Wild Yam Benefits

Wild Yam
Latin Name

Dioscorea villosa

Also Known As

Colic root, rheumatism root, China root, devil's bones, yuma, Mexican wild yam, Wildeyamwurzel


North America

Parts Used

Dried rhizome and roots

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Wild Yam / Dioscorea is a popular modern use is as an alternative to HRT, a natural breast enhancer and treatment for PMS. Wild Yam is a very good antispasmodic so is good for menstrual cramps, relaxing muscles, soothing nerves, relieving pain, poor circulation and neuralgia, for the inflammatory stage of rheumatory arthritis and for abdominal and intestinal cramping.

Wild Yam / Dioscorea has long been used for its benefits in women's reproductive health, including pre-menstrual syndrome and menopausal problems.
The Central American wild yam provides the source material, Diosgenin from which the modern contraceptive pill, cortisones and synthetic sex hormones are derived. It has a world wide reputation for being used for female complaints, as Diosgenin is a producer of progesterone and is indicated in conditions of hormone imbalance.

Wild Yam / Dioscorea is also anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, diuretic and liver cleansing. So it is useful for:
Menstrual cramps
Relieving pain
Rheumatoid arthritis
Breast enhancement
Stimulating libido
Symptoms of menopause
Threatened miscarriage
Irritable bowel syndrome
Intestinal colic
Poor circulation

Typical Use

Suggested Dosage
Wild Yam / Dioscorea Herbal Tincture
Take 2-4ml up to three times a day
or as recommended by a herbal practitioner.

Folklore and History

Traditionally Wild Yam / Dioscorea was used by the Ancient Aztec and Mayan peoples as a pain relief agent, because of its natural plant steroids.

Wild Yam

Wild yam contains alkaloids, steroidal saponins, tannins, phytosterols and starch


Women with hormone-dependent conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and cancers of the breast, ovaries, or uterus should not take or use wild yam due to its possible estrogenic effects. Men with prostate cancer should also avoid taking wild yam.

Pregnant women should not take wild yam because it may stimulate the uterus to contract, possibly causing a miscarriage.

Because very little information is available on how wild yam might affect an infant or a small child, its use is not recommended while breast-feeding or during early childhood.