Benefits Of Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa) For Health

Benefits Of Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa) For Health


Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa)


Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa) is known as other names: American Yam, Atlantic Yam, Barbasco, China Root, Chinese Yam, Colic Root, Devil's Bones, Aluka, Mexican Wild Yam, Rheumatism Root, DHEA Naturelle, Dioscorea, Dioscoreae, Dioscorea alata, Dioscorea batatas, Dioscorea composita, Dioscorea floribunda, Dioscorea hirticaulis, Dioscorea japo...

Wild Yam is a perennial climbing vine native to Eastern N. America from New England to Minnesota and Ontario, south to Florida and Texas. Most common in the central and southern United States Wild Yam is found growing in damp woods and swamps, thickets, roadside fences and hedges.

Wild Yam plant is a trailing vine climbing over adjacent shrubs and bushes, growing to a length of 15 feet or more with a smooth, reddish-brown stem and heart-shaped long petioled leaves from 2 to 6 inches long and 1 to 4 inches wide. Wild yam Leaves have very prominent veins which run lengthwise from the center top of the heart shape out into a fan patterWild Yam Dioscorea batatas picturen. They are usually alternate, but sometimes grow in twos and fours near the base of the plant. The wild yam root runs horizontally beneath the surface of the ground, it is long, branched, crooked, and woody, forming tubers which are light brown outside and white fibrous inside. The small, greenish-yellow flowers are produced in drooping clusters about 3 to 6 inches long (male) and in drooping, spike-like heads (female), blooming from June to August. Gather tubers and roots in fall, dry for later herb use. Not to be stored for longer than 1 year.

Benefits Of Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa) For Health
Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa) Picture

Wild Yam is edible and medicinal, though said to be bland, when cooked with seasoning it is tasty. Used for centuries as a medicinal herb by the Aztec and Myan peoples for a wide range of ailments including many female problems and to relieve the pain of child birth. Research indicates that this is a powerful  alternative medicine containing many steroidal saponins, mainly Dioscin which is widely used to manufacture progesterone and other steroid drugs used as contraceptives and in the treatment of various disorders of the genitary organs as well as in other diseases such as asthma and arthritis. Other constituents Phytosterols (beta-sitosterol), alkaloids and Tannins make this plant useful as an antiinflammatory, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic and vasodilator. A decoction of the root is used to alleviate many of the symptoms of menopause and PMS such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and vaginal dryness. It is also used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, gall bladder complaints, spasmodic cramps, painful menstruation, and in small doses is especially helpful in treating the nausea of pregnant women.

Benefits Of Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa) For Health


Going back to history, one comes to learn that the people of both Maya and Aztec civilizations widely used wild yam as a medicine most probably to alleviate pain. In North America, the wild yam is also known as colic root and rheumatism root which provides ample indication of how the early European settlers in this continent used the herb. Generally, the wild yam was used to get relieve from disorders marked by inflammation or pain in the connective tissue structures of the body. At the same time, herbalists in North and Central America extensively used wild yam as a traditional medicine to alleviate excruciating menstruation, ovarian pain and also during agonizing labor conditions.

Wild Yam is a very good antispasmodic so is good for menstrual cramps, relaxing muscles, soothing nerves, relieving pain, poor circulation and neuralgia, for the inflammatory stage of rheumatoid arthritis and for abdominal and intestinal cramping.

Wild Yam used for estrogen replacement therapy, vaginal dryness in older women, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menstrual cramps, weak bones (osteoporosis), increasing energy and sexual drive in men and women, and breast enlargement.

Benefits Of Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa) For Health
Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa) Picture

Wild yam is also used for treating a disorder of the intestines called diverticulosis, gallbladder pain and for increasing energy.

Also known to have a therapeutic action on overall liver health, it is believed that wild yam root's ability to lower blood cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure indirectly helps the liver by increasing its efficiency and reducing stress.

Its steroidal saponins are also anti-inflammatory , making it a useful herb when treating inflammatory conditions of the bowel. Its diuretic effect, combined with the antispasmodic action, soothes painful conditions of the urinary tract.

Some women apply wild yam creams to the skin to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.

Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa) Special Precautions and Warnings


Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking wild yam if you are pregnant or breast feeding.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Wild yam might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use wild yam.

Protein S deficiency: People with protein S deficiency have an increased risk of forming clots. There is some concern that wild yam might increase the risk of clot formation in these people because it might act like estrogen. There is one case report of a patient with protein S deficiency and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who developed a clot in the vein serving the retina in her eye 3 days after taking a combination product containing wild yam, dong quai, red clover, and black cohosh. If you have protein S deficiency, it is best to avoid using wild yam until more is known.