Wild Yam

“The reproductive, nervous system and stomach herb”

Other names: Colic root, china root, devil’s bones, yuma

Scientific name: Dioscorea villosa, Dioscorea dumetorum, bulbifera, D. versicolor, D. deltoidea and D. triphylla

Common names:

Ayurvedic names: Aluka,   Genthi – which Indian tribe?   Kathua – kill dari

Chinese names: Shan-yao

Bangladesh names: Suran

Arabic names:    اليام البري (al yaam al barri)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae?

Approximate number of species known: more than 150

Common parts used: Dried root

Collection: Blooming time is summer

Annual/Perennial: Perennial


Actions: antibilious, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, hepatic

Known Constituents: Glycoside and steroidal saponins ionclduing diosgenin 

Diosgenin is in both Fenugreek and Wild Yam.  It has been considered for it’s potential to lower hyper cholesterol

Dioscroera nepal:

Bitter components were identified as furanoid norditerpenes (diosbulbins A and B). Diosbulbins A and B were found in the range of 0.023–0.046 and 0.151–0.442 g kg−1, respectively. Results demonstrated that diosbulbin B, with an average value of 0.314 g kg−1, was the principal bitter compound as compared to diosbulbin A (0.037 g kg−1). The toxic alkaloid, dioscorine and histamine (an allergen) were not detected in these tubers, whereas cyanogens (as HCN equivalent) content were found ranging from 3.2 to 6.0 ppm.


Dioscorea bulbifera, D. versicolor, D. deltoidea and D. triphylla

crude protein, ash, crude fat and crude fibre contents were 1.6–3.1, 0.5–1.2, 0.2–0.3 and 0.6–1.5% of fresh weight, respectively. The ranges of minerals in mg per 100 g fresh weight were K (250–560), Na (4.15–17.8), P (33.1–61.6), Ca (14.3–46.9), Mg (18.3–27.3), Cu (0.10–0.21), Fe (0.39–2.92), Mn (0.14–0.35) and Zn (0.22–0.53). Sulfur-containing amino acids and lysine were the most limiting in all species studied. Nutritional compositions of wild yams were similar to those reported for most cultivated yams in several parts of the world except for the higher value of crude fibre found in our samples.


Preliminary phytochemical screening confirmed the presence of saponins, disgenin, -sistosterol, stigmasterol, cardiac glycosides, fat and starch


β-D-glucopyranosyloxy)-22-methoxyfurost-5-en-3-yl-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1 → 3)-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1 → 4)-O-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1 → 2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside (1) (or methyl parvifloside), ((3β,25R)-26-(β-D-glucopyranosyloxy)-22 methoxyfurost-5-en-3-yl-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1 → 2)-O-[β-D-gluco- pyranosyl-(1 → 4)]-β-D-glucopyranoside (2) (or methyl protodeltonin), (3β,25R)-spirost-5-en-3-yl-O-β-D-glucopy ranosyl-(1 → 3)-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1 → 4)-O-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1 → 2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside (3) (or Zingiberensis saponin I) and (3β,25R)-spirost-5-en-3-yl-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1 → 2)-O-[β-Ds-glucopyranosyl -(1 → 4)]-β-D-glucopyranoside (4) (or deltonin). 




AT least 14 Diarylheptanoids a secondary metabolite


Secondary metabolites are organic compounds that are not directly involved in the normal growth, development, or reproduction of an organism. Unlike primary metabolites, absence of secondary metabolites does not result in immediate death, but rather in long-term impairment of the organism’s survivability, fecundity, or aesthetics, or perhaps in no significant change at all – reword

Constituents Explained:

Description:   The roots are some times called tubers

Traditional Use:

The Yam plant has been a staple of many diets across the developed and developing world.http://repository.kulib.kyoto-u.ac.jp/dspace/handle/2433/68403 including the tropics where it has been a chief staple food  http://www.jstor.org/stable/2481142?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Trigonella foenum graecum (fenugreek) is traditionally used to treat disorders such as diabetes, high cholesterol, wounds, inflammation, and gastrointestinal ailments. — re word  http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/13/8/1392.short

It’s been used for the joints  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691508003748

Popularised due to its once being used to extract chemicals used in birth control pills.

Used primarily as a female and digestive herb.  It is used to help relieve menopausal symptoms and enhance female fertility.  It is thought that medical science currently does not understand why wild yam helps relieve female complaints, though it is believed that it is not because the active ingredients convert to actual hormones.

Popular creams have been made from Wild Yam and applied externally particularly to the female reproductive organs.  Caution must be used to ensure the cream contains only Wild Yam, and not synthetically produced Progesterone.

ONe herb that is some times considered in breast enhacning formulas.  https://www.google.com/patents/US6673366

Commonly used by the Native Americans to help prevent miscarriage and relieve pain during childbirth.

It can also enhance digestion, relieve gas, bloating and relax tensed muscles.  Sometimes used as an anti-inflammatory in cases of conditions like arthritis. It has been used for general pain during pregnancy.1

The juice is used to kil tape worm and for constipation


LIke many roots can be used to build the adrenal glands.  http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/12724916

Dioscorea belophylla (astringent was used in Bangldesh as an astrigent.https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mohammad_Kadir2/publication/215538044_Medicinal_plants_of_the_Garo_tribe_inhabiting_the_Madhupur_forest_region_of_Bangladesh/links/0912f50b6e7cf32e3e000000.pdf

In the Himalays it’s used as http://nopr.niscair.res.in/handle/123456789/8516 open link it’s used for burns, skin disease,s diabetes and as a tonic.

Clinical Studies:

Histopathological evaluation of the adrenal gland revealed an increase in the cortical and medullary adrenal areas of the ovariectomized group and a significant decrease in these areas in the diosgenin treated animals (p < 0.001). The information is considered important because reduction in adrenal mass may poses a potential for major endocrine complications.


Wild Yam and gastric ulcer

ried-yam powder exerts a significant protective effect against cysteamine-induced DU by lowering the activity of inflammatory cytokines and free radicals and restoring the activity of CAs, except in CA IV.



Can you find any more information on this?  Wild yam is it they used? Came up on google scholar can heal all stomach uclers intravenously in 7-10 weeks

Wild Yam on Inflammation

The extract exhibited significant inhibition of the carrageenan-induced oedema that was dose-dependent with a good initial effect in 1 h and 2 h at doses of 100 mg/kg and 150 mg/kg, respectively. The observed activity was comparable to that of 150 mg/kg acetylsalicylic acid that was used as a reference drug in the study. D. esculenta tuber methanol extract supports the folkloric use for management of



Wild Yam “ Remarkable”  results on ulcer as far back as 1952


Clinical studies on diosgenin

These results indicate that diosgenin exhibits anti-inflammatory properties in the interaction of adipocytes and macrophages by inhibiting the inflammatory signals in macrophages. Diosgenin may be useful for ameliorating the inflammatory changes in obese adipose tissues.


Diosgenin as potential future preventative against cancers

The anticancer mode of action of diosgenin has been demonstrated via modulation of multiple cell signaling events involving critical molecular candidates associated with growth, differentiation, apoptosis, and oncogenesis. Altogether, these preclinical and mechanistic findings strongly implicate the use of diosgenin as a novel, multitarget-based chemopreventive or therapeutic agent against several cancer types. Future research in this field will help to establish not only whether diosgenin is safe and efficacious as a chemopreventive agent against several human cancers, but also to develop and evaluate standards of evidence for health claims for diosgenin-containing foods as they become increasingly popular and enter the marketplace labeled as functional foods and nutraceuticals.


hese results suggest that diosgenin could be a very useful compound to control hypercholesterolemia by both improving the lipid profile and modulating oxidative stress.


 diosgenin markedly increased neutral sterol excretion without altering bile acid excretion; in vitro, diosgenin had no effect on bile acid binding. Diosgenin treatment increased hepatic and intestinal cholesterol synthesis as well as the activity of hepatic HMG CoA reductase. This was accompanied by increased biliary concentration of cholesterol, but not of bile acids. Diosgenin had no effect on cholesterol synthesis when added to normal rat liver homogenates. It was concluded that diosgenin interferes with the absorption of cholesterol of both exogenous and endogenous origin; such interference is accompanied by derepressed, i.e., increased, rates of hepatic and intestinal cholesterol synthesis. The increased unabsorbed cholesterol together with enhanced secretion of cholesterol into bile resulted in increased excretion of neutral sterols without affecting the biliary and fecal excretion of bile acids.


Fatty acid synthase (FAS) expression is markedly elevated in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. In this study, diosgenin, a plant-derived steroid, was found to be effective in suppressing FAS expression in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cellsresults suggested that diosgenin has the potential to advance as chemopreventive or chemotherapeutic agent for cancers that overexpress HER2.


On the basis of these findings, the fenugreek constituent diosgenin seems to have potential as a novel colon cancer preventive agent.



Dioscin as a potential future preventsative in liver cancer

Dioscin showed a remarkable protective effect against APAP-induced hepatotoxicity by adjusting mitochondrial function. These results indicated that dioscin has the capability on the treatment of liver injury.


DIoscin as future potential in breast cancer

We propose that DS has potential to be used as an anti-invasive agent in breast cancer.



                        Wild yam

Latin name: Dioscorea Villosa

Family: N.O. Dioscoreaceae

Other names: 

Dioscorea, colic root, rheumatism root, Wilde yamwurzel.

It is usually found in Southern United States and Canada. Dioscorea villosa is a species of a twining tuberous vine that is native to and found growing wild in North America. Its fame is based on its steroid-like saponins which can be chemically converted to progesterone contraceptives; and cortisone.

Wild Yam is believed to be helpful to the liver and endocrine system. It regulates the female system, particularly during menstrual distress and menopause, as well as used in treating infertility. Used with chasteberry and dandelion it is an effective treatment for morning sickness.

It has been hypothesized that wild yam (Dioscorea villosa and other Dioscorea species) possesses dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)-like properties and acts as a precursor to human sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Based on this proposed mechanism, extracts of the plant have been used to treat painful menstruation, hot flashes, and headaches associated with menopause. However, these uses are based on a misconception that wild yam contains hormones or hormonal precursors – largely due to the historical fact that progesterone, androgens, and cortisone were chemically manufactured from Mexican wild yam in the 1960s. It is unlikely that this chemical conversion to progesterone occurs in the human body. The hormonal activity of some topical wild yam preparations has been attributed to adulteration with synthetic progesterone by manufacturers, although there is limited evidence in this area.

The effects of the wild yam saponin constituent “diosgenin” on lipid metabolism are well documented in animal models and are possibly due to impaired intestinal cholesterol absorption. However, its purported hypocholesterolemic effect in humans and the feasibility of long-term use warrant further investigation.

There are few reported contraindications to the use of wild yam in adults. However, there are no reliable safety or toxicity studies during pregnancy, lactation, or childhood.