Wild yam is a perennial tuberous vine which is native to North America, Asia and Mexico. The root and the bulb of the plant have therapeutic uses due to the presence of the chemical diosgenin. Diosgenin is used to make steroids like estrogen and progesterone. Because of its antispasmodic properties it is also called colic root or rheumatism root. It is available as tincture, liquid or powder extract, or as cream, tablet or capsule.
Health Benefits of Wild Yam
- Relieves problems associated with menstruation and menopause: Its anti-spasmodic properties helps ease cramps accompanying menstruation. It serves as an excellent tonic for women by balancing the female hormones. Wild yam cream which has progesterone is used to ease discomforts associated with menopause. Wild yam tea also eases hot flashes, night sweats and mood changes that happen during menopause. It also lowers chances of endometrial and breast cancer. Moreover post menopause, bone loss increases in women as the body stops producing progesterone. Wild yam is beneficial in preventing and reducing severity of osteoporosis in these women.
- Good for the gastrointestinal tract: Its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties help relieve stomach and intestinal cramps, stomach flu and colic. It is also beneficial for treating flatulence and dysentery with cramps resulting from acidity in stomach. It has therapeutic effects on gallbladder inflammation, diverticulosis and chronic diarrhea as well.
- Increases fertility: Wild yam supplements are said to increase both male and female fertility. In men it increases blood circulation in the reproductive organs and enhances the quality and motility of sperm. Progesterone present in these supplements control ovulation and help women to conceive. Helps to get rid of ovarian cysts.
- Good for pregnant women: Wild yam infusion is said to avert miscarriage in pregnant women by relaxing the uterine muscles and nerves. Post delivery a wild yam tincture in cold water is given to treat delivery pain.
- Treats yeast infections: Yeast infections of the vagina causes dryness, irritation, pain, itching and genital discharges. Insertion of wild yam cream into the vaginal canal relieves these symptoms.
- Consumption of Mexican yam eases morning sickness, asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough.
- Chinese wild yam used topically heals boils and abscesses.
- It tones and nourishes the liver and endocrine system thereby assisting in balancing hormone production.
- It can ease spasm and pain in the urinary tract and during urinary incontinence it helps to strengthen the sphincter of the urinary bladder.
- Being a nervine with anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties it eases painful muscles, joints and tendons and therefore is beneficial in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis and fibromyalgia.
- It is also associated with lowering blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
Caution: It is safe in recommended doses. 1 or 2 capsules or tablets three times a day can be taken. The dosage for tincture is 40-100 drops and for liquid extract is 10-40 drops 3 to 4 times a day. However dioscorin present in wild yam causes toxicity in large amounts. It also interacts with some birth control pills and hormone therapies. So always consult your physician before using it.
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