Family • Leguminosae - Pachyrhizus erosus L. Urban - POTATO BEAN - Di guo

Scientific names

Dolichos erosus Linn.
Dolichos bulbosus Linn
Pachyrhizus erosus L. Urban
Pachyrhizus angulatus Rich.
Pachyrhizus jicamas Blanco
Dou shu (Chin.)

Common names

Hinkamas (Tag.)
Jicama (Engl.)
Kamah (Sbl.)
Kamas (Ilk.)
Lakamas (Pang.)
Sikamas (Pamp.)
Singkamas (Tag.)
Sinkamas (Tag.)
Chop-suey bean (Engl.)
Manioc bean (Engl.)
Mexican yam bean (Engl.)
Potato bean (Engl.)
Yam bean (Engl.)
Bai tu gua (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

BURMESE: Pre myit.
CHINESE: Sha ge, Di guo Liang shu, Fan ge, Tu gua, Bai tu gua.
DANISH: Yamsbønne.
DUTCH: Bengkoewang, Hoewi iris, Hoewi hiris.
FRENCH: Dolique bulbeuse, Pois patate, Pois manioc.
GERMAN: Yambohne, Yamsbohne, Knollige Bohne.
HINDI: Mishrikand.
INDONESIAN: Bengkoang.
ITALIAN: Fagiolo patata, Dolico bulboso.
JAPANESE: Mame imo ?
KHMER: Pe’kuëk.
LAOTIAN: Man ph’au.
MALAY: Bengkuang, Kacang sengkuang, Mengkuwang, Sengkuang , Sengkuwang, Besusu (Java).
NEPALESE: Keshaura.
PORTUGUESE: Jacatupé, Jacutupé, Jocotupé.
SPANISH: Jícama (Mexico), Judía batata, Jiquima.
SUNDANESE: Bangkowang.
TAMIL: Tani uttan kai.
THAI: Mankaeo (Man kaeo), Huapaekua, Man lao.
TURKISH: Köklü böyrüce.
VIETNAMESE: Cu san, Curdau, San.

Gen info
Pachyrrihizus is derived from the Greek word meaning “thick root.”

jicama or yam-bean on old wood background still life.

Sinkamas is a coarse, climbing, herbaceous vine growing from large, edible, turnip-shaped, fleshy roots. Leaflets, at least the terminal ones, are broader than long, up to 15 centimeters long and 20 centimeters wide, with a deltoid base, shallowly lobed upper half, and the lateral leaves inequilateral. Racemes are up to 45 centimeters in length, while the lower nodes produce short branches and the other nodes several flowers each. Flowers are pale blue or blue and white, 2 to 2.5 centimeters long, about 1.5 centimeters wide. Pods are about 10 centimeters long, 10-12 millimeters wide, flat and hairy, containing 8 to 10 seeds.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Pharmacological evaluation of Pachyrrhizus erosus (L) seeds for central nervous system depressant activity / Abid Mohd et al / Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology ISSN 0019-5499 / 2006, vol. 50, no2, pp. 143-151

(2) Nutritional and anti-nutritional components in Pachyrhizus erosus L. tuber / A S M Noman, M A Hoque, M M Haque et al / Food Chemistry, Vol 102, No 4, 2007, Pp 1112-1118 / doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2006.06.055

(3) Sorting Pachyrhizus names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(4) Immunomodulatory activity of Bengkoang (Pachyrhizus erosus) fiber extract in vitro and in vivo. / Ika Dyah Kumalasari, Kosuke Nishi, Eni Harmayani, Sri Raharjo, Takuya Sugahara / Cytotechnology, January 2013 /

(5) INSECTICIDAL EFFICACY OF MINTWEED, YAM BEAN AND CELERY SEED EXTRACTS ON Aedes aegypti L. / YONGKHAMCHA B. AND INDRAPICHATE K.* / International Journal of Agriculture Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 3, 2012, pp-207-212.

(6) Activities of Yam Starch (Pachyrhizus erosus as Sunscreen in Mouse and the Effect of its Concentration on Viscosity / Abdul Karim Zulkarnain*), Novi Ernawati, Nurul Ikka Sukardani / Majalah Obat Tradisional, Traditional Medicine Journal

– In settled areas, in thickets and hedges throughout the Philippines, at low and medium altitudes.
– A native of tropical America.
– Now pantropic.

• Roots are high in carbohydrates; good source of calcium and iron.
• Young pods are also good sources of calcium and iron.
• Seeds yield a colorless and limpid oil, 38.4%
• Seeds also yield a poisonous substance, pachyrrhizid, a glucoside; toxic to fish if pounded and dropped in water.
• The seeds also contain a toxic resin.


• Pounded seeds are toxic to fish; powdered seeds are reportedly fatal to dogs.

Parts used
Roots and stems.

Edibility / Nutritional
– Roots are eaten raw or prepared.
– Young pods sometimes used as vegetable.
– Roots are high in carbohydrates; good source of calcium and iron.

– Decoction of the roots used as a diuretic.
– Warmed poultice of the stem pulp applied to painful areas in the leg.
– Seeds are laxative; and the oil of seeds is purgative in doses of 40 gms.
– Tincture from seeds used for treatment of herpes.
– In Taiwan, roots used for fever and hemorrhages.

Sinkamas3Study Findings
• CNS Depressant Activity: PE seed is known to contain rotinoids, flavonoids, phenylfuranocoumarins with antifungal, antisecretory, antibacterial and spasmolytic activities. Study showed CNS depressant effect with decreased locomotor activity, muscle relaxation, antianxiety and antiaggressive activity.
• Anti Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV): Studies on seeds of PE isolated 9 known components – 5 rotenoids, two isoflavonoids, one phenylfuranocoumarin and a monosaccharide. Moderate anti-herpes simplex virus activity was observed.
• Yam bean seed poisoning: Five patients presented with signs and symptoms mimicking acute cyanide intoxication with perioral numbness, nausea and vomiting after ingesting soup made from yam bean seeds. One patient progressed to severe metabolic acidosis and coma, requiring aggressive therapy.
• Anti-Osteoporosis: Study of the effects of EA extract of root of P. erosus on bone loss in ovariectomized rat model showed significant prevention of bone loss in OVX rats. Significant prevention of uterine atrophy and increased body weight gain were observed. Results suggest a phytoestrogen compound that could be of benefit in postmenopausal women.
• Antifungal / Phytochemicals: A dichlormethane extract yielded rotenone, erosone, paquirrizone, dolineone and paquirrizine. The acetone extract yielded dehydroneotenone. The secondary metabolites significantly inhibited postharvest fungi.
• Nutrient Analysis / Phytochemicals: Tuber showed a high level of moisture, appreciable carbohydrates, crude fiber and protein, with negligible lipid, with a caloric value of 39 kcal per 100 g. Micro- and macro-nutrient analysis showed a potential source of potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. Tuber also yielded significant ascorbic acid and detected thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin and folic acid.
• Antioxidant: Study showed highest Total Antioxidant Status (TAS) for raw jam bean with 50% methanol extract, and lowest with water extraction.
• Immunomodulatory: Study evaluated the immunomodulatory effect of bengkoang fiber extract in vitro and in vivo. BFE facilitated IgM production by human hybridoma cell line HB4C5 cells. Also, BFE dose-dependently facilitated production of IgM, IgG, and IgA by mouse primary splenocytes. Results suggest BFE has positive in vitro and in vivo effects on the immune system.
• Insecticidal: Study evaluated the insecticidal efficacy of mintweed, yam bean and celery seed extracts on Aedes aegypti L. Yam bean (Pachyrhizus erosus) was most toxic to Ae. aegypti 2nd instar larvae and adults. YSE in combinations produced strong synergistic effects to the other extracts.
• Yam Starch as Sunscreen: Yam starch (Pachyrhizus erosus (L.) Urb.) was evaluated in Swiss Webster female mice strains for sunscreen properties. Results showed sunscreen activity in vivo in mice. Increase in concentration showed an increase in viscosity, while color, odor, and homogeneity of the formulation did not change during storage.

Widely cultivated for its edible roots.