Monday, May 5, 2008

Amorphophallus, a medicinal plant with unique flower

Fellow blogger Nebu has correctly identified the photo in my previous post (Have you seen this flower?) as that of amorphophallus flower. The common names of amorphophallus ssp (botanical name) is ‘elephant foot yam’ or ‘elephant yam’.

The local names include Zaminkund, Anto, Balukund, Chena, Daga, Ilis-ilis, Kand godda, Karak-kavanai, Karnai kilangu, Oroy, Poong, Puung, Sooweg, Mo-yu, Suron, Teve, Tamari, Waloor, Arsaghna, Konjac, Konniaku, Konnyaku, Koe, Tigi, Ol kuchu, Kidaran, and Ol.

Elephant yam is considered to have several medicinal properties and effective in the treatment of amenorrhea, anorexia, arthritis, cough, dysmenorrhea, general debility, hemorrhage, hemorrhoids, inflammation, sexual weakness, and vomiting. The corms are used in different cuisines.

Though elephant yam is common in many tropical countries, its flower is rarely seen. It comes out from the center of some of the yams that are kept aside as seeds for planting. A few photos of the flower are given below:

Photos by Rose Petrov, AT (Copyright reserved).
Click on them to enlarge.

Also see:
Medicinal Plants: Noni (Morinda citrifolia) planting for profit?

Health, Gardening: Periwinkle, a wonder plant


Nebu said...

I used to eat steamed Chena (elephant yam) along with grated coconut as well as ground red chilli paste up until 1993. But since then suddenly I developed allergy to this vegetable, if you can call it that. Consuming elephant foot yam will cause oedema like symptoms in the mouth, bleaching and nausea now days. I have to ask hotel staff whether they have used elephant yam in their sambar and aviyal, two of my favourites.

Ashvin said...

Like Nebu, I used to LOVE chena but have never eaten it in the form mentioned by him. I liked it in 'kaalan;, as some kind of a 'mezhukkupuratti' (hope the spelling has come out right) with morukoottan, and in aviyals etc. Sometime in 2006 or early 2007 after eating my regular quota one night at home, I started throwing up, my face went dark red with rashes, my eyes closed. An urgent call was made to my doctor who told me to rush to a nearby hospital considered one of Kerala's largest and finest while he made arrangements for an emergency admission. I remember he asked me if I had any trouble breathing which I did not. Admitted in ICU for 2 days, no more chena in any form :-(

Being a hotelier myself, I personally prefer home made food always so get to eat sambar and aviyal without chena !

Abraham Tharakan said...

nebu, ashvin, it is true that some people are allergic to chena.

meerasworld said...

i never thought chena had such beautiful flowers!!!its unbelievably beautiful!i loved the puzhuku,with chena,kachil,chemb etc etc. i never knew it had any medicinal qualities.thanks for the post:)