Also primarily known as Dioscorea Villosa, Wild Yam has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine. Its applications are varied. Mostly known for treating menopausal symptoms, the Wild Yam has also been used to treat inflammation, abdominal cramping, menstrual cramps, nervous conditions, high cholesterol, gallstones, urinary tract issues and liver problems. Wild Yam is not the same as the yams or sweet potatoes purchased at the supermarket.
Because it contains steroidal saponins it appears to be effective as an anti-inflammatory. Saponin originates from the word soap as these compounds taste bitter and tend to foam when exposed to liquids. These saponins mimic human hormones and can be converted to progesterone and estrogen but in a weaker form than synthesized hormones.
Wild Yam extracts are plant based and weaker in strength hormonally, they are an ideal choice for the treatment of menopausal symptoms.
Although considered generally safe, Wild Yam should not be taken by those women with estrogen dependent cancers, during pregnancy or breast feeding or by those who are taking other forms of hormone treatment.
As with any supplement, consult your health care provider if you have questions regarding the use of Wild Yam.