What is Wild Yam?
Wild yam, particularly Dioscorea Villosa, the North American version of Wild Yam is an antispasmodic known to help treat many uncomfortable conditions that plague women, like endometriosis and the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. Available in multiple forms, Wild Yam is a great way to naturally boost your health.
Wild Yam Plant
Grown around in various locations of the U.S., Wild Yam is extracted from a perennial vine. The Wild Yam plant produces yellow-green heart-shaped leaves and is attached to a long knotty root.
Wild Yam contains an active compound called Diosgenin. Diosgenin replicates the actions of the human hormone estrogen. A phytoestrogen, the first birth control pills placed on the market were extracted from diosgenin.
One study conducted in 2009 found that diosgenin may be effective in fighting certain types of cancer, how many more studies are needed to determine it’s efficacy as an anti-cancer treatment.
Wild Yam Benefits
1) Natural Hormone Replacement
Some women have found that Wild Yam helps treat some of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with menopause. Some websites claim that Wild Yam can help alleviate hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats.
Used in capsule or cream form, Wild Yam may be a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy. It’s important to note that there is currently no strong scientific supporting this claim and more research is needed.
2) Painful Menstruation Symptoms
Known for it’s antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, Wild Yam may be beneficial to those suffering from painful cramps associated with menstruation and the painful condition endometriosis.
To try Wild Yam as a natural treatment for menstruation and endometriosis, try adding the herb into a cup of tea.
- Simply add 1 teaspoon of powdered Wild Yam to a mug into a one cup of water and let simmer on the stove for 30 minutes.
- Do not drink more than one cup of Wild Yam per day.
3) Improve Digestion
Wild Yam may be the answer to flatulence and healthy digestion. Rigorous scientific testing is scant, however, some experts claims that Wild Yam boosts digestion by improving the functioning of gall bladder and liver, two organs instrumental to the process by encouraging the secretion of bile and breaking down food.
4) Regulates Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
Wild Yam contains a beneficial substance called dioscoretine. Animal studies have shown that this substance effectively lowers blood sugar. Another study found that dioscoretine may lower bad LDL cholesterol while boosting good HDL cholesterol. More rigorous scientific testing is needed.
Other Potential Benefits of Wild Yam
Some people have found that the anti-inflammatory properties of Wild Yam make it an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and controlling metabolism. More studies are needed to back up these claims.
Some Considerations and Potential Side Effects
Before taking Wild Yam, please consider the following:
- As always, before trying a supplement, always speak to your physician.
- Check with your physician to ensure that Wild Yam does not interfere with any medications or supplements you’re already taking. Also discuss whether Wild Yam will enflame any existing conditions you may have.
- Wild Yam is not recommended for the use of pregnant women, women who are nursing, or children.
- When making a Wild Yam tea, only use capsules purchased from the health food store from a reputable company. Using fresh Wild Yam root may result in vomiting.
- When taken in large doses, Wild Yam may cause stomach upset and vomiting.
- Because Wild Yam mimics estrogen, women with certain types of cancers, such as breast cancer or uterine cancer should avoid this herb. If you decide the take this supplement, it should be done so under the supervision of a physician.