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Information on Wild Yam including the benefits and uses of using Wild Yam. Your Health are located in Australia are a group of alternative / holistic doctors and use Wild Yam as part of a holistic approach to health.
Wild Yam
Botanical name

Dioscorea villosa


The tubers of wild yam contain a steroid-like constituent called diosgenin that is used as starting material for the synthesis of progesterone in the laboratory. The discovery of diosgenin revolutionised the pharmaceutical industry several decades ago, allowing for the development of the oral contraceptive pill. It is still used today.

Besides its hormonal activity, wild yam has anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and cholagogue(stimulates flow of bile from the gall bladder)properties, which traditional herbalists have used for a variety of conditions.

Conditions commonly used for
  • Inflammatory conditions - rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease), diverticulitis, gallbladder disease
  • Spasm - gallbladder colic, muscle cramps, spasmodic asthma, intestinal cramps, irritable bowel
  • Female reproductive problems - dysmenorrhoea (menstrual cramps), nausea of pregnancy, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms
Common dosage range

Generally recommended dosage is the equivalent to dried rhizome and root - 1 to 2 tsp, three times/day.

Note - the use of wild yam creams is purely as a hormonal remedy. The quality of these creams varies greatly, as does the application recommendations and does not contain progesterone.

Cautions, Contraindications and Side Effects

Wild yam is a safe and well tolerated remedy. No adverse side effects have been reported when taken in recommended therapeutic dosages.

'Wild yam' creams may be confused with, or compared to, 'Natural Progesterone' creams. These are two very different preparations.
Natural progesterone creams contain standard amounts of the hormone progesterone, synthesised from wild yam in the laboratory. They have significant hormonal effects due to absorption of the progesterone through the skin.
Wild yam creams do not increase progesterone levels in the body since it does not have the enzymes required to convert wild yam to progesterone.
For more information on 'Hormone Replacement' see the Treatments page.

Links & Other Information

It is not within the scope of the YourHealth website to provide comprehensive information on documented or potential herb-drug interactions. Please seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner.

Contact YourHealth for referenced material regarding this herb, any conditions or therapies mentioned.

A Medical Practitioner specialising in Integrative Medicine, a qualified Nutritionist or Naturopath will be well trained in the use of nutrients, including their proper dosage, contraindications and potential drug interactions.

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