Wild Yam is a twining tuberous vine, in the genus Dioscorea, belonging to the family Dioscoreaceae, native to North America. The herb has been used in traditional medicine to treat menstrual distress, menopause symptoms, infertilit, morning sickness, bilious colic, colic with spasmodic contractions, paroxysmal abdominal pain and stomach problems, etc.
1. Menopause symptoms
In the conduction of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study of the effects of a wild yam cream in 23 healthy women suffering from troublesome symptoms of the menopause,
found that short-term treatment with topical wild yam extract in women suffering from menopausal symptoms is free of side-effects, but appears to have little effect on menopausal symptoms. It emphasizes the importance of careful study of treatments for menopausal symptoms if women are to be adequately informed about the choices available to them, according to "Effects of wild yam extract on menopausal symptoms, lipids and sex hormones in healthy menopausal women" by Komesaroff PA, Black CV, Cable V, Sudhir K.(1)
2. Anti aging
In the identification of New developments in the realm of skin rejuvenation such as phytotherapy are at an astounding increasing pace in the cosmeceutical market, found that we assessed the top anti-aging creams currently on the market specifically evaluating their botanical ingredients. Some of the most common botanicals that are hot off the market are: Rosmarinus officinalis, Vitis vinifera (grape seed extract), Citronellol, Limonene, Oenothera biennis (evening primrose), Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice extract), Aframomum angustifolium seed extract, Diosgenin (wild yam), N6 furfuryladenine (kinetin), and Ergothioneine, accoridng to " Top 10 botanical ingredients in 2010 anti-aging creams" by Cronin H, Draelos ZD.(2)
3. Bone density
In the examination of Diosgenin, a steroid saponin extracted from the root of wild yam (Dioscorea villossa) and its claim of osteogenic property, found that diosgenin can enhance bone formation by stimulating the synthesis and secretion of Type 1 collagen and ALP and bone marker proteins Runx2 and osteopontin expression. The increased levels of these marker proteins, in turn, can increase the formation of calcium deposits within the ECM thereby increasing bone formation, according to "Diosgenin stimulates osteogenic activity by increasing bone matrix protein synthesis and bone-specific transcription factor Runx2 in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells" by Alcantara EH, Shin MY, Sohn HY, Park YM, Kim T, Lim JH, Jeong HJ, Kwon ST, Kwun IS.(3)
In the investigation of Drynol Cibotinis, a newly developed proprietary botanical combination of eight botanicals including Angelica sinensis, Glycine max, Wild yam, Ligustrum lucidum, Astragalus membranaceus, Cuscuta chinensis, Psoraleae corylifoliae, and Drynaria fortune and theirs effect on osteoporosis, found that Cibotin was found to promote cell spreading and greatly increase calcium uptake both instantaneously and in the long term (P < 0.01). Furthermore, Drynol Cibotin significantly increased production of two key extracellular matrix proteins in bone cells: Collagen I and Laminin B2. These results indicate that Drynol Cibotin alone or in combination with amino acids and vitamins may have prophylactic potentials in osteoporosis, according to "Effect of a novel botanical agent Drynol Cibotin on human osteoblast cells and implications for osteoporosis: promotion of cell growth, calcium uptake and collagen production" by Wegiel B, Persson JL.(4)
5. Breast cancer
In the study ofthe estrogenic activity and cellular effect of wild yam extract in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. found that wild yam extract also inhibited proliferation of MCF-7 cells. These data indicate that wild yam extract acts as a weak phytoestrogen and protects against proliferation in human breast carcinoma MCF-7 cells, according to "Estrogen activities and the cellular effects of natural progesterone from wild yam extract in mcf-7 human breast cancer cells" by Park MK, Kwon HY, Ahn WS, Bae S, Rhyu MR, Lee Y.(5)
6. Skeletal muscle
In the study of female rats were divided into: (1) controls; (2) ovariectomized rats; (3) ovariectomized rats receiving yam (250, 750, 1,500 mg/kg/day); (4) ovariectomized rats receiving diosgenin (10, 50, 100 mg/kg/day). Yam and diosgenin were administered for 8 weeks, found that Yam, but not its extract (diosgenin), is associated with the regulation of calpain isoforms in ovariectomized rats. Adequate yam supplements might improve the muscular calpain-related physiopathology associated with menopausal status, according to "Effects of yam and diosgenin on calpain systems in skeletal muscle of ovariectomized rats" by
Hsu KH, Chang CC, Tsai HD, Tsai FJ, Hsieh YY.(6)
7. Anxiety and neuroimmunological function
In the investigation of the effects of dioscorea (wild yam), a Chinese medicine, on emotional behavior and IL-2 levels in the brain of ovariectomized (OVX) rats.
found that OVX-induced anxiety and changes in neuroimmunological function in the cortex are reversed by dioscorea treatment. Furthermore, individual differences need to be taken into account when psychoneuroimmunological issues are measured and the EPM is a useful tool for determining anxiety levels when examining anxiety-related issues, accoridng to "Psychoimmunological effects of dioscorea in ovariectomized rats: role of anxiety level" by Ho YJ, Wang CF, Hsu WY, Tseng T, Hsu CC, Kao MD, Tsai YF.(7)
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1. Wild yam can cause allergic effects, including skin rash, stomach ache, etc.
2. Do not the herb if you are taking birth control pill or under hormone therapy due to hormonal effect without consulting with your doctor.
3. Do not give the herb to newborn, children or if you are pregnant or breast feeding with approval from the related field specialist.
4. Extract of wild yam can be toxic and pro-fibrotic in renal cells in long term use(a)