Surana Elephant Foot Yam Uses, Research, Medicines, Side Effects

Elephant Yam – Amorphophallus campanulatus is an Ayurvedic herb, mentioned for the treatment of piles, amenorrhea, indigestion, anorexia, joint pain and elephantiasis. 

Latin name – Amorphophallus campanulatus Blume, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius
Family – Araceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name – Suran, Jamikand, Surankand, Suran Kand
English name – Elephant foot yam, Elephant yam, Stanley s water – tub, Konjac
Bengali name – Ol
Gujarati name – Suran
Marathi name – Suran
Kannada name – Suvarnagadde
Malayalam name – Chena
Tamil name – Karynai kilamku, Chenaikkirangu
Telugu name – Kandagadde
Read related: 6 Elephant Yam Home Remedies For Fatty Liver, Foot Corn, Obesity

Sanskrit synonyms

Sanskrit Synonyms of Stanley s water – tub:
Surana – Suryate Isyate Arshaple Gulma Cha Visha Dadaanane Ithi – Useful in piles and abdominal tumor
Arshoghna   – One which cures arsha
Kandula, Kandanayaka – Considered as the best in tubers
Vatari  – One which cures vataja diseases.
Sthulakande – The tuber is big
Rucyakanda – The tuber is tasty
Durnamaree – The tuber cures piles disease
Teevrakanda – The tuber has strong properties
Vanodbhava – Grows wildly in forest
Chitradanda, Samasteela, Kandi, Kandasurana, Ullo, Ola


Morphology of Amorphophallus campanulatus:
Surana is a small plant growing to a height of 2 – 4 feet with weak stem, blooms annually around the beginning of the raining season. The leaves are 2 – 3 feet wide. The flower bud emerged from the corm as a purple shoot, and later blooms as a purple inflorescence. The female and male flowers are on the same plant and are crowded in cylindrical masses as an inflorescence. The top part is responsible for secreting mucus that gives off putrid, pungent smell that is used to attract pollinating insects, the middle part of the inflorescence contains staminate, and the base of the inflorescence contains pistillate. The fruit is 3 – 4 inch in size, red colored and have 2 – 3 seeds. The tuber grows in big size, about 1 – 2 feet in diameter, dark brown in color. The plant grows in the wild all over India and also cultivated for the tuber as vegetable.

Properties, part used, dosage

Medicinal properties of Konjac:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent), Kashaya (Astringent)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry), Teekshna (Pungent)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces kapha and vata dosha)
Prabhava (Special effect) – Arshogna (cures piles)

Part used – Tuber
Dosage –
Powder – 3 to 6 g

Properties as per Bhojana Kutuhalam

According to Bhojana Kutuhalam eleventh chapter, Surana is pungent and hot in potency, It promotes digestion and alleviates vata related disorders. It checks dyspnoea, cough, disorders of kapha and especially hemorrhoids.

Raktasurana is heavy for digestion and treats gulma, colicky pain, worm infestation and disorders of blood.

Swethasurana imparts taste, Is pungent and hot in potency. It treats gulma, abdominal colic, worm infestation and all forms of lose of taste.

In the twelfth chapter it is mentioned that the leaf of surana is penetrating in nature, dry, hot in potency and vikarsi. It is helpful in people suffering from worm infestation, vitiation of kapha dosha, hemorrhoids etc and its stalk has laxative property and is heavy for digestion.

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of Amorphophallus campanulatus:
The corm contains an active diastatic enzyme amylase, betulinic acid, tricontane, lupeol, stigmasterol, beta – sitosterolanditspalmitateandglucose, galactose, rhamnose, calcium oxalate and xylose.

Uses of Surana

  • Tuber of surana is made into paste after adding with ghee and applied over the leg affected with elephantiasis and swelling of the joint.
  • The juice of surana kanda is consumed in a dose of 10 ml to treat piles, intestinal worms, indigestion and hepatomegaly.
  • Tuber of Amorphophallus campanulatus is boiled and consumed in a dose of 15 – 20 g to treat amenorrhea.
  • Cold infusion of tuber of Amorphophallus campanulatus is given in a dose of 15 – 20 ml to treat cough and asthma.
  • The dried powder of the tuber of surana is mixed with buttermilk in a dose of 3 – 4 g and consumed to treat hemorrhoids and piles.
  • Tuber of elephant yam is covered with mud, dried under sunlight and later burnt. The ash obtained is consumed in a dose of 5 – 6g to treat cases of internal growth like tumors.
  • Surana is also used as a vegetable all over the world in many cuisines.
  • Arshas (piles) – surana is anti-haemorrhoidal drug. Tubers and specifically given in piles caused by Kaphavata dosa.

Intake of buttermilk mixed with Surana Powder and Kutaja bark destroys haemorrhoids.
Arbudha – The Paste of Mature surana tuber mixed with sunthi and Pounded with water should be applied on the cyst frequently for a week.
Valmikasleepada – The paste of Surana tuber mixed with honey and ghee is applied to alleviate valmika and filariasis. [HS 3.36.7]
Tumour – the tuber or surana is burnt and then mixed with ghee and jaggery. Its paste destroys tumour. [HS.9.37.6]
Sukradaurballya and Rajorodha – Corms are useful in seminal and menstrual complaints.
In cough, asthma and general debility surana is used.
It is a best rasayana drug.
The drug Surana is antihelmintic aromatic and carminative. It is used in abdominal diseases liver and spleen  diseases and Piles.The tuber of surana pasted with earth should be cooked by closed heating. Then it should be taken with oil and salt. It destroys huemorrhoids. [, 8-156]

Sanskrit verse

Traditional description, Indications

Traditional description of Stanley s water – tub,
Vishada – cleansing, clarifying
Rooksha – dry
Kashaya – astringent
Katu –pungent, spicy
Laghu – light to digest
Deepana – improves digestion strength

Indicated in
Vishtambha – constipation
Gudakeela – Piles
Gulma – Tumors of the abdomen
Krumi – worm infestation
Shoola – abdominal colic pain

Another variety – Vanasoorana is especially useful in
Arsha – haemorrhoids
Sthoulya – obesity
Vata and Kapha-Vata disorders. 

The leaves
May worsen bleeding disorder
Considered best among Kanda Shaka.
Not ideal in Dadru – ring worm / tinea infection, urticaria, itching, allergic skin rashes and bleeding disorders.

Nala – stalk –
Ruchya – improves taste, relieves anorexia.
Kaphavatahara – Balances Kapha and Vata Doshas
Laghu – light to digest  

Elephant Yam Snacks

Elephant Yam snacks – by Dr MS Krishnamurthy
Soorana (Elephant foot) – vataka
Tuber of Elephant foot is taken and outer skin is removed. This is made into thin slices and dipped in buttermilk for a while so as to reduce its irritating nature. This is allowed for drying. These slices are dipped in the solution made up of sesame powder, asafoetida, cumin seeds and rock salt. The slices are fried in oil or ghee and served. Reference: Bhojana Kutoohala

Qualities and actions – Lekhana (scraping), heavy to digest, laxative, appetizer, Kapha and Meda vilayanakaraka (lipolytic) in nature.
This dish is useful in hemorrhoids, ulcers, chronic wounds, obesity etc.
Read related – 

Side effects

The tuber can cause throat irritation, oral ulcer and dryness of the throat. To reduce or prevent these adverse effects, it is necessary that the tuber should be cut and boiled in hot water after adding with lime or tamarind.
Many Species which are of wild variety or vanya surana are highly irritant on account of the presence of crystals or calcium oxalate. These are less abundant in the corms or cultivated plants or gramya Surana.

Surana is contra – Indicated in pittaja  vikara and rakapitta and also other conditions  where usna, tikshna and ksobhaka diet or food are restricted.
Usage or vanya surana (wild variety) causes mukhapaka, kantahara, kandu, upadrav.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines containing Surana:
Surana vataka: It is used in treatment of piles, indigestion, mal absorption syndrome, cough, cold, bronchitis, asthma, spleen disorders, inflammatory conditions, hiccups, fistula, urinary tract related diseases. It also acts as aphrodisiac, rejuvenative.
Surana avaleha: The medicine is in a leha form which is used in the treatment of hemarrhoids, fistula and digestive diseases.

Kultab tablet: Kultab Tablet is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine which reduces swelling of veins, checks bleeding piles, controls inflammation and overcomes constipation.
Bahushala guda: It is a medicine in leha form, mainly used in the treatment of piles, fistula, ascites, anemia, liver diseases.

Arshonyl tablet: Arshonyl Tablet is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine, used in the treatment of ano – rectal disorders.
Urshoset tablet: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine, used in the treatment of piles and constipation.


Research articles related to Amorphophallus campanulatus:
Anti – diabetic action: In the present study, the effect of the acetone extract of elephant – foot yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Dennst.) Nicolson) at 0.1 and 0.25% in the diet of streptozotocin – induced male Wistar diabetic rats was studied. A concentration – dependent amelioration of the diabetic status was observed with respect to all the above studied parameters. FBS of AEFD0.1 and AEFD0.25 groups showed a 23% and 37% reduction, respectively whereas the AFD group showed a 45% reduction relative to the SFD group.

Hepato – protective action: The present study was aimed to evaluate the hepato – protective effect of the dried tuber of Amorphophallus campanulatus (MAC) against acetaminophen induced hepatic injury in albino rats. Pretreatment with MAC reduced the biochemical markers of hepatic injury like serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase (SGPT), serum oxaloacetate transaminase (SGOT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bilirubin (BRN) and total protein shows hepato – protective activity.

Anthelmintic activity: Methanolic extracts of the tuber of Amorphophallus paeoniifolius were investigated for its antihelmintic activity against Pheretima posthuma and Tubifex tubifex. The extract with the concentrations of 25, 50 and 100 mg/ml were tested in the bioassay, which involved determination of time of paralysis and time of death of the worms. The extract exhibited significant antihelmintic activity at highest concentration of 100 mg/ml. The extracts were found not only to paralyze (Vermifuge) but also to kill the earthworms (Vermicidal).

Anti – bacterial action: The aim of the present study was to assess Amorphophallus paeoniifolius tuber and its peel for its antibacterial activity.The tuber and peel extracts of the selected plant were tested against five pathogenic bacteria. The ethanolic tuber extract of the plant showed inhibitory effect on four bacterial species such as Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli and Streptococcus mutans.

Classical categorization

Classical categorization of Sooran Kand:
Bhavaprakasha – Shaka varga
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu – Oushadhi varga
Raja Nighantu – Moolakadi Varga

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Amorphophallus
Species: A. campanulatus

Traditional references

In Susratha Samhitha 46th chapter properties of Surana is mentioned
In Astanga Sangahara Chikitsha Stana 8th chapter 156 the properties synonyms and uses of Surana is mentioned.
In Astanga Sangahara Sutra Sthana 13th chapter the uses of Surana is mentioned.
In Haritha Samhitha 3-36-7 there is mentioning of Surana in various disease.
In Bhavaprakash Nighantu Shaka Varaga [91 & 93] there is mentioning of gunas of surana.
In Kaiyadeva Nighantu Oshadivarga [1588-1589] there mentioning of uses and verities of surana.
In Raja Nighantu mulakadi varga 6264 there is mentioning of uses action of surana.
In cakradatha arshachikitha [5-20] there is mentioning of arshaputupaka.
In sharagandhara samhitha [2-1-41] there is also mentioning of arshaputupaka.
In shodala nighantu there is reference of surana putapaka.
In dhanvanthari nighantu properties of surana is mentioned.

Distribution, habitat

Plant is cultivated throughout the plains of country. It is cultivated in India and Srilanka Plants are also found in wild state. It is also grown in forest and also cultivated in gardens and it is sweet in taste
In India it is found UP, AP, Karnataka, Goa and Rajasthan.

There are two varieties of surana –
Gramya (cultivated),
Vanya (wild

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

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