Wild Yam

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Disclaimer: This data is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to prescribe or treat specific problems. As with any herb or medication, please consult your Doctor of Naturopath or your Medical Doctor before trying anything new.

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(Dioscorea villosa)

The root is the part of this herb that is used. Wild Yam has Cholagogue properties (herbs that promote the flow of bile), as well as minor antispasmodic and diaphoretic properties. Useage of this herb can affect the liver, gall bladder, muscles & joints.

Wild Yam has often been thought of as a "steroid" herb, because it contains "steroid-like substances" that is used in the process of making some birth control pills. This also explains why Wild Yam can be found in many "gland balancing" formulas.

Wild Yam is a good antispasmodic herb and is used for cramping in the abdomen, spasms of the bowel, and menstrual cramps. Wild Yam is sometimes used to ease afterbirth pains but NOTE-the tincture should be used in COLD water. The hot decoction causes too much relaxation to the uterus and can allow hemorrhaging to occur.

Wild Yam is a good herb for the liver as well as the gall bladder. It is also believed to help relieve stiffness and soreness of the joints when combined with other blood cleansing herbs.

Wild Yam is usually prepared in the form of a Decoction, a Tincture, a Fluid Extract, or as a Powder for capsules.

I came across an arthritis and pain formula using wild yam. I have not personally tried this formula but thought I'd pass it along to the list anyway.

22 drops Tincture of Burdock Root
15 drops Tincture of Black Cohosh
18 drops Tincture of Motherwort
32 Drops Tincture of Wild Yam

The suggested doseage was to take the following in one cup of warm water three times a day.

As I feel I must say again the disclaimer that anyone trying something new should always check with a Doctor of Naturopathy or seek medical advice first, and that I in no way prescribe, advise treatment, or diagnose with this information.

I will say that I can see how this might be a good formula if you can take it because of the steroid like substances that some of these herbs contain.

Also known as "Colic Root", Wild Yam is actually listed as being a Vine. It has tuberous rhizomes and grows heart shaped leaves which has pronounced veins that give the leaves a somewhat "quilted" appearance. It has showy yellow green flowers. This vine can grow up to 17 feet tall!

Wild Yam can be found in wet woodlands, swamps, USA, and Mexico.

Some of the other internal indicated uses of Wild Yam are: Cramps, Flatulence, Griping pains in the Bowels, Hepatitis, Nausea, Ulcers, & Spasmodic Asthma.

When Wild Yam is used in a 2 ounce dosage with honey added it is said to help nausea.

Basic Wild Yam Cream Recipe
*Note, this recipe has no Essential Oils or other herbs in it as some of the commercial wild yam creams, but merely a very basic cream recipe using the Wild Yam Root. I made some last night and am going to try it over the next month on my skin to see if I notice an difference. If anyone else tries it, please let me know your results.

Wild Yam Decoction:
1 Ounce Wild Yam Root

Cream Ingredients
1 Cup Sweet Almond Oil (Or Jojoba Oil)
1 Cup Wild Yam Decoction
1 Ounce Beeswax
1/2 Teaspoon Borax
2 Vitamin E Capsules

Begin by placing the one ounce of Wild Yam Root and make a decoction by putting it in a pan which contains 1 pint of boiling water. Simmer for approximately 25 minutes over very low heat. Remove from heat. Strain. Add borax and stir until dissolved.

In a glass or enamel container, place the oil and the beeswax and let the wax melt slowly over a double boiler. When melted, SLOWLY pour the decoction into the wax/oil mixture and using an old blender, blend until mixture is creamy and all the water is incorporated. Add the contents of the two vitamin e caps and mix until well blended. Spoon into sterilized containers with tight fitting lids.

Herbalist Kloss says to prevent miscarriage, "Combine with powdered ginger to prevent miscarriage. One teaspoon of wild yam to 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger." I don't have access to see what else if any he referenced about this, like how often, etc. Some herbalists might say to add Red Raspberry to this formula and steep into a tea and take by mouthfuls every hour during this crisis condition.

In the book "HERBS" by Leslet Bremness by Eyewitness Handbook I just found where it states "It (meaning wild yam) also yields steroids and cortisone, anti-inflammatories to treat rheumatism, and hydrocortisone creams for eczema." Hmmm, cortisone cream for eczema! This just might just turn out to be a very valuable cream for minor aches and pains and problem skin conditions. I still wonder just how much hormonal balance one would get from it. I will keep researching this.

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Marcia Wilson
Journeywoman Herbalist
The Allways Natural Herb Farm

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