Part Used: Dried rhizome
Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) is a herbaceous perennial climber growing to 3m, which is common in the eastern and central United States. The herb has antiinflammatory; antispasmodic; cholagogue; contraceptive; diaphoretic; homeopathy; vasodilator; spasmolytic; antirheumatic; relaxant for smooth muscle; and mild peripheral vasodilator properties. It is helpful to the liver and the endocrine system. It is also used in regulation of the female system, particularly during menopause and menstrual distress, as well as used in treating infertility. Traditionally, it has been used for easing menstrual cramps and for threatened miscarriage.
Wild Yam also promotes the flow of bile and is sometimes used to ease the colic of gallstones. Its anti-inflammatory action is due to the steroidal saponins, and it is often used for the inflammatory stage of rheumatoid arthritis. It has a diuretic effect which, combined with its antispasmodic action, and makes it useful in painful conditions of the urinary tract. Its antispasmodic action also makes it useful for treating poor circulation and neuralgia. It is given for intermittent claudication (pain in the calves caused by spasms in the blood vessels supplying the leg muscles). Wild Yam contains hormonal substances very similar to progesterone. Its roots contain diosgenin. This is widely used in modern medicine in order to manufacture progesterone and other steroid drugs. These are used as contraceptives and in the treatment of various disorders of the genitary organs as well as in a host of other diseases such as asthma and arthritis. The roots are anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic and vasodilator.
PDR Health. http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/herbaldrugs/102940.shtml
Plants for a Future. http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Dioscorea+villosa&CAN=COMIND
Purple Sage Botanicals. http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/wildyam.htm