Wild yam has a long history of use as a “woman’s” herb. The Aztecs and the Mayans were among the first people to use wild yam medicinally for its contraceptive effects and its ability to relieve menstrual cramps and other pain. European settlers subsequently used it to treat colic and joint pain. Although part of a large family of yams, Mexican wild yam is not related to the common sweet potato Ipomoea batatas .
The tuber or root of the plant.
Dioscorea villosa contains diosgenin, a steroid substance with a progesteronic effect. The roots are also rich in phyto-hormones, other steroid saponins, alkaloids, tannins, phytosterols and starch.
- Helps to ease pain.
- Relieves cramps and spasms in the digestive system, including abdominal colic, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis.
- Relieves menstrual cramps and dysmenorrhoea .
- Has an oestrogen-modulating effect and is useful in the treatment of menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes.
- Relieves inflammation and joint pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
- May lower blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
- May help overall liver health.
- May ease nervousness, restlessness and other nervous conditions.
Flora Force Products containing Mexican wild yam
Domestic & culinary uses
Although related to other yams, Dioscorea villosa’s tubers are not edible.
Mexican wild yam is a perennial twining, tuberous vine native to North America. Its roots are dry, narrow, and crooked, and bear horizontal branches of long creeping runners. It bears heart-shaped leaves and clusters of small, greenish-white and greenish-yellow flowers. It is not generally grown in South Africa.
- Photo by Phyozome.