Wild Yam – Benefits, Precautions, Dosage And Side-Effects

What do you think of when you hear the word Yam? The season of fall, delicious food rich in vitamins, nutrients and flavours. But in this article, we would not be talking of Yam, but instead we will be having a discussion on the Wild Yam.

Wild Yam has been used by the Native and Early Americans for many centuries now because of the numerous health benefits associated with it which range from therapy of estrogen in our body and natural production of progesterone which helps in the treatment of diverticulosis, arthritis and also helps in the increment of energy levels in our bodies. 

It has also been used by women to treat and reduce hot flashes and is known to treat colic in infants and children. Wild Yam is also considered as a phytoestrogen food because it is a plant which can be used to produce estrogen therapy.

Wild Yam is a natural plant with tremendous health benefits. It contains a chemical called as diosgenin which is also manufactured artificially in chemical laboratories just as Estrogen and DHEA and can be then used in the manufacturing of Steroids and Supplements. 

The main source of Diosgenin is the root and the bulb of the Wild Yam plant and it is extracted in a liquid form from the plant and this liquid contains diosgenin.

There are over 600 different varieties of Wild Yam found all over the world and many of these species are grown specifically in chemical laboratories for obtaining diosgenin which will then be used in the production of steroids. 

However, these plants are generally considered to be non-edible by humans because of the extreme bitter taste of the plant and so far, only 12 species out of the total 600 are considered to be fit for human consumption.

Wild Yam or the Diosgenin chemical is often considered to be a natural alternative to the Estrogen Therapy and thus it finds its uses in vaginal dryness reported in older women and estrogen replacement therapy, treating PMS(PreMenstrual Syndrome), Menstrual Cramps, strengthening the bones, enlarging breasts of women and increasing the sex drive in both men and women. 

The reason why it is so popular is because of its ability to act and fulfill all the functions of Estrogen in our body and it is yet not converted to estrogen in our body.

Our human body cannot naturally convert Diosgenin or Wild Yam into Estrogen and this is possible only in Chemical Laboratories.

Similarly, Wild Yam and Diosgenin is also considered to be a natural alternative for DHEA because Diosgenin is converted into DHEA in Chemical Laboratories and scientists and experts believe that this chemical reaction of Diosgenin’s conversion into DHEA is not possible naturally in our body. 

Thus Diosgenin can perform the functions of DHEA in our body but will never be conducted into DHEA and the levels of DHEA would not increase in your body. Thus it is advised that those people who are interested in increasing their body’s DHEA levels should not purchase Wild Yam for the same purpose.

Wild Yam is also associated with numerous other health benefits like treatment of diverticulosis i.e an intestinal disorder, pain in gallbladder, arthritis, improving the functioning of the brain, and also increases the energy levels in our body.

Wild Yam

Benefits of Wild Yam

  1. Potential to Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

    The U.S NAtional Library of Medicine suggests that Wild Yam might be able to regulate your  body’s blood sugar levels. Researchers believe that it is because of the presence of a chemical called Dioscoretine and it is proved to have positive effects on those who were administered Wild Yam. 

    Another research based in Nigeria said that Dioscoretine had some really positive effects on diabetic rabbits and they had a significant decrease in their blood sugar levels.

  1. Might help you win the battle against Cancer

    A research study was recently conducted in Japan to find out if Wild Yam can be used in the treatment of patients suffering from cancer and this research study was provoked because Wild Yam was constantly being used in Japan and people had reported tremendous benefits associated with its use.

    Till date there is no conclusive evidence of the effects of Wild Yam in fighting against Cancer, but the researchers did find a ray of hope from their studies.

    The researchers discovered the rhizome present in the Wild Yam plant which is responsible for the production of a major compound called Dioscin which is believed to have antiproliferative effects on Cancer causing Leukemia cells. 

    In the northern parts of Japan, Wild Yam is a very popular food and is added to the diet because of the health benefits associated with it. This research might prove that Wild Yam might be the food which can defeat Cancer.

    Another research work published in the “American Journal of Chinese Medicine” said that that wild yam extract has the ability to act as a weak phytoestrogen and it also protects humans from the proliferation of carcinoma causing MCF-7 cells in the Breast.

  1. Improves the Cholesterol Levels

    A research study which was recently published in the “Journal of Lipid Research” suggest that the diosgenin chemical found in the Wild Yam plant was found to increase the level of the Good Cholesterol or HDL Cholesterol and lowered the level of Bad LDL Cholesterol in the bodies of rats who were tested by administering Wild Yam for a period of one week.

    These rats were tested to find out the effect of Diosgenin on Cholesterol in Rat’s body level and it was proved that these rats had a better HDL to LDL Cholesterol level in their body. 

    Another research study proved that when mice and rats were administered Wild Yam, they had controlled levels of Hypercholesterolemia.

  1. Provides relief from Diverticulosis

    Some research studies prove that Wild Yam might be beneficial in the treatment of Diverticulosis which is an intestinal disorder and it happens when small pouches develop on the walls of your colon.

    When these small pouches are inflamed, it is referred to as Diverticulosis and this condition can be very painful and extremely discomforting. It might even lead to constipation and diarrhea and you might even suffer from fever at some times.

    Experts believe that nearly 30 to 40 % of the entire population above the age of 50 suffer from the condition of Diverticulosis and it is often caused by a low-fiber diet of these people.

    Wild Yam is believed to be an anti-inflammatory as well as an antispasmodic plant. Because of its antispasmodic property it is capable of reducing pains in the inflamed region caused because of abdominal cramping. A mixture of Wild Yam, valerian, and peppermint might offer relief.

  1. May help in reducing Photoaging

    Some research explains that diosgenin might have a depigmenting effect on your skin. It means that it can cure problems such as melasma, sun lentigo and melanodermatitis which are known to cause Hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is not a serious issue but it can be quite irritating because it leaves certain dark patches on your skin which might not look that well.

    Wild Yam extract is a very common ingredient in many anti-aging creams and some research studies have proved that it is capable of encouraging the growth of new cells on your skin and this might have an anti-aging effect.

  1. Might prevent hormonal imbalances

    Because of the presence of Diosgenin in Wild Yam, many researchers believe that it might be capable of preventing any hormonal imbalances in your body which might lead to the prevention of certain problems such as PreMenstrual Syndrome(PMS), infertility, weak bones and low sex drive and sexual arousals.
  1. Arthritis

    The root of the Wild Yam plant is said to have many anti-inflammatory effects and it has been used traditionally for the treatment of arthritis. Arthritis is a condition in which you experience pain, swelling and stiffness in your muscles and joints.

    Many research studies have proved that Wild Yam is capable of preventing problems such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis because of the presence of Diosgenin compounds in it.

Wild Yam benefits

Wild Yam recipe for Coughs and Nausea

Ingredients you will need

  • 8 ounces of Freshly Chopped root of Wild Yam or 4 Ounces or dried Wild Yam root.
  • 4 cups of water
  • A couple of drops(1 or 2) of essential peppermint oil.
  • Pure stevia to taste(an optional ingredient)

Directions

  • In a saucepan, start heating the water and then add yam in it. Cover the pan with a lid and bring the ingredients to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat once it boils and then let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Strain the yam and add the peppermint oil and Stevia to the yam water.
  • Have about half a cup twice everyday.
  • We recommend storing Wild Yam in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life.

Side Effects

Wild Yam is considered to be absolutely safe for human use because uptil now there are no major noticeable side effects of Wild Yam when it is administered orally or is applied to the skin. However, when consumed in large amounts, you might vomit.

Warnings and Precautions

The studies conducted on Wild Yam are limited so far and there is no conclusive evidence yet when it comes to the noticeable negative effects of Wild Yam.

Pregnant and Breastfeeding women

Uptil now there are no noticeable side effects of Wild Yam on women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding. However, they should still try to avoid the consumption of Wild Yam because there is no evidence of its safety. Still if someone wants to consume it, they should first consult their doctor. A research study conducted in the University of Maryland Research Centre says that Wild Yam might lead to some complications if you are already consuming Estradiol which is a major ingredient in the birth control pills. This combination might lead to some allergic reactions and it is recommended that you should stop using Wild Yam from the moment your lips or tongue swell, you experience rashes or have difficulties in breathing or swallowing.

Hormone Sensitive Conditions

If you are suffering from any hormonal related problems like Breast Cancer, Uterine Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Uterine Fibroids or Endometriosis, you should try to avoid the consumption of Wild Yam because of the presence of Diosgenin in it which might lead it to acts as estrogen. These conditions can worsen when exposed to estrogen and this is why we advise you to stay away from Wild Yam if you suffer from any hormone related issues.

Deficiency of Protein S

Individuals who suffer from the deficiency of Protein S face a higher risk of developing clots because Wild Yam has the ability to act as an estrogen and it might increase the risk of developing clots.

Dosage

There is no universal dosage of Wild Yam because it depends on a variety of factor such as the age, sex and medical condition of the user. One should always consult their doctor regarding the recommended dosage of Wild Yam and follow the instructions written on the packaging of the Wild Yam supplements.

Wild Yam is available usually in liquid extract and dried powder form. The liquid form can be used to make tea and one can also purchase capsules or tablets which are Wild Yam supplements. Wild Yam cream is also available in the market and can be applied directly on your skin.

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