Wild Yams - History and Methods of Use

Wild yams, or Dioscorea villosa, have an extremely long history of usage in Central America as a natural pain reliever and was popular amongst the Ancient Aztec and Mayan people primarily for the same reasons of serving as a pain relief medication.

Wild yam is found across the United States (east and midwest), Latin America, China, Africa, Peru and India. The plant is also known as colic root and rheumatism root. This herb's tuberous root has a long history of both medicinal and culinary use.

Wild yam is a perennial vine known as the Mexican Yam or Dioscorea villosa, native to North America. The Chinese yams are ornamental plants native to China, but they now grow in North America as well. They are known as Dioscorea oppositifolia and Dioscorea batatas but are called shan yao in Chinese herbal medicine.

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A note about Wild Yams - History and Methods of Use

Herbs are God and nature's gifts to us. While the use of herbs and herb remedies has brought excellent results for many people, do note that their health benefits may be limited when they are used in isolation. However, when combined with some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition, the impact on one's health will be greatly magnified.

In natural health and healing, we believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases. We also believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man’s understanding. It is thus a good idea to apply these fundamental health steps no matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem.

The roots and rootstock (rhizomes) of both types of wild yam are used in herbal remedies. These plants are different from yams and sweet potatoes that are normally eaten in North America and elsewhere in the world as food.

Routes of Administration

Wild yam is available individually in oral forms such as capsules and tinctures. It is also often combined into certain formulas used in treating women's menstrual cycle problems or menopause elixirs with various other herbs like black cohosh or dong quai, which also have effects on female hormones.

Usually, oral forms of wild yam are taken at the rate of three doses per day. Total recommended daily amounts differ, however, so the directions on the package should be followed.

Wild yam is a diverse herb with multiple uses, and how it is taken determines the effect on the body. It also makes a difference in what form the herb is taken - the tea has a different effect than the powder or tincture, just as taking it as a hot tea has a very different effect than taking a tincture in cold water.

The wild yam herb can be used to both promote and decrease fertility; the different effects are achieved by the amount taken and when and how long the herb is used during each cycle. When wild yam is used in moderate doses, for the first half of the menstrual cycle, from menses to ovulation, then discontinued for the remainder of the cycle, the effect is to increase fertility. When wild yam is used in contraceptive doses, and is taken daily throughout the cycle, the effect is to reduce fertility and, when taken correctly, can act as a contraceptive.

Wild yam is also sold in the form of topical creams or gels, which may contain up to 12% of wild yam extract. Extracts or tinctures are concentrated liquid preparations usually made by soaking chopped or mashed plant parts in a liquid such as alcohol, and then straining out the solid parts.

Wild Yam Pages | Wild Yams - History and Methods of Use | Wild Yam Benefits on Health | Wild Yam Root, Wild Yam Extract and Mexican Wild Yam - More Information and Benefits | Benefits of Wild Yam Cream, Gel and Lotion | Wild Yam Herb Health Benefits and Properties - Research and Studies | Side Effects of Wild Yam - also Safety, Caution and Contraindications

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