Family • Convolulaceae - Ipomoea batatas Linn. - SWEET POTATO - Fan shu

Scientific names

Batatas edulis Choisy
Convolvulus batatas Linn.
Convolvulus edulis (Thunb.) Choisy
Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam. var. batatas.

Common names

Kamote (all dialects)
Lapni (If.)
Pangg-bagun (Sul.)
Tigsi (Bis.)
Tugi (Bon.)
Uala, uwala (Hawaii)
Sweet potato (Engl.)
Yam (Engl.)
Fan shu (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

ARABIC: Batâtah hhulwah (Egypt). KHMER: Dâmlô:ng chvië.
AYMARA: Pua, Tipali, Tuctuca. KOREAN: Ko gu ma.
BURMESE: Kan-swun:kri, U.kan-swun. LAOTIAN: Man kè:w.
CHINESE: Fan shu, Bai shu, Gan shu, Kan chou. MALAY: Ubi keladi, Ubi keladek, Ketela rambat (Java), Ubi jalar (Indonesia).
DANISH: Sød kartoffel, Batat. NORWEGIAN: Søtpoteter.
DUTCH: Zoete aardappel, Bataat. PORTUGUESE: Batata doce, Batata da ilha (Brazil).
FRENCH: Patate douce. QUECHUAN: Apichu.
GERMAN: Süßkartoffel, Suesskartoffel, Batate. SPANISH: Batata, Boniato, Camote, Cumala huasca, Cumal huasca, Cumara, Curiti, Jarissi jabo.
GREEK: Glikopatata. SUNDANESE: Huwi boled.
HINDI: Mitha alu, Sakarkand, Shakar kanda. TAMIL: Carkkaraivalli, Ciignikkilangu, Vattaalagnkilangu, Vellikkilangu.
ITALIAN: Patata dolce. THAI: Man thet.
JAPANESE: Satsuma imo, Satsuma imo, Satsuma imo, Ryuukyuu imo, Kara imo, Kan sho. VIETNAMESE: Khoai lang, Khoai mon.

Kamote is a spreading, prostrate, herbaceous, smooth or somewhat hairy vine. Stems or runners, sprawling several meters long, take root when in contact with soil. Leaves are ovate to oblong-ovate, 6 to 14 centimeters long, somewhat entire, with alternate heart-shaped or palmately lobed leaves, pointed at the tip, and heart-shaped at the base. Flowers are sympetalous like that of morning glory, 5 centimeters long, funnel-shaped, purple, self sterile, and rarely producing seeds. Stamens are 5, of different lengths attached to corolla (epipetalous) with hairy filaments. Sepals are about 1 centimeter long and greenish with pointed lobes. Corolla is funnel shaped, 4 to 5 centimeters long, pink, purple, and whitish. The edible and sweet-tasting tuberous root is long and tapered with a smooth skin of varying colors from red, purple, brown and white. The flesh varies from white, orange, purple and yellow.


– A warm season crop extensively cultivated in the Philippines.
– Can be planted any time of the year.
– Easily propagated from stem cuttings.
– Introduced by the Spaniards from Mexico in the early colonial period.
– Cultivated in all warm countries.


• Leaves have a high content of polyphenolics – anthocyanins and phenolic acids, with at least 15 biologically active anthocyanins with medicinal value.
• Polyphenols have physiologic functions, radical scavenging activity, antimutagenic, anticancer, antidiabetes and antibacterial activity in vitro and vivo.
• Study isolated four compounds: citrusin C, caffeic acid, 3,4-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid and 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-beta-carboline-3-carboylic acid.
• Nutrient and anti-nutrient study of leaves yielded: crude protein, 24.85%; crude fat, 4.90%; crude fibre, 7.20%; ash, 11.10%; carbohydrate, 51.95%; moisture contents, 82.21%; and calorific values, 351.30. Vitamin composition showed: vitamin A, 0.672 mg/100g; vitamin C, 15.20 mg/100g. Elemental analysis showed appreciable levels of zinc (0.08), potassium (4.05), sodium (4.23), manganese (4.64), calcium (28.44), magnesium (340.00) and iron (16.00). It showed low levels of toxicants.


• Considered antioxidant, antimutagenic, antibacterial, antidiabetic.
• Considered hemostatic, spleen invigorating.

Parts utilized
Tops, leaves and edible roots.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) BIOACTIVE COMPOUNDS IN IPOMOEA BATATAS LEAVES / S. Islam et al / ISHS Acta Horticulturae 628: XXVI International Horticultural Congress: Issues and Advances in Postharvest Horticulture

(2) Antidiabetic activity of white skinned sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) in obese Zucker fatty rats / KUSANO S., ABE H. / Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin, 2000, Vol 23, pp 23-26

(3) Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam ‘Tainong 57’) storage root mucilage with antioxidant activities in vitro / Dong-Jiann Huanga, Hsien-Jung Chenb, Wen-chi Houc, Chun-Der Lina, Yaw-Huei Lina / Food Chemistry
Volume 98, Issue 4, 2006, Pages 774–781

(4) Sweet Potato / Wikipedia

(5) Hemostatic mistura of ipomoea balatas leaves, methods of preparation and use thereo/ United States Patent Application 20070160701 Kind Code: A1 / Info Agchem Adjuvants/ FPO

(6) Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L.) Leaf: Its Potential Effect on Human Health and Nutrition / Shahidul Islam* / Journal of Food Science, Volume 71, Issue 2, pages R13–R121, March 2006 / DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2621.2006.tb08912.x

(7) Efficacy of Ipomoea batatas (Caiapo) on Diabetes Control in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects Treated With Diet / Bernhard Ludvik, MD et al / doi: 10.2337/diacare.27.2.436 Diabetes Care February 2004 vol. 27 no. 2 436-440

(8) Antidiabetic activity of flavone from Ipomoea Batatas leaf in non-insulin dependent diabetic rats / Rui Zhao, Qingwang Li et al / International Journal of Food Science & Technology / Volume 42 Issue 1, Pages 80 – 85

(9) Detection of Chitinolytic Enzymes in Ipomoea batatas Leaf Extract by Activity Staining after Gel Electrophoresis / Chun-Yi Liau et al / Journal of Chinese Medical Society, 2008, 55, 678-681

(10) Antioxidative and Antimutagenic Potentials of Phytochemicals from Ipomoea batatas / International Journ of Cancer Research 2009 / Intisar Islam et al

(12) Improved metabolic control by Ipomoea batatas (Caiapo) is associated with increased adiponectin and decreased fibrinogen levels in type 2 diabetic subjects / Ludvik B et al / Diabetes Obes Metab. 2008 Jul;10(7):586-92. Epub 2007 Jul 21.

(13) The Effect of Ipomoea batatas (Caiapo) on Glucose Metabolism and Serum Cholesterol in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes — A randomized study / Bernhard H. Ludvik, MD, Katja Mahdjoobian, MD, Werner Waldhaeusl, MD, Astrid Hofer, RN, Rudolf Prager, MD, Alexandra Kautzky-Willer, MD and Giovanni Pacini, DSC / doi: 10.2337/diacare.25.1.239 Diabetes Care January 2002 vol. 25 no. 1

(14) Anti-ulcer activity of Ipomoea batatas tubers (sweet potato) / Vandana Panda*and Madhav Sonkamble / Functional Foods in Health and Disease 2012, 2(3):48-61

(15) Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam `Tainong 57′) constituents / Dong-Jiann HUANG, Chun-Der LIN, Hsien-Jung CHEN, and Yaw-Huei LIN /
Bot. Bull. Acad. Sin. (2004) 45: 179-18

(16) Studies on chemical constituents from Ipomoea batatas / Yin YQ, Shen ZB, Kong LY. / Zhong Yao Cai. 2008 Oct;31(10):1501-3.

(17) Study on antitumor effect and its toxicity of Ipomoea Batatas Poir Cv anthocyanins / Liu N, Wang H, Wang C. / Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2008 Jul;37(4):489-91.

(18) Wound healing activity of Ipomoea batatas tubers (sweet potato) / Vandana Panda, Madhav Sonkamble, and Swati Patil / Functional Foods in Health and Disease 2011; 10:403-415

(19) Effect of Ipomoea batatas leaf extract on the thyroid- gonadal axis of male Wistar rats / P. B. Udoh*, F. V. Udoh, I. S. Umo and E. V. Ikpeme / Journal of Physiology and Pathophysiology Vol. 1(2), pp. 18-21, August 2010

(20) Mode of action of ipomoea batatas (Caiapo) in type 2 diabetic patients. / Ludvik B, Waldhäusl W, Prager R, Kautzky-Willer A, Pacini G. / Metabolism. 2003 Jul;52(7):875-80.

(21) Study of Ulcer Protective Effect of Ipomea batatas (L.) Dietary Tuberous Roots (Sweet Potato) / Rengarajan Sathish, Rani M, Kumaresapillai Natarajan / Iranian Journal of Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2012. 11(1):36-39.

(22) Nutritive and Anti-Nutritive Evaluation of Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) Leaves / B.S. Antia, E.J. Akpan, P.A. Okon and I.U. Umoren / Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 5 (2): 166-168, 2006

(23) Antioxidant activity, phenolic and flavonoid contents in the leaves of different varieties of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) / Seow-Mun Hue, Amru Nasrulhaq Boyce and Chandran Somasundram / AJCS 6(3):375-380 (2012)


(25) Effects on hematological and biochemical parameters in albino mice fed Ipomoea batatas leaf aqueous extract / Udem, Samuel; Asogwa, Ogochukwu / omparative Clinical Pathology;Oct2011, Vol. 20 Issue 5, p475

(26) Effects of White-Skinned Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) on Pancreatic Beta Cells and Insulin Expression in Streptozotocin Induced Diabetic Rats. / Aan Royhan, Rina Susilowati, Sunarti / Majalah Kesehatan PharmaMedika, 2009 Vol.1, No.2

(27) Anti-hyperglycemic Effect of Diacylated Anthocyanin Derived from Ipomoea batatas Cultivar Ayamurasaki Can Be Achieved through the α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Action / Toshiro Matsui ,*Sumi Ebuchi, Mio Kobayashi, Keiichi Fukui, Koichi Sugita, Norihiko Terahara, and Kiyoshi Matsumoto / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2002, 50 (25), pp 7244–7248 / DOI: 10.1021/jf025913m

– Leaves and roots are edible.
– Has a higher nutritional value than the common potato.
– Good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, calcium and phosphorus.
– High in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber; deficient in protein.
– Leafy tops eaten as vegetables.
– A component of many traditional cuisines.
– A staple food crop in some countries.


– Tops, especially purplish ones, used for diabetes.
– Crushed leaves applied to boils and acne.
– Boiled roots used for diarrhea.
– In Southwest Nigeria, hot water infusion of the whole plant used in the management of diabetes mellitus.
Starch and industrial alcohol production.

• Dengue: Like gatas-gatas (Euphorbia hirta), there have been anecdotal reports of the use of Ipomoea batatas in dengue, with improvement in platelet counts being attributed to decoctions of kamote tops.
Preparation: kamote tops are boiled in water for 5 minutes to extract the juice

Study Findings
• Diabetes: Despite its “sweet” name, it may be beneficial for diabetes as some studies suggest it may
stabilize blood sugars and lower insulin resistance.
• Diabetes: Study showed the flavone extracted from IB leaf could control blood sugar and modulate the metabolism of glucose and blood lipid, and decrease outputs of lipid peroxidation and scavenge the free radicals in non-insulin dependent diabetic rats.
• Hematologic / Hemostatic: Hemostatic mixture of ipomoea balatas leaves, methods of preparation and use thereof — a Jinshuye styptic plant preparation, an invention made from the extracts of leaf and stems of Ipomoea batatas has qi and spleen invigorating effects, cooling the blood and stopping bleeding. Such a composition has the potential of use for ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), radiotherapy- and chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia.
• Root Crops as Antioxidant: A 2006 study of commonly consumed roots crops in the Philippines (Kamote, Ipomoea batatas; ubi, purple yam, Dioscorea alata; cassava, Manihot esculenta; taro or gabi, Colocasia esculenta; carrot, Daucus carota; yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) showed them to be rich sources of phenolic compounds with antioxidant activity, highest in sweet potato, followed by taro, potato, purple yam and lowest in the carrot.
• Antioxidant: Study results suggest the total phenolic content was positively correlated with radical scavenging activities of the sweet potato leaves.
• Antioxidant / Anthocyanins: Purple Sweet Potato anthocyanins have antioxidative activity in vivo as well as in vitro.
• Diabetes / Anti-Diabetic and Lipid Effects: Results suggest the white skinned sweet potato has antidiabetic activity and and improves glucose and lipid metabolism by reducing insulin resistance.
• Diabetes: Study to isolate the antidiabetic component of white-skinned sweet potato suggested the active component to be an acidic glycoprotein because it contained a protein and sugar and adsorbed onto the QA column at pH 7.0.
• Caiapo: Study confirmed the beneficial effects of Caiapo (a neutraceutical) on plasma glucose with a decrease in Hb A1c, as well as cholesterol levels, in type 2 diabetes patients.
• Sweet potato root with antioxidant activities in vitro / Mucilage: Mucilage might contribute its antioxidant activities against both hydoxyl and peroxyl radicals.
• Flavonoids: Leaf extract study isolated five news compounds: tiliroside, astragalin, rhamnocitrin, rhamnetin and kaempferol.
• Chitinases: Study identified new chitinolytic enzymes in sweet potato leaves. Chitinases catalyze the hydrolysis of chitin, the main structural component of fungal walls and arthropod integuments. Studies suggest it has other functions and has been proposed to play a role in the defense against pathogens. Chitinases are also useful in the production of biomedical and biotech products; used in the production of chitooligosaccharides, glucosamines and GlcNAc. Other applications are found in mosquito control and pathogenic plant fungi control.
• Antioxidant / Antiproliferative: Study demonstrated that the phytochemicals in sweet potato may have significant antioxidant and anticancer activities. The antioxidant activity was directly related to the total amount of phenolics and flavonoids in the extracts. The additive roles of phytochemicals may contribute to its ability in inhibiting tumor cell proliferation in vitro.
• Antidiabetic / Adiponectin / Natural Insulin Sensitizer: Study confirms the beneficial effects of Caiapo on glucose and HbA1c in T2DM. The improvement in insulin sensitivity was accompanied by increased levels of adiponectin and a decrease in fibrinogen.
• Effects on Glucose and LDL in Type2 Diabetes / Antiproliferative: Pilot study showed a beneficial effect of high-dose caiapo on plasma glucose and LDL cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes The effect was attributed
• Antiulcer: Study in cold stress and aspirin-induced gastric ulcers in Wistar rats showed Ipomoea batatas tubers possess gastroprotective activity as shown by inhibition of mean ulcer score and ulcer index and a marked increase in GSH, SOD, CAT, GPx, and GR levels and reduction in lipid peroxidation in a dose-dependent manner. An ethanolic extract of Ipomoea batatas showed antiulcer activity as evidenced by significant inhibitory effects on pylorus ligated and cold restraint stress induced ulcer.
• Antiproliferative / Antioxidant: Study examined the antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of different extracts of sweet potato. In the DPPH staining, the ethanol extract of vein had the highest radical-scavenging activity. Among the extracts the ethanol extract showed the highest amount of total phenolic and flavonoid compounds. The water extract of the vein showed the highest antiproliferative activity with an EC50 of 449.6 ± 27.73 ug/mL.
• Comparative Antioxidant Properties / Natural Yellow Dye: Study showed the carotenoids extraction process retained most of the antioxidant capacity from the leaves. It is also a potential source of natural yellow dye with antioxidant property that can be beneficial to human health, as an alternative to the artificial coloring dye currently used in the market.
• Anthocyanins / Antitumor Effect: Study showed Ipomoea batatas Poir Cv anthocyanins could have an inhibitory effect on transplantation tumor of mice, with no toxicity and no mutation.
• Wound Healing: In an incision wound model, high tensile strength of the wounded skin was noted in animals treated with peel extract gels and the peel bandage when compared to controls. There was also significant wound closure by the 4th day, a significant increase in hydroxyproline and ascorbic acid and decrease in malondialdehyde content. The wound healing activity was attributed to possible underlying antioxidant mechanism.
• Hypoglycemic Effect: Study in STZ-induced hyperglycemic rats fed oral doses of extracts showed significant dose-related reductions in FBG. Phytochemical analysis of the extract showed alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, anthraquinones and reducing sugars.
• Thyroid-Gonadal Axis Effect: Study investigated the effect of a leaf extract on the thyroid gonadal axis of male rats. Results showed follicles hypertrophy and hyperplasia and reduction of colloid in the follicular lumen. Testes morphology showed oligospermia, asthenospermia and abnormal sperm morphology. Results suggest a male contraceptive property of the plant extract, the mechanism possibly as both a direct effect on the gonads of indirectly via the hypothalamo-hypophyseal axis.
• Mode of Action in Type 2 Diabetes: Study describes the underlying mechanism responsible for improvement in metabolic control following administration of Caiapo in type 2 diabetic patients. Results suggest that in short term use of Caiapo, improved metabolic control of T2DM was achieved by decreasing insulin resistance without affecting body weight, glucose effectiveness or insulin dynamics.
• Reduction of Food Intake, FBS, and Body Weight: Study evaluated the effect of aqueous extract of Ipomoea batatas on food intake, fasting blood glucose and body weight in male wistar rats. Results showed reduction in food intake probably by increasing satiety and reduction in weight gain by using up the body’s reserve of fat as a result of low blood glucose.
• Nutritive and Anti-Nutritive Evaluation: Study evaluated levels of some nutrients and antinutrients of sweet potato leaves. Results showed leaves contain an appreciable amount of proteins, minerals, fat, fibre, carbohydrate, caloric values (energy) and low levels of toxicants except for oxalate whose value is reduced by cooking. Results suggest leaves can contribute significantly to nutrient requirements of man.
• Antioxidant Activity / Phenolic and Flavonoid Contents / Leaves: Study evaluating six leafy varieties of Ipomoea batatas showed the presence of total flavonoids, total phenolics, reducing activity, and the ability to scavenge free radicals, and suggest leaves can be used as a potential source of natural antioxidants.
• In Vitro Cytotoxic and Antioxidant Activity: An ethanolic extract of Ipomoea batatas showed potent cytotoxic activity in trypan blue dye exclusion method using DLA cell lines and exhibited a dose dependent decrease in cell count. The extract exhibited potent antioxidant activity by DPPH free radical assay.
• Effects on Hematological and Biochemical Parameters: Study of leaf aqueous extract of I. batatas showed no significant changes in hematological parameters. There were not significant changes in activities of serum enzymes. The pentobarbitone sleeping time showed significant ( p < 0.001) increase in the mean sleeping time when the group that received the extract was compared with the control.
• White-Skinned Sweet Potato / Hypoglycemic Effect / Mechanisms: Study investigated the mechanism of white-skinned sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) on reducing blood glucose in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Results showed hypoglycemic activity by inducing pancreatic beta cells regeneration and increasing insulin expression.
• Anti-Hyperglycemic Effect of Diacylated Anthocyanin: Study evaluated a postprandial glucose suppression effect of diacylated anthocyanin with α-glucosidase (AGH) inhibitory activity in Sprague−Dawley rats. Results showed the anti-hyperglycemic effect of the anthocyanin was achieved by maltase inhibition, not by sucrase or glucose transport inhibition at the intestinal membrane.

Common market produce.
Caiapo, in the cybermarkets, an extract of white sweet potatoes.