Herb-Drug Interactions: Wild yam

Dioscorea villosa L. (Dioscoreaceae)

Synonym(s) and related species

Colic root, Rheumatism root.


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.


No relevant pharmacokinetic data found.

Interactions overview

No interactions with wild yam found.