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Wild Yam Root

Also known as
Dioscorea villosa, Colic-root, and Yam.

Introduction
There is a great deal of misinformation among consumers, practitioners, and natural product vendors alike about the connection between wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) and progesterone. The female hormone progesterone was first synthesized in a laboratory in 1934, but the materials needed for the process were so expensive that the hormone, that could only be made in very small batches, was priced at $1000 per gram, or about $10,000 per gram in current dollars. Researcher Russell Marker developed a way to derive progesterone from diosgenin, a compound found in the Mexican plant cabeza de negra, Dioscorea macrostachya. This made progesterone extremely cheap and led the way to the development of oral contraceptives. While diosgenin can be converted into progesterone in the laboratory, it cannot be converted into progesterone in the human body. Wild yam contains no progesterone, natural or otherwise. It is, however, extremely useful for many gynecological complaints.

Constituents
Ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, chromium, cobalt, dioscin, diosgenin, fiber, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, silicon, sodium, tin, zinc.

Parts Used
The dried tuber.

Typical Preparations
Teas, infusions, capsules, and added to creams and ointments. Seldom found in liquid extract form. Combined with cinnamon to treat chronic infection.

Summary
Traditional Chinese Medicine has used wild yam for at least 2,000 years, since the time of the writing of the Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica. Wild yam "separates the pure from the turbid." It is used to treat conditions manifesting themselves as cloudy urine or vaginal discharge. It relieves lower back pain, numbness or stiffness in the legs and feet, and muscle aches, and it clears "damp heat" from the skin at sites of eczema, boils, or psoriasis. Mountain yam is used to treat stomach upset accompanied by fatigue, heavy sweating, and loss of appetite. It also relieves chronic cough and wheezing and "binds" the kidneys to stop premature ejaculation, frequent urination, or vaginal discharge. Mountain yam is also used to stop severe thirst accompanying diabetes.

Precautions
None.

PURCHASE WILD YAM ROOT

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Unless otherwise stated, this information courtesy of MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS, with full, written permission for reuse. For further traditional information concerning WILD YAM, please visit this excellent resource fromBotanical.com.  Used with full, written permission.