Working with Wild Yam
Wild yam relieves spasms and inflammation, especially of the digestive tract and uterus and is used for colic, nausea, morning sickness, and gastroenteritis. It is particularly suitable for chronic flatulence. Wild yam is also considered a relaxant and is useful for hysteria, dysmenorrhea, and menstrual cramps. It contains diosgenin, which is used in the synthesis of progesterone through a series of synthetic chemical steps, utilizing a number of solvents. This is the basis for numerous claims made for this herb–that it contains "natural progesterone," that it contains anabolic compounds that can help weight-lifters put on more muscle mass quickly, and that as a natural birth-control herb, it can prevent pregnancy. None of these claims has any basis in fact, according to scientific literature or traditional use. Wild yam is not effective as an anabolic herb, and it neither increases testosterone levels in men, nor is it very effective as a birth-control herb. Some women who were using it subsequently got pregnant! As to whether it has any effects on progesterone levels in women who are taking it, that remains to be seen. There is little or nothing in the historical record about the herb’s popular uses that would indicate that Dioscorea villosa has these effects, though they should perhaps not be discounted altogether. Manufacturers of products, such as topical creams and other preparations that claim to be effective hormone regulators, relieving undesirable symptoms that can occur with PMS and menopause, have been known to add synthetic progesterone to increase effectiveness. These products do use wild yam, soybeans, or other sources of raw compounds to synthesize progesterone, but that hardly means that they contain "natural progesterone." For all the chemical solvents that touch the natural material, and all the steps of purification, it might as well be synthetic progesterone. Proper hormone balance comes from general health, and a number of herbs may help by providing a mild hormonal regulation, such as the herb vitex. Time will tell what action wild yam tincture or other whole-plant extracts have on the human hormonal system.
Wild Yam has a taste of SWEET, ACRID and a temperature of COOL.
Conditions treated with Wild Yam
The information given here is designed to help you make informed choices about your health. The information is drawn from numerous sources—both traditional medicine practice, from the clinical experience of many herbalists currently practicing, and supported by decades of scientific research from the author. The research most consulted includes human clinical trials that help to determine the most effective and safe herbs for various needs, the best doses, and types of preparations.
The information offered in this database is not intended as a substitute for any that may have been prescribed by your health practitioner or physician.