Nepalis celebrating Maghe Sankranti cannot do it without yam, known as ‘tarul’ in Nepali. Consuming yam, ghee, chaku, and sesame laddu are parts of the rituals of this festival. Yams are generally boiled one day in advance before the Sankranti (the first day of Magh month), on the last day of Poush and eaten on the Sankranti day. This practice is in accordance with the old Nepali sayings ‘Poushko pakya, Maghma khanya’.
Besides the cultural connotation of yams among Nepalis, this ground vegetable has an abundance of medicinal benefits. Yam is a herbaceous vine producing tuber crop belonging to the family ‘Dioscoreaceae’ and genus ‘Dioscorea’. There are hundreds of species of yams with varieties of colours and sizes in the world. And, among them, ghartarul (cultivated yam) and bantarul (wild yam) are the most popular ones in Nepal.
Enriched in many nutrients and minerals like carbohydrates, protein, dietary fibre, potassium, vitamin B1, B6 and C, manganese, and many more, yam or tarul has many health benefits. Here are some of them.