential source of bioactive substances of interest in the prevention/
treatment of several diseases, and thus represents a great challenge in developing countries.
However, ethnomedicinal potential should be validated and further researches on pharmacological
properties and phytochemical composition should be carried out. Particularly, doing some studies
to convert the preclinical results to clinical efficacy should be guaranteed.


Main Subjects

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