Yam or yam is a plant native to America, also known as wild yam or wild yam. Coming from the dioscoreaceae family, the plant has the scientific name “dioscorea”. It is a perennial and climbing plant that can reach 6 meters in height. It has large heart-shaped leaves and small flowers. The Aztecs already saw the benefits of yam many years ago when it cured certain ailments. However, around 1940, when Russell Marrker discovered that it was rich in diosgenin and dioscin, the plant generated a lot of interest. In the pharmaceutical industry, this diosgenin is extracted to be used in the formulation of hormonal treatments.

  • Yam varieties

Wild yam can refer to hundreds of different species, not all of which necessarily have the same benefits. However, they have similar characteristics. This is the case of dioscorea composita, diascorea barbasco and diascorea mexicana. In any case, their growing conditions are the same. They grow especially in humid and wooded areas with a tropical climate. They are found mainly in Central America and Asia.

The use of yam as a medicinal plant

The property associated with yam is that of hormonal phytomodulator. THE menopausal disorders like hot flash and mood swings are related to the secretion of sex hormones. The same is true of weight gain and low libido. By containing diosgenin, a plant precursor of steroid hormones, the plant helps to relieve these effects of menopause. Yam is a hormonal phytomodulator capable of inducing hormonal changes. It stimulates the production of steroid hormones like progesterone and estrogen and stimulates certain receptors. This is how it fights against hormonal imbalances.

Before its use as hormone regulator popularized, the Aztecs have already used yam for healing. They used it in particular to treat rheumatism, sciatica, skin problems and ovarian pain. It also helps to relax the muscles and therefore can relieve cramps. Other benefits are currently being studied, such as anti-fatigue, anti-cellulite, protective cardio effects, etc.

How is it used in herbal medicine?

The underground part of the yam consists of rhizomes that will be harvested for use in herbal medicine. These are washed, crushed and then left to dry. The objective is to obtain a yam flour which will be offered as such or in the form of food supplements. Currently, wild yam creams are also marketed. There is no specific dosage for the dosage but currently it seems to vary from 300mg to 2g per day. This dosage varies according to the needs and the type of extract used.

Possible contraindications

There has not been a specific study on the contraindications of yam. However, there are certain precautionary measures that we agree to take. So, yam is contraindicated for children, breastfeeding women, and people already on hormonal treatment. Concerning the side effects, major effects do not exist except for a few transient digestive disorders. This can be, for example, vomiting. In any case, in case of doubt, it is always advisable to consult a health professional.

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