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Chinese yam

January 15, 2021
Chinese yam good for Benefits and uses

Find out below all about Chinese yam, its characteristics, nutritional properties, health benefits, consumption options, as well as frequently asked questions related to its cultivation and storage.

What is Chinese yam?

Chinese yam is a root tuber  that is included in the yam family . Its interior is white and can measure up to 1 meter in length. It is widely used as food for its excellent nutritional properties, although it also has medicinal uses due to its large amount of mucilage; This is a thick, viscous substance that has a calming effect on mucous membranes, the lining of the airways, and the stomach.

Characteristics and data of interest

  • The Chinese yam is elongated, cylindrical and tapered at its ends. Their skin is thick and has a coloration that varies in different earth tones. The flesh of the Chinese yam is translucent white in color, with a firm, starchy texture. Its appearance is very similar to the sweet potato of the hill (variety of wild yam).
  • Chinese yams contain high levels of acids, such as amylase, which aid in the digestion of starchy foods. It represents a substantial source of carbohydrates and can provide significant amounts of protein depending on the serving size.
  • This tuber is a good alternative to add texture to stews and soups. If you want to incorporate it into your kitchen, be sure to store it in a cool, dry place.
  • The Chinese yam has several medicinal properties, hence in China it is known as “shan-yao”, which means “mountain medicine”.
  • It is native to the cold regions of China, where it has been a staple since prehistoric times.
  • It was introduced to Western Europe as an alternative to the potato during the potato blight of the 19th century.

Nutritional properties

Chinese yam is a very nutritious food. It consists mainly of water and starch, although it is a good source of vitamin B1, vitamin C, mucilage, amylase, amino acids, and glutamine.

Nutritional information (100g of Chinese yam):

  • Calories: 65
  • Sodio: 3 mg
  • Grease: 0 g
  • Potasio: 430 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1 g
  • Azúcares: 0 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Vitamin A: 0%
  • Calcium: 2%
  • Vitamin C: 10%
  • Iron: 3%

What is Chinese yam good for? Benefits and uses

Consuming Chinese yam can be beneficial for people who have conditions related to the stomach, spleen, kidneys, lungs, or skin. Proponents of yam as a natural remedy claim that this tuber can help in the treatment of many other problems, for example:

  • Hot flashes associated with menopause
  • Postmenopausal vaginal dryness
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • Fatigue
  • Digestion disorders
  • Dry or chronic cough
  • Asthma

According to research, Chinese yam extract not only improves digestion , it can also boost the growth of a population of beneficial bacteria in the gut.1

Chinese yam has antioxidant properties due to its content of vitamin C, zinc, manganese, iron, copper and selenium; Taking it as a daily supplement can be very beneficial in preventing numerous health problems.2

It can also help diabetes patients by modulating oxidative stress, antioxidant activities, and lipid profiles. It also has the ability to improve kidney and liver function.3

On the other hand, Chinese yam extract has been found to help prevent atherosclerosis , a disease in which arteries become clogged by plaque build-up.4

How to consume Chinese yam?

Basically, Chinese yam can be eaten in 6 ways:

  • raw (uncommon)
  • baked
  • boiled
  • frito
  • mashed
  • in soups and stews

It is also available as a medicinal supplement in the form of:

  • liquid
  • capsules
  • dry root
  • extract or tea

This tuber can also be an ingredient in creams and gels to apply directly to the skin.

You may also be interested in:  Wild yam (wild): properties, what it is for and contraindications

The following video shows a delicious recipe using Chinese yam:

Frequent questions

How to store Chinese yam?

In its natural form, Chinese yams can keep for months if stored in a cool place. The vegetable drawer of the refrigerator can be a good place.

What does Chinese yam taste like?

This tuber has a lighter flavor than common yam , which makes it an ideal companion for stews, soups and meats in general.

What other names does it have?

Chinese yam is known by other common names, for example nagaimo, nagaimono, Asian yam, Chinese potato, shan-yao. Its scientific name is Dioscorea polystachya or Dioscorea batatas .


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My name is Louise Hammond, and I am the creator of this website, a place to find information about tubers, bulbs and medicinal roots. In I show the properties, benefits, characteristics, photos and images, ways of growing and how to make delicious meals from starchy vegetables.