Wild Yam root is used to make tinctures, capsules and tablets.
Wild Yam is the source of diosgenin, a chemical that was and is used to make synthetic hormones such as oestrogen for the pharmaceutical industry.
It does not contain any natural oestrogen or any other hormones. And the human body cannot change diosgenin into such hormones despite misleading claims to the contrary.
Wild yam extract is often used today as a PMS remedy. It is used to help menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and cramps, and is occasionally used for intestinal spasms of various kinds.
There is little scientific evidence that it actually works despite its use over many hundreds of years in America and Asia.
Other benefits of wild yam include anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing actions, which probably account for its pain reducing effects. This may explain why many women claim relief from menstrual cramps, arthritis, and muscle pain while using it.
Doses depend on the instructions given by the manufacturers. Choose a wild yam extract supplement that is produced from standardized extracts. Most such supplements are not, and therefore have far less potency. Standardized extracts contain the highest therapeutic benefits.
Side effects are rare, but high doses can cause nausea and diarrhoea.
Do not give Wild Yam to children, or take it during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
Some Wild Yam creams have been found to contain synthetic progesterone, added presumably by the manufacturers to boost its activity. Check the labels for content and be wary of such products.
Wild yam extract is an interesting herbal alternative for PMS remedy, but more scientific study is needed to either prove or disprove its efficacy.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.
The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.