This study was undertaken to confirm or otherwise disprove the alleged effectiveness of Dioscorea dumetorum tuber in the traditional treatment of clinical diabetes mellitus. Hydroalcoholic extracts of the tuber were fractionated by precipitation or solvent partition and the various extracts or fractions subjected to phytochemical and pharmacological tests. Whereas the alkaloid-containing fraction was hyperglycaemic in fasting normal mice, the whole extract and the fractions containing steroidal derivatives evinced significant hypoglycaemic activities in fasting normal mice or rabbits and in fasting alloxan-diabetic rabbits. The hypoglycaemic action of the glycosidic portion in particular was prompt and potent, in normal as well as in severely alloxan-diabetic rabbits suggesting thereby the possibility of obtaining an agent that could act in conditions of even severe insulin lack.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 03/1986; 15(2-15):133-144. DOI:10.1016/0378-8741(86)90150-9