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Family Asteraceae
Smallanthus sonchifolius (Poepp.) H.Robinson

Ya gen

Scientific names Common names
Helianthus esculentus Warsz. ex Otto & Dietr. Yacon (Tag.)
Polymnia edulis Wedd. Earth apple (Engl.)
Smallanthus sonchifolius (Poepp.) H.Robinson Ground apple (Engl.)
  Peruvian ground apple (Engl._
  Potato bean (Engl.)
  Yacon strawberry (Eng.)
Smallanthus sonchifolius (Poepp.) H.Rob. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
AMARA: Aricona, Aricoma (Bolivia), Aricuma (Bolivia).
FRENCH: Poire de terre.
QUECHUA: Llacjon, Llacoma, Llacón (Peru, Bolivia), Llacum, Llacuma, Llakuma (Peru, Bolivia), Llamón, Llaqon, Yacumpi.
SPANISH: Arboloco (Colombia), Chicama, Colla, Jacón, Jícama, Jíquima (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador), Jíkima, Jiquimilla (Venezuela, Colombia), Polaco, Puhe, Racón, Shicama, Taraca, Yacón (Bolivia, Peru).

General info
- Yacon has been cultivated and consumed since the pre-Incan period. It might have been neglected because of its low nutritive value. It surfaced into the scientific community only in the 1980s. With its health benefits spreading through the grapevine of nutraceuticals, its growth and cultivation has spread widely,in several countries, like Czech Republic, China, Brazil, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, among others.
- Yacon is a member of the sunflower family, native to the lower Peruvian Andes and many many South American forest regions, and long valued as a root crop. It was first recorded as a native cultivated root crop by the Andeans in 1615. Fresh tubers are crisp and juicy redolent of apples and melons, sometimes referred to as "Apple of the Earth." It has a sweetness that increases with storage. Eaten raw, baked, roasted, jammed, juiced into syrup or drinks, or made into pudding dishes.

Yacon is a perennial herb growing to a height of 2 to 3 meters. Leaves are broadly ovate with widely toothed margins and extending into the stems. Flowers are daisy-like, yellow to orange, avidly pollinated by insects. Root crop is edible, fleshy, yellowish white, sweet, with a crisp consistency of sinkamas.

- Recently introduced and cultivated in the Mountain Province area.
- Originally cultivated in the Andean highlights.
- Reported in China and Japan.

• The root or tuber is a rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), 'prebiotics' responsible for the sweet flavor while poorly metabolized or digested, a characteristic for a potential low calorie sweetener.
• Probiotic and antioxidant properties from protocatechuic, chlorogenic, caffeic and ferulic acids found in the leaves.
• Inulin may be responsible for its effect on blood sugar.
• Leaves yield monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes.
• Tubers yield a high content of oligofructans and polyphenols.
• Other chemicals documented in yacon include: y-cadinene, caffeic-acid, 3-caffeoylquinic-acid, chlorogenic-acid, 2,4-dicaffeoylaltraric-acid, 2,5-dicaffeoylaltraric-acid, 3,5-dicaffeoylaltraric-acid, 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic-acid, enhydrin, ferulic-acid, fluctuanin, gallic-acid, gentisic-acid, inulin, melampolides, oligofructans, beta-pinene, protocatechuic-acid, rosmarinic-acid, sonchifolin, tryptophan, 2,3,5-tricaffeoylaltraric-acid, 2,4,5-tricaffeoylaltraric-acid, and uvedalin.

• Chloroform fraction of alcohol extract of leaves yielded seven compounds: gallic acid (1), beta-sitosterol (2), behenic acid (3), kaempferol (4), quercetin (5), vanillic acid (6), hexadecanoic acid (7). (12)
• Major portion of tuberous root biomass is water (>70% of fresh weight), saccharides, especially oligofructans (70-80% of dry weight), protein content (0.3% to 3.7%). (23)
• Mean tuberous root composition per 100 g of fresh matter is: water 81.3, saccharides 13.8, fiber 0.9, proteins 1.0, lipids 0.1, and ash 1.1. (
• Mean mineral content per 100 g of fresh matter are: potassium 334, phosphorus 34, calcium 12, magnesium 8.4, sodium 0.4 and iron 0.2. Vitamins B1, B2, C, β-carotene and polyphenols in the same weight are present at mean concentrations 0.07, 0.31, 5.0, 0.13 and 203 mg, respectively. (23)
• Leaves yield di- and sesquiterpenes, polyphenolic antioxidants, esp. hydroxycinnamic acids and chlorogenic acid; a new antifungal melampolide – sesquiterpene lactone named sonchifolin, as well as three known melampolides, polymatin B, uvedalin and enhydrin. (23)
• Study of free amino acid composition of roots of yacon cultivars ranged from 147.9 to 341.1 mg/q00 g. The main free amino acids in all cultivars were arginine and glutamine. Proline content varies from 1.1 to 97.4 mg/100 g. Freeze-dried yacon powder yielded total free amino acids of 1941.2 mg/100 g, glutamine 212.4 mg/100g, and arginine 994.1 mg/100 g. (38)
• Nutritional proximate analysis of a 100-gram sample of freeze-dried yacon tuber yielded low levels of protein (2.43 g), moderate fiber (4.47 g) and high level of carbohydrate (73.8 g). A 100-gram sample of dried leaves yielded high protein levels (15.24 g), and fiber (5.67 g) and moderate level of lipids (2.81 g). Potassium comprised more than 50% of total mineral content of leaves and tuber. Phytochemical screening yielded phenolics, alkaloids, sesquiterpene lactones, terpenoids and triterpenoids. (see study below) (44)
• Total phenolic content of tuber and leaf extracts (mg GAE/100 g and mg QE/100 g were: tuber methanolic extract (164.2 ± 16.9 and 167.5 ± 15.0), leaf decoction extract (3,489.4 ± 129.9 and 3,484.7 ±142.1) and leaf methanol extract (529.2 ± 52.4 and 214.8 ± 46.1). (see study below) (44)
• Study of leaves yielded three novel compounds viz., ent-kaurane-3β,16β,17,18-tertol, 3R,7E-9-butoxyl-megastigma-3-ol-3-O-β-d-glucopyranoside, and 3S,5R,6Z-megastigma-6-en-3,5,8,9-tertol, together with five known ingredients: octacosanol (1), 3′,4′,5-trihydroxy-3,7-dimethoxyflavone (2), 3,4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde (3), isorhamnetin (4), and ent-kaurane-3β,16β,17-triol (5). (45)
• Study of leaves yielded two new diterpenes, ent-kaurane=3ß-16ß-17, 19-terol (1) and ent-kaurane-16ß,17,18,19-terol (2), together with six known compounds. (47)
- Chemical composition of 1 kg of fresh yacon root yields mean values of: dry matter 115g, total carbohydrates 106g, fructans 62g, total free sugars 26g (free glucose 3.5g, free sucrose 14 g, free fructose 8.5g), protein 3.7g, fiber 3.6g, fat 244mg. calcium 87mg, potassium 2282mg, phosphorus 240mg. (57)

• Studies have suggested antioxidant, cytoprotective, antidiabetic, prebiotic, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, trypanocidal, antiteratogenic, anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic, immunomodulatory properties.

Parts utilized
Leaves and tubers.

Edibility / Nutrition
- Fresh tubers are crisp and juicy when eaten raw; sweetness increases with storage.
- The root looks likes a sweet potato, but with a completely different taste, texture, and nutrient profile. The taste is that of apple, watermelon, and celery combined. (59)
- Yacon root syrup can be prepared by reducing yacon juice, which yields thick, dark, and sweet syrup. While touting many health benefits, over-consumption ,may cause digestive upsets, bloating, discomfort, nausea and diarrhea. (59)
- Tubers also steamed, baked, or roasted. Also, processed into jams, juice, cereals, etc. (
- In Japan and Brazil, aerial parts used as components of medicinal tea. (See caution below) (25)
- Rich in potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.

- Decoction of leaves used as tea for diabetics.
- In South America, the raw tubers as a diuretic for kidney and bladder problems.
- In Bolivia, decoction of leaves used for cystitis, hepatosis and nephrosis.
- In Peru, warm poultice of leaves used for myalgias and rheumatism.
- In Brazil, leaves decocted for diabetes.

Local Root Crops as Antioxidant:
A 2006 study of commonly consumed roots crops in the Philippines (Kamote, Ipomoea batata; 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. (1)
Phenolic Acid / Antioxidant:
A study of the crude extracts of dried leaves and tubers of yacon yielded phenolic acids – chlorogenic, caffeic and ferulic acids – contributing to the radical scavenging activity detected. (
Cytoprotective / Anti-hyperglycemic:
Report suggests the anti-hyperglycemic activity of tubers and cytoprotective activity of its leaves are probably due to the oligofructan and phenolic content, respectively.
Inulin and oligofructose from the extracts of yacon roots known for its prebiotic properties presents a potential use in treating certain types of colitis by stimulating growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidogacterium microflora. (
Constipation / Colonic Transit Time:
Yacon syrup's effect on colon-transit time was studied in healthy volunteers. Results showed an softer stools and acceleration of colonic transit time. Transit time through the gastrointestinal tract was significant decreased from 59.7 ± 4.3 to 38.4 ± 4.2 h (p<0.001). It was well tolerated with an excellent side effect profile. With its low caloric content, it presents a potential treatment of constipation in the obese and diabetic. (
Subchronic Toxicity Studies:
A 4-month oral consumption of dried yacon root flour and diet supplement on normal Wistar rats showed to be well tolerated with no negative responses, toxicity, or adverse nutritional effects. It showed significantly reduced serum triglyceride levels. (
Antioxidant / Cytoprotective/ Antihyperglycemic:
All extracts exhibited strong protective activity against oxidative damage to rat hepatocyte cultures, reduced hepatic glucose production via gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis. The combination of radical scavenging, cytoprotective and antihyperglycemic activities presents a potential use in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases involving oxidative stress, especially diabetes.
Study showed the enhancement and antimicrobial activity of yacon leaves against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the presence of light. (
Antiteratogenic Potential: Extracts from the leaf of P. laevigata and yacon tubers (Smallanthus sonchifolius) were studied for antiteratogenic potential using duck embryos. Extracts administered with retinoic acid had antiteratogenic properties. (
Antidiabetic / Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibition:
Study evaluated the inhibitory effect of smallanthaditerpenic acids A, B, C and D on alpha-glucosidases. Their IC50 were determined to be 0.48 mg/mL, 0.59 mg/mL, 1.00 mg/mL, and 1.17 mg/mL respectively. (
Antidiabetic / Tubers: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic effect of yacon tubers on alloxan-induced diabetes in mice. Results showed yacon significantly reduced blood sugar level. (
Decreased Hepatic Insulin Resistance: Study evaluated the effect of a yacon diet on blood glucose. Results showed reduction of blood glucose likely due to its beneficial effects on hepatic insulin sensitivity in the insulin resistance state. (

Yacon FOS (Fructo-Oligosaccharides) / Prebiotic:
Study have shown the benefits of prebiotics like inulin and FOS in health and nutrition. This study showed yacon can prevent enteric infection caused by S. typhimurium, the effect mediated by enhancing non-specific immunity, such as total S-IgA, that improves the immunological intestinal barrier. (17)
Antibacterial Activity of Leaf Constituents / Enhydrin:
Study investigated the antibacterial activity of leaf constituents enhydrin, polymatin B, alloschkuhriolide. Results showed only enhydrin showed antibacterial activity against MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus). (18)
Yacon Fructans Effect on Maintenance of Healthy Bones:
Yacon flour consumption significantly resulted in a positive Ca and Mg balance leading to higher bone mineral retention and biomechanical properties. The positive effects on mineral intestinal absorption, bone mass, and biomechanical properties showed yacon's important role in the maintenance of healthy bones. (19)
Trypanocidal / Chagas Disease:
Study isolated sesquiterpene lactones enhydrin, uvedalin, and polymatin B from an organic extract of S. sonchifolius. The compounds were tested for trypanocidal activity against Trypanosoma cruzi. Results suggest enhydrin and uvedalin might have potential as agents against Chagas disease. (
Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated various extracts of leaves for antioxidant activity and phenolic content. Study yielded protocatechuic, chlorogenic, caffeic and ferulic acids from two fractions. Both fractions showed potent antioxidant activity in the DPPH and xanthine/XOD superoxide radical scavenging tests. Results suggest the use of leaves in human diet may be a potential remedy for the prevention of chronic diseases cause by radicals, e.g., arteriosclerosis. (
Constituents and Activities: Study evaluated the botany, composition, and main constituents of Smallanthus sonchifolius (yacon) and Lepidium meyeni (maca). The potential of yacon tubers to treat hyperglycemia, kidney problems and skin rejuvenation and the antihyperglycemic and cytoprotective activity of leaves seem mostly related to its oligofructan and phenolic content. (
Glycemic Effect in Diabetic Rats: Study of crude extracts of leaves showed on STZ induced glycemia in rats showed the effectiveness of yacon extracts is related to the method of preparation and time of treatment. The hydroalcoholic extract significantly reduced the levels of glucose in the diabetic rats. (
Caution / Renal Toxicity Report / Leaves: Study evaluated the repeated-dose toxicity of three extracts of yacon leaves. Results showed renal damage associated with increased blood glucose levels after prolonged oral administration of aqueous extract. Evidence suggests the terpenoids were the main toxic compounds. Based on the results, the study did not recommend the oral use of yacon leaves to treat diabetes. (
25) (also read, study below: 50)
Effect of Hepatic Metabolism: Study of extracts and fractions of leaves extracts showed strong protective effect against oxidative damage to rat hepatocyte cultures, reduced glucose production via gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis. The combination of radical scavenging, cytoprotective and anti-hyperglycemic activity of leaves suggest potential for use in prevention and treatment of chronic diseases involving oxidative stress, particularly diabetes. (
Prebiotic Effect on Intestinal Mucosa / Yacon Root Flour: Study evaluated the prebiotic property of yacon root flour and its influence on the intestinal microbiota and gut immune system using a mice model. Results showed long term administration of yacon root flour maintained the intestinal homeostasis without inflammatory effect regulated through IL-10 and IL-4 regulatory cytokines. (
Protective Effect / Colon Carcinogenesis: Study investigated the potential benefit of yacon intake on colon carcinogenesis induced by DMH in male Wistar rats. Results showed a significant reduction in number of aberrant crypt foci and number of invasive adenocarcinomas. Results suggest dried extract of yacon root or a symbiotic formulation of yacon plus Lactobacillus casei intake may reduce the development of chemically-induced colon cancer. Study suggests yacon root intake may have a potential as chemopreventive agent against colon carcinogenesis. (
Topical Anti-Inflammatory / Effect on Neutrophil Migration: Study
evaluated the in vivo topical anti-inflammatory potential of a leaf-rinse extract from dried leaves of yacon on croton oil ear edema assay in mice. Results showed topical anti-inflammatory effect with anti-oedematogenic activity followed by inhibition of neutrophil migration. (
Colonic Health Maintenance: Study in rats showed consuming 10% yacon tuber powder and cookies containing 14.75% yacon tuber (equivalent to 5% and 9.5% of FOS, respectively) for 28 days resulted in changes in bowel habit, cecum size, SCFAs production and intestinal microbial community significantly different from consumption of commercialized FOS and placebo cookies. Results suggests yacon tuber consumption may play an important and slightly different role in colonic health. (
Improved Antioxidant Activity: Study evaluated
the effects of different forms of yacon extracts on the lipid oxidation and color of emulsion-type sausage. Study reported significant decrease in pH and residual nitrite values, increased thiobarbituric and reactive substances. Results suggest the addition of 20% yacon extract to emulsion-type sausages was most effective in improving lipid oxidative stability.
Comparative Hypoglycemic Activity of Yacon and Stevia: Study evaluated ethanolic leaf extracts of Yacon and Stevia for hypoglycemic action in streptozotocin induced diabetic mice. Results showed Stevia rebaudiana exhibited hypoglycemic activity comparable to the drug metformin while the leaf extract of Smallanthus sonchifolius showed no hypoglycemic action.
Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic / Tuber Extract and Chlorogenic Acid Constituent: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic effect of Yacon tuber extract and its constituent, chlorogenic acid (CGA), in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Results showed a significant hypoglycemic effect, together with significant decreases in total cholesterol and triglycerides. Radical scavenging activity of CGA was similar to vitamin E control. Results suggest a potential in the management of hyperglycemia and diabetic nephropathy.
Hypolipidemic / Roots: Frutooligosaccharides (FOS) are sugars naturally found at high concentrations in storage roots of yacon. Study evaluated the effects of subchronic oral consumption of yacon root flour as diet supplement in STZ-induced diabetic Wistar rats. The FOS-rich yacon flour did not significantly alter the weight of test animals. There was a significant decrease in fasting plasma triacylglycerol and VLDL. An identified incretin could be an effective mediator of the lipid lowering effects of FOS present in the yacon flour. Results suggest yacon root flour, a natural product rich in FOS, has potential as a nutraceutical product with beneficial effects in diabetes-associated hyperlipidemia.
Caffeic Acid / Roots: Study of a phenolic fraction of yacon roots yielded major water-soluble phenolic compounds: two of these were chlorogenic acid (3-caffeoylquinic acid) and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid; three were novel caffeic acid esters of altraric acid, viz. 2,4- or 3,5-dicaffeoylaltraric acid, 2,5-dicaffeoylaltraric acid, and 2,3,5- or 2,4,5- tricaffeoylaltraric acid. (35)

Effect of Aging on Fermented Yacon and Sensory Profile: Perishability and low production volume is a problem. Study analyzed the changes in aging during one year of storage and sensory analysis of fermented yacon. At the end of the one-year aging, total and volatile acidity increased significantly (p<0.05), together with a decrease in FOS (fructooligosaccharide). The product showed good antioxidant capacity with acceptable sensory profiles. Results suggest alternatives in the industrial sector and potential for farmers to do large-scale production. (37)
Effect on Pancreatic Fibrosis: Study in rats suggests 1% yacon extract has an inhibitory effect on DBTC-induced pancreatic fibrosis. (39)
Prebiotic and Immunomodulatory Effect: Yacon tubers contain frutooligosaccharides (FOS), known as prebiotics, beneficial in improving the host's intestinal flora balance and enhance immunomodulatory potential. This study investigated the effect of FOS-rich yacon extract on intestinal flora and immune system of BABL/c mice sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin. Study showed improvement in intestinal flora. Results suggest yacon-derived FOS can epidemiologically improve Th1/Th2 cytokine balance through its prebiotic effect on the number of beneficial bacterial in the animal gut. (40)
Effect in an Intestinal Infection Model of Salmonella typhimurium: Study analyzed the preventive effects of yacon on enteric infection caused by a strain of Salmonella enteritidis serovar typhimurium in a mouse model. Results suggest yacon can prevent enteric S. typhimurium infection given up to 30 days, mediated by enhancing non-specific immunity such as total S-IgA which improved the immunological intestinal barrier. (41)
Comparative Antioxidant Effect of Leaves and Roots: Study compared the in vivo hepatic antioxidant activity of hydroalcoholic extracts of yacon leaves and roots in rats with STZ-induced diabetes in terms of in vitro antioxidant capacity. Both roots and leaves extract restored the increased protein carbonyl levels to normality, while the roots extract restored ROS levels to normality. The in vivo action of the root extract was more effective than the leaf extract in reducing hepatic oxidative stress that accompanies diabetes. (42)
Invention / Buccal Tablet Formulation: An invention reports on the use of dried power of Smallanthus sonchifolius as the main drug component in buccal tablet formulation, as well as fermented S. sonchifolius leaves, chrysanthemum and liquorice extracts as adjuvant components together with auxillary ingredients. The resulting buccal tablet has the characteristic of diminishing inflammation, inhibiting bacteria, as well as a pleasant mouth-feel and easy absorption property. (43)
Bioactivities of Phenolic Compounds / Antioxidant: Phenolic extracts were found to have significant DPPH radical scavenging activity and significant anti-lipoperoxidativve activity on rat liver microsomes comparable to commercial supplement containing silymarin. On CAM vascular irritation assay, the phenolic extract exhibited an anti-inflammatory activity comparable to hydrocortisone. (see constituents above) (44)
• Attenuation of Hyperglycemia and Skeletal Muscle Oxidative Stress in Diabetes: Study evaluated the effect of a hydroalcoholic extract of Yacon leaves on antioxidant, glycemic, and anti-inflammatory biomarkers in diabetic rats. Results showed improvement in the biomarkers which may be mediated via improvement of glucoregulation and amelioration of oxidative stress and inflammation, particularly in diabetic rats. (46)
Antioxidant Effects of Herbal Tea Leaves: Study evaluated the potent antioxidative effects of herbal tea leaves from yacon using different free radical models and a ferric reducing model. A hot water extract exhibited the highest yield of total polyphenol and scavenging eff3ect on DPPH assay. Results support the potential of yacon tea leave as a good source of natural antioxidants for preventing O2-radical mediated disorders. (48)
• Cytotoxic Potential / Anticancer Cell Lines / Leaves: Study evaluated the cytotoxic potential of various extracts of yacon leaves against MCF-7 (breast cancer), HT-29 (colon cancer), and HDFn (normal human dermal fibroblast) cell lines. Results showed significant reduction in cellular viability of MCF-7 cells lines in a dose-dependent manner. DCM extract showed most potency against MCF-7 and significant cytotoxicty against HT-29 cells, with IC50 lower than 5-FU. (49)
• Safety and Toxicity Studies: Review reports on safety and toxicity studies. In an acute toxicity study of normal healthy rats treated with 2, 5, 10 times greater than effective dose of different organic extracts of yacon leaves or isolated compound enhydrin, there were no deaths or signs of acute toxicity (Genta et al, 2010; 2012). Administration of yacon extracts for two generations showed no effects on reproductive functions or development of live-born pups (Ogose et al., 2009). A toxicity study of various doses of 10% yacon leaves decoction (25, 50, and 100 times) and enhydrin (100, 200, and 400 times) for effective hypoglycemic doses for up to 14 days, showed no signs of toxicity or deaths, suggesting an LD50 of about 14.0 and 0.32 g/kbw, respectively (Serra Barcellona et al, 2001; Honore et al; 2012). (50)
• Improvement of Gut Health in a Model of Colon Cancer: Study evaluated the intestinal effects of YF (yacon flour) supplementation in an animal model of induced colon cancer. Results showed YF was effective in the modulation of gut health in the animal model of colon cancer. (51)
• Sesquiterpene Lactones / Leishmanicidal and Trypanocidal: Study evaluated the activity of enhydrin, uvedalin, and polymatin B, three sesquiterpene lactones (STLs) isolated from S. sonchifolius, on Leishmania mexicana (MNYC/BZ/62/M) and Trypanosoma cruzi (Dm28c). intracellular amastigotes. In in vivo study, enhydrin and uvedalin displayed a significant decrease in circulating parasites (50-71%) and no signs of hepatotoxicity. The three compounds showed leishmanicidal and trypanocidal activity on different parasite stages. (52)
• Health-Promoting Benefits of Fructooligosaccharides / Yacon as Food Supplement: Review addresses the role of yacon supplementation in promoting health and reducing risk of chronic diseases. Several pre-clinical and clinical trials have suggested suggested the growth of health promoting bacteria while reducing pathogenic bacteria populations. The end products of FOS fermentation by the intestinal microbiota, short chain fatty acids, act as substrates or signaling molecules in the regulation of immune response, glucose homeostasis, and lipid metabolism. Most studies have concluded that due to its functional properties, yacon roots can be used as a dietary supplement to prevent and treat chronic diseases. (53)
Toxiogenetic Study / Safety Profile: Study evaluated the in vitro potential genotoxic effects of the aqueous extract of yacon to determine its safety and phytochemical composition. The aqueous extract was prepared in the popular formulation of tea bags. MTT test determined the range of doses and Cytome assay assessed genotoicity. Chemical analysis revealed the presence of sesquiterpene lactones (STLs) enhydrin and the dimer enhydrofolin, as main compounds, along with phenolic compounds. Increasing concentration of the extract induced a cytotoxic effect on CHO-K1 and HepG2 cells. Results demonstrated the inability of the metabolic system to counteract the genetic instability, allowing the safe consumption of the leaves as a 2% tea infusion of up to 250 mL/day. (54)
Renal Toxicity Concern with Leaves: Studies on the safety of prolonged oral consumption of yacon leaf extracts are lacking. Study evaluated the repeated-dose toxicity of three extracts of yacon leaves i.e. aqueous extract (AE) prepared as tea infusion, a leaf-rinse extract (LRE) which is rich in sesquiterpene lactones (STLs), and a polar extract from leaves without trichomes, or polar extract (PE) which lacks STLs but is rich in chlorogenic acid. The toxicity of each extract was evaluated in a repeated-dose toxicity study in Wistar rats for 90 days. Alterations of specific biochemical parameters in the blood (creatinine, glucose and albumin of rats treated with AE pointed to renal damage, which was confirmed by histological analysis of the kidneys. The renal damage as associated with increased blood glucose levels after prolonged administration of the AE, which suggested that the hypoglycemic effect seen in an earlier study after 30 days treatment is reversible and likely caused by renal injury from yacon toxicity. Because of STLs detected in both AE and LRE, evidence suggests the terpenoids are the main toxic compounds in leaves. Based on the results, the authors do not recommend the oral use of yacon leaves to treat diabetes. (56)
Antihyperglycemic / Diabetic Wound Healing / Leaves: Study evaluated the antihyperglycemic and diabetic wound healing activity of yacon leaves extract. Diabetic condition was induced by streptozotocin and nicotinamide in rats. Wound was induced by punch biopsy. Yacon leaves extract was administered both orally and topically. Results showed antihyperglycemic and diabetic wound healing activities comparable to reference drugs glibenclamide and nebacetin cream. (59)

- Although the roots and tubers are popular marketed for its diabetic benefits, many studies report the hypoglycemic or sugar-lowering effect only in the leaves. (see toxicity concern above: 56)

- Cultivated
- Commercial herbal tea leaves.
- Root and leaf extracts in the cybermarket.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D. / StuartXchange

Updated December 2020 / July 2018 / October 2016

                                                    PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE / Flower / Public Domain / File:Smallanthus sonchifolius .p.jpg/ Bob Hille / Nederlands: Smallanthus sonchifolius yacon Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE / TUBERS / File:Yacon.jpg / Phote by Fk. 2005 / GNU Free Documentation License / click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Local Root Crops as Antioxidant
Yacon / Tropical Plant Database / Raintree
Yacon / Wikipedia
Investigation of phenolic acids in yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) leaves and tubers / Breda Simonnovska et al / Journal of Chromatography A • Volume 1016, Issue 1, 17 October 2003, Pages 89-98 / doi:10.1016/S0021-9673(03)01183-X /
Smallanthus sonchifolius and Lepidium meyenii - prospective Andean crops for the prevention of chronic diseases / Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2003 Dec;147(2):119-30.
Prebiotic inulin/oligofructose in Yacón root (Smallanthus sonchifolius), phytochemistry and standardization as basis for clinical and pre-clinical research / Research article summary (published 30 Dec 2007
Antioxidant activity of extracts from the leaves of Smallanthus sonchifolius
./ European Journal of Nutrition / CABI Abstract
Effect of Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) on Colonic Transit Time in Healthy Volunteers / Geyer M., Manrique I., Degen L., Beglinger C. / Digestion: International Journ of Gastroenterology, Vol 78. No 1. 2008
/ DOI:10.1159/000155214
Subchronic 4-month oral toxicity study of dried Smallanthus sonchifolius (yacon) roots as a diet supplement in rats / Susana B Genta et al / Food and Chemical Toxicology, Nov 2005;
Volume 43, Issue 11: pp 1657-1665 / doi:10.1016/j.fct.2005.05.007
Antibacterial and synergistic effects of Smallanthus sonchifolius leaf extracts against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus under light intensity / Hee Joung et al / Journal of Natural Medicines • 10.1007/s11418-010-0388-7
Evaluation of the antiteratogenic potential of Parameria laevigata crude leaf and Smallanthus sonchifolius tuber extracts on the duck embryo / ANNABELLE A. HERRERA, SHIELA MAE A. SAN DIEGO / Asia Life Sciences, Vol 18, No 2 (2009)
Study on chemical constituents of Smallanthus sonchifolius / Xie W, Li J, Li HM. / Zhong Yao Cai. 2008 Oct;31(10):1510-2.
Anti-diabetes constituents in leaves of Smallanthus sonchifolius / Xiang Z, He F, Kang TG, Dou DQ, Gai K, Shi YY, Kim YH, Dong F. / Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Jan;5(1):95-8
GLUCON: THE HYPOGLYCEMIC ACTIVITY OF YACON (SMALLANTHUS SONCHIFOLIUS) TUBERS ON ALLOXAN-INDUCED MICE (MUS MUSCULUS) / Jayson Donor Zabala / Quezon City Sciency High School / submitted to Fatih Koleji, Istanbul, Turkey, June 1-4, 2008.
Sorting Smallanthus names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia.
Yacon diet (Smallanthus sonchifolius, Asteraceae) improves hepatic insulin resistance via reducing Trb3 expression in Zucker fa/fa rats / H Satoh, M T Audrey Nguyen, A Kudoh  and T Watanabe / Nutrition & Diabetes (2013) 3, e70; doi:10.1038/nutd.2013.11
Study of the effect exerted by fructo-oligosaccharides from yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) root flour in an intestinal infection model with Salmonella typhimurium / Natalia Alejandra Castillo et al / The British journal of nutrition (Impact Factor: 3.45). 11/2012; DOI: 10.1017/S0007114512004230
Antimicrobial activity of the constituents of Smallanthus sonchifolius leaves against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus / J.G. CHOI, O.H. KANG, Y.S. LEE, Y.C. OH, H.S. CHAE, B. OBIANG-OBOUNOU, S.C. PARK, D.W. SHIN*, B.Y. HWANG**, D.Y. KWON / European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 2010; 14: 1005-1009
Effects of fructans-containing yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius Poepp & Endl.) flour on caecum mucosal morphometry, calcium and magnesium balance, and bone calcium retention in growing rats / Alexandre R. Lobo, Celia Colli, Eliana P. Alvares and Tullia M. C. C. Filisetti / British Journal of Nutrition (2007), 97, 776–785 / DOI: 10.1017/S0007114507336805
Trypanocidal Activity of Smallanthus sonchifolius: Identification of Active Sesquiterpene Lactones by Bioassay-Guided Fractionation / F M Frank, J Ulloa, S I Cazorla, G Maravilla et al / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2013 (2013) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/627898
Antioxidant activity of extracts from the leaves of Smallanthus sonchifolius / Valentova, Katerina; Cvak, Ladislav; Muck, Alexandr; Ulrichova, Jitka; Simanek, Vilim / European Journal of Nutrition; 2003, Vol. 42 Issue 1, p61
Smallanthus sonchifolius and Lepidium meyenii - prospective Andean crops for the prevention of chronic diseases. / Valentová K1, Ulrichová J. / Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2003 Dec;147(2):119-30.
Yacon [Smallanthus sonchifolia (Poepp. et Endl.) H. Robinson] chemical composition and use – a review / J. Lachman, E.C. Fernández, M. Orsák / PLANT SOIL ENVIRON., 49, 2003 (6): 283–290
Effect of crude extracts of leaves of Smallanthus sonchifolius (yacon) on glycemia in diabetic rats
/ Silmara Baroni, Fumie Suzuki-Kemmelmeier, Silvana Martins Caparroz-Assef, Roberto Kenji Nakamura Cuman, Ciomar Aparecida Bersani-Amado / Revista Brasileira de Ciências Farmacêuticas / Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol. 44, n. 3, jul./set., 2008
Renal toxicity caused by oral use of medicinal plants: The yacon example
/ Rejane Barbosa de Oliveira, Daniela Aparecida Chagas de Paula, Bruno Alves Rocha, João José Franco, Leonardo Gobbo-Neto, Sérgio Akira Uyemura, Wagner Ferreira dos Santos, Fernando Batista Da Costa / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 133 (2011) 434–441
The effect of Smallanthus sonchifolius leaf extracts on rat hepatic metabolism
/ K. Valentová, A. Moncion, I. de Waziers, J. Ulrichová / Cell Biology and Toxicology, March 2004, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 109-120
Prebiotic effect of yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) on intestinal mucosa using a mouse model / M. E. Bibas Bonet, O. Meson, A. de Moreno de LeBlanc, C. A. Dogi, S. Chaves, A. Kortsarz, A. Grau, G. Perdigón / FOOD AGRIC IMMUNOL , vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 175-189, 2010 / DOI: 10.1080/09540100903563589
Protective effects of yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) intake on experimental colon carcinogenesis / Nelci A. de Moura, Brunno F.R. Caetano, Kátia Sivieri, Luis H. Urbano, Claudio Cabello, Maria A.M. Rodrigues, Luis F. Barbisan / Food and Chemical Toxicology 50 (2012) 2902–2910
Effect of Smallanthus sonchifolius extracts on croton oil-induced oedema and neutrophil migration to the ear skin tissue of mice / R Oliveira, D Chagas-Paula, T Gasparato, L Faccioli, F Da Costa / Planta Med 2010; 76 - P363 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1264661
Smallanthus sonchifolius / Synonyms / The Plant List
Effects of yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) tuber on physiology, fermentation products, and intestinal microbial communities in rats / Utami Ni Wayan Arya / Thesis / 2013 / Hokkaido University
Evaluation of yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) extracts as a potential antioxidant source in emulsion-type sausage during refrigerated storage / Kim, Y. J., Choi, I. H.* / African Journal of Biotechnology, Vol.13(42), pp. 4136-4140 , October 2014 / DOI: 10.5897/AJB2014.14045
The Comparative study on the Hypoglycemic Activity of Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) leaf extracts and Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) leaf extracts on Streptozotocin induced ICR Mice
/ Anna Louise A. de Mesa, Elyssa Fritzi Nicolas Hipolito, Pamela Trix Coh Lanaja, Jonathan Macasaet Librojo, Angelica Mae Concepcion Serapio, Bahrami-Hessari Michael, Abigail Garcia / BIOTA Philippines Conference System, 48th BIOTA Annual National Convention and Scientific Sessions
Hypoglycemic Effect of Yacon Tuber Extract and Its Constituent, Chlorogenic Acid, in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats / Jeong Sook PARK, Jae Sik YANG, Bang Yeon HWANG, Bong Kyu YOO, and Kun HAN* / Biomolecules & Therapeutics, 17(3), 256-262 (2009) / DOI: 10.4062/biomolther.2009.17.3.256
Caffeic Acid Derivatives in the Roots of Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) / MAKIKO TAKENAKA,* XIAOJUN YAN, HIROSHI ONO, MITSURU YOSHIDA, TADAHIRO NAGATA, AND TATEO NAKANISHI / J. Agric. Food Chem. 2003, 51, 793−796 793
Hypolipidemic effect of Smallanthus sonchifolius (yacon) roots on diabetic rats: Biochemical approach / Natalia C. Habib, Stella Maris Honoré, Susana B. Genta, Sara S. Sánchez / Chemico-Biological Interactions, Volume 194, Issue 1, 15 October 2011, Pages 31–39
Study of the aging of fermented of yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) and sensory profile and acceptance / Camila Cheker BRANDÃO*, Eduardo Ramirez ASQUIERI, Shireen ATTARAN, Clarissa DAMIANI / Food Science and Technology, Campinas, 34(2): 324-331, Apr.-June 2014 / DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-20612014005000032
Free amino acid composition in the root of Yacon (Smallanthus Sonchifolius) / Tokiko Mizuno, Koji Yamada / Journal for the Integrated Study of Dietary Habits (2007), Vol 18, No 3: P 283-287
The Effects of Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) Extract on Pancreatic Fibrosis in the Rat
/ Choi, Nan-Hee; Kim, Jong-Bong; Kim, Jin-Teak; Park, In-Sick / Journal of Life Science, Vol 22, Issue 7, 2012, pp 904-911 / DOI : 10.5352/JLS.2012.22.7.904
Effect of Yacon Tuber (Smallanthus sonchifolius)-derived Fructooligosaccharides on the Intestinal Flora and Immune System of OVA-sensitized BALB/c Mice / Yuji Miyaguchi, Takuya Tomatsuri, Atsushi Toyoda, Eiichi Inoue, Yasuki Ogawa / Food Science and Technology Research, Vol. 21 (2015) No. 2 p. 255-262
Study of the effect exerted by fructo-oligosaccharides from yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) root flour in an intestinal infection model with Salmonella Typhimurium / Eva Velez, Natalia Castillo, Oscar Meso, Alfredo Grau, Maŕıa E. Bibas Bonet and Gabriela Perdigo / British Journal of Nutrition (2013), 109, 1971–1979 / doi:10.1017/S0007114512004230
The in Vitro Antioxidant Capacities of Hydroalcoholic Extracts from Roots and Leaves of Smallanthus sonchifolius (Yacon) Do Not Correlate with Their in Vivo Antioxidant Action in Diabetic Rats / Ana Carla Broetto Biazon, Mariana Marques et al / Journal of Biosciences and Medicines 2016 / DOI: 10.4236/jbm.2016.42003, PP. 15-27
Smallanthus sonchifolius buccal tablet and preparation method thereof (PAT - CN101569645) / YALING YANG, MOUSHENG LIU, HONGQUAN LIU, YIN ZHANG / UNIV KUNMING SCIENCE & TECH
Patent: Unexamined APPLIC / China / Application: CN20091094563 on 2009-06-08 /Publ: 2009-11-04
Phytochemical screening and assessment of health-related bioactivities of phenolic compounds from yacon [Smallanthus sonchifolius (Poepp. and Endl.) H. Robinson] leaves and tubers.
/ Reyes, C. T.; Villagen, R. C. P.; Rodriguez, E. B. / Philippine Journal of Crop Science 2014 Vol.39 No.2 pp.1-11 ref.37
Three novel compounds from the leaves of Smallanthus sonchifolius / Ying-Kun Qiu , Ting-Guo Kang , De-Qiang Dou , Li Liang & Feng Dong / Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, Volume 10, 2008, Issue 12
Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) Leaf Extract Attenuates Hyperglycemia and Skeletal Muscle Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Diabetic Rats / Klinsmann Carolo dos Santos, Bianca Guerra Bueno, Luana Ferreira Pereira, Fabiane Valentini Francisqueti et al / Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017: doi:  10.1155/2017/6418048
Studies on chemical constituents of the leaves of Smallantus sonchifolius(yacon): Structures of two new diterpenes / De-Qiang Dou, Fang Tian, Yin-Kun Qiu, Zheng Xiang et al / Natural Product Research, 2010, Vol 24, Issue 1 / https://doi.org/10.1080/14786410802393621
Antioxidant Effects of Herbal Tea Leaves from Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) on Multiple Free Radical and Reducing Power Assays, Especially on Different Superoxide Anion Radical Generation Systems / Shintaro Sugahara, Yuto Ueda, Kumiko Fukuhara, Yuki Kamamuta, Yasushi Matsuda, Tatsuro Murata / Yasuhiro Kuroda, Kiyotaka Kabata, Masateru Ono, Keiji Igoshi, Shin Yasuda Journal of Food Science, Nov 2015; Vol 80, Issue 11: pp 2420-2429 / https://doi.org/10.1111/1750-3841.13092
In vitro cytotoxic potential of Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) against HT-29, MCF-7 and HDFn cell lines / Rachelle P Mendoza / Natural Products Chemistry & Research / DOI: 10.4172/2329-6836.C1.010
Smallanthus sonchifolius (Yacon) leaves: an emerging source of compounds for diabetes management / Stella Marris Honoré, Susana Beatriz Genta, Sara Serafina Sanchez / January 2015
Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) improves gut health in animal model of colon cancer / Neuza MB Costa, Mariana MB Grancieri, Mirelle L Viana, Maria GV Tostes, Mariana DC Ignacchiti / The FASEB Journal, April 2017, Vol 31, No 1, Supplement
Germacranolide-type sesquiterpene lactones from Smallanthus sonchifolius with promising activity against Leishmania mexicana and Trypanosoma cruzi / ,  and  / Parasites & Vectors, 2017; 10:567 / https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-017-2509-6
Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius() as a food Supplement: Health-Promoting Benefits of Fructooligosaccharides / Brunno R Caetano, Nelci A de Moura, Ana P S Almeida, Marcos C Dias, Katia Sivieri, Luis F Barbisan / Butrents, 2016; 8(7) / DOI: 10.3390/nu8070436 / PMID: 27455312
Toxicogenetic evaluation of Smallanthus sonchifolius (yac9on) as a herbal medicine / Rocio Ayelen Moreira Szokalo, Marta A Carballo et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, July 2020, Vol 257, 112854 / https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2020.112854
Evaluation of Antioxidant, Antidiabetic, and Anticholinesterase Activities of Smallanthus sonchifolius Landraces and Correlation with Their Phytochemical Profiles / Damiela Russo, Patricia Valentao, Paula B Andrade, Eloy C Fernandez, Luigi Milella / Int J Mol Sci., 2015; 16(8): 17696-718 / DOI: 10.3390/ij,s160817696.
Renal toxicity caused by oral use of medicinal plants: the yacon example / Rejane Barbosa de Oliveira, Daniela Aparecida Chagas de Paula, Bruno Alves Rocha, Joao Jose Franco, Leonardo Gobbo-Neto, Sergio Akira Uyemura, Wagner Ferreira dos Santos, Fernando Batista da Costa / J Ethnopharmacol, 2011; 133(2): pp 434-441 / DOIL 10.1016/j.jep.2010.10.019 / PMID: 20951787
Phytochemical Properties and Nutrigenomic Implications of Yacon as a Potential Source of Prebiotic: Current Evidence and Future Directions / Yang Cao, Zheng Feei Ma, Hongxia Zhang, Yifan Jin, Yihe Zhang, Frank Hayford / Foods, April 2018; 7(4) / DOI: 10.3390/foods7040059
Antihyperglycemic and diabetic wound healing activity of Smallanthus sonchifolius leaves extract / Rena Herowati, Alip D S Saputri, Tri Wijayanti, Gunawan P Widodo / Matec Web of Conferences, 2018; 197. 07001 / https://doi.org/10.1051/matecconf/201819707001 /
Yacon Root Syrup: Are There Health Benefits? / Nourish: WebMD

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