Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam)--a valuable medicinal food: a review

J Med Food. 2014 Jul;17(7):733-41. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2013.2818. Epub 2014 Jun 12.


Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam, also known as sweet potato, is an extremely versatile and delicious vegetable that possesses high nutritional value. It is also a valuable medicinal plant having anti-cancer, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory activities. Sweet potato is now considered a valuable source of unique natural products, including some that can be used in the development of medicines against various diseases and in making industrial products. The overall objective of this review is to give a bird's-eye view of the nutritional value, health benefits, phytochemical composition, and medicinal properties of sweet potato. Specifically, this review outlines the biological activities of some of the sweet potato compounds that have been isolated, the pharmacological action of the sweet potato extract, clinical studies, and plausible medicinal applications of sweet potato (along with a safety evaluation), and demonstrates the potential of sweet potato as a medicinal food.

Keywords: 4-Ipomeanol; anti-cancer activity; antidiabetic activity; antioxidant activity; phytochemical composition; sweet potato.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Cardiovascular Agents / chemistry
  • Coumarins / chemistry
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / chemistry
  • Ipomoea batatas / chemistry*
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Quinic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Quinic Acid / chemistry
  • Triterpenes / chemistry


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Coumarins
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Phenols
  • Phytochemicals
  • Triterpenes
  • caffeoylquinic acid
  • Quinic Acid
  • coumarin