Dioscorea villosa L. (Dioscoreaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Colic root, Rheumatism root. Constituents The major constituents of the root and rhizome are saponins based mainly on diosgenin and other sapogenins; they include dioscin and dioscorin. Use and indications Traditionally, wild yam was used to treat rheumatism and intestinal colic. However, more recently wild yam extract has found favour as a form of topical hormone replacement therapy for women. It is often claimed that wild yam is a source of ‘natural progesterone’, but this is not the case – it is a source of diosgenin, which is used by the pharmaceutical industry as a chemical precursor for the production of progesterone. Pharmacokinetics No relevant pharmacokinetic data found. Interactions overview No interactions with wild yam found.
Archive for category Wild yam'
Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions What will this herb do for me? Although the herb is used medicinally to treat menopausal symptoms, there is no scientific evidence to support this. When will it start to work? This cannot be answered based on scientific evidence. Are there any safety issues? Considering it is consumed as food, usual dietary intakes may be considered safe.
Insufficient reliable data are available to determine whether interactions may occur. Contraindications and Precautions None known. Pregnancy Use Likely to be safe when consumed in dietary amounts; however, safety is not known when used in larger quantities. Practice Points / Patient Counselling • Wild yam is a popular root vegetable in some parts of the world. • It is also a popular ingredient in commercial herbal formulas developed for menopausal women. • Wild yam has been touted as having progesteronal and/or oestrogenic activity, but current evidence suggests this is unlikely. • There is no clinical or scientific evidence to support the use of wild yam in treatment of conditions of the female reproductive system. • Wild yam root may be useful as an antispasmodic. Its use as a natural hormone appears misguided.
The therapeutic effectiveness of wild yam has not been significantly investigated under clinical trial conditions, so evidence is derived from traditional, in vitro and animal studies. MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS AND OTHER FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE CONDITIONS Although wild yam is a popular treatment for menopausal symptoms, there is currently no clinical research supporting its use for these indications. Wild yam has been used as a ‘natural alternative’ to oestrogen replacement therapy, to treat postmenopausal vaginal dryness, PMS, osteoporosis, and to increase energy and libido in men and women, as well as for breast enlargement. The use of wild yam as a natural progesterone appears misguided because diosgenin is not converted to progesterone, DHEA or other steroid hormones in vivo. One small, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial of topical wild yam extract showed no effect on menopausal symptoms. The study involved 23 healthy women suffering from troublesome symptoms of the menopause. After a 4-week baseline period, each woman was randomly assigned the active cream and matching placebo for 3 months. No changes in body weight, SBP or DBP, levels of total serum cholesterol, triglyceride, HDL-cholesterol, FSH, Read more […]
Common Name Wild yam Other Names Atlantic yam, barbasco, China root, colic root, devil’s bones, Mexican yam, natural DHEA, rheumatism root, wild Mexican yam, yuma Botanical Name / Family Discorea composita, Discorea floribunda, Discorea mexicana, Discorea macrostachya, Discorea villosa (family Dioscoreaceae [yams]) Plant Part Used Root and rhizome Chemical Components The root of the wild yam contains diosgenin, dioscin, dioscorin and a range of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamins B1, B2 and B3, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc (US DA Phytochemical Database 2003) along with polyphenols. Although diosgenin can be converted to dihydroepiandosterone (DHEA) and other steroid compounds in the laboratory, and has been used for commercial production of these compounds, this conversion does not occur in the human body. Additionally, wild yam does not contain progesterone or any other active steroid hormones. Historical Note Wild yams have made a significant contribution as a root crop to tribal people in some parts of the world such as Nepal. Medicinally, wild yam has inaccurately been labelled ‘natural progesterone’. Although wild yam does not contain progesterone or Read more […]