Latin Name: Dioscorea Villosa
Other Name: American Yam, Chinese Root, Colic Root
Wild yam is a twinning, tuberous vine with heart-shaped leaves that is native to North America and China.
People have used it for centuries in alternative medicine for various ailments like menstrual discomforts, colic and coughs. Its root, or rhizome is used in commercial preparations as it contains diosgenin, a phytoestrogen that can promote the production of several hormones in humans such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and estrogen. As such, some traditional medicine practitioners use wild yam to relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, low mood, night sweats and etc. by stabilising the level of estrogen.
Wild yam is also believed to have anti-spasmodic properties that might be helpful for reducing cramps and muscular pain associated with premenstrual symptoms. In addition, wild yam is also used to manage joint inflammation asssociated with rheumatoid arthritis, due to its potential anti-inflammatory properties.