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Wild Yam

Herbal medicines have many forms and shapes. Some are in leaves forms, roots and seeds. One of the renowned herbal plant is the wild yam or medically called Dioscorea villosa. The wild yam is commonly found in the eastern and northern part of America because of its preferred habitat. The wild yams usually grow in swamps, uncultivated areas, woods, hedges and fences.
What makes this herbal unique is that its pain relieving effect is beneficial for women aside from the fact that the tubers are also edibles. Moreover, wild yams are used both traditionally and culturally like pain relievers for menstruating women and as a medicinal plant during the Aztec and Mayan times. 

While it is true that wild yams are used for traditional-medical approaches, these tubers can also be cooked and eaten along with some seasonings. The best thing about wild yam is that it has an active ingredient called diosgenin, the ingredient that can be transformed to hormones and can produce good results in reducing the serum cholesterum level for women undergoing the menopausal stage. This is interesting because the yam have the chemical content that balances female hormones, the estrogen and the progesterone. 

Further, wild yam’s chemical properties are similar to the building blocks to the sex hormones. This is the reason why wild yam’s tubers are not the only beneficial part of the plant but its leaves as well. Despite of these benefits, further studies are made to identify and evaluate how wild yam could contribute to the medical science, particularly in the formulation of new medicines.  Some of the medical researches related to wild yam are some suggestions like using the yam for hormonal replacement therapies and pain relieving medicines. These suggestions and researches were formulated because of the claims received during medical researches—that the wild yam is used for menopausal symptoms reduction, expectorant and inflammatory reducing herb for many people. The wild yam is also used for high cholesterol reduction purposes because of its tremendous effect in absorbing bad cholesterol during the animal testing process made.
However, one of the opportunities in these medical researches is the maintenance of the wild yam source. As these tubers grow in swamps and uncultured areas, the tendency for extinction is possible. Because of the growing need for scientific and medical discoveries, herbal plants like wild yam are being rediscovered for the sole purpose of improving the quality of people’s lives, technological advancement in the field of medical science and the like. Unfortunately, similar to other herbs that grow in the wilderness, these tubers are being extracted for further studies but maintenance or cultivation is less possible to happen. 

Despite the scientific researches, tests and brief recorded findings, the use of wild yam is still not encouraged even though many have been using this herb for centuries and have passed to each generation. The conservation of this herbal plant is an opportunity because of the need to sustain the researches on the use of wild yam as vaginal creams. Moreover, the wild yam cream is being considered for its affectivity. While it is true that the scientific basis of the use of wild yam cream in cancer or as menopausal symptoms reduction cream, still, it is suggested that you discuss this matter with your gynecologist for further education. One word of caution however is to take note if you are allergic to some herbs and the chemical contents associated with such herb. In this regard, it is always best to prevent any allergic reaction by talking to your doctor initially before using the wild yam as a cream or eating it with your best seasonings.

Submitted on January 16, 2014