Wild Yam: Herb for Reproductive System Support in Women

Wild Yam: Herb for Reproductive System Support in Women

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dioscorea_villosa

Wild Yam root (Dioscorea villosa) has been used for many years to support women with their reproductive system health. Wild Yam aids a variety of women’s fertility issues. Most people think that Wild Yam is for menopausal women only, but it has many beneficial actions for women in their childbearing years. There is some misleading information out there about this herb. It is a common belief that Wild Yam acts as precursor to human sex hormones. Wild Yam root used in its natural state as a whole herb, which can be used in a variety of forms…capsule, tincture, cream, tea, ect., cannot be biologically converted to hormones in the body. Wild Yam does not contain estrogen or progesterone.

Wild Yam does contain the steroidal saponin aglycone diosin which may be converted to diosgenin in the body by adequate healthy gut flora. It is currently speculated that the flora within our bowels consumes a glycoside molecule from diosin. This releases diosgenin, which is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the intestines into the bloodstream. This may enable diosgenin to act on estrogen receptor sites in the hypothalamus, which in turn may help to regulate production of estrogen, aiding in estrogen balance. Wild Yam requires healthy gut flora to do this though. Consider what your intestinal health is like before relying on Wild Yam for this action. It is also important to note that if you are using Wild Yam cream to balance hormones, this conversion cannot take place absorbed through the skin, it must be taken orally.

This may be confusing because Wild Yam root is used to make Natural Progesterone Cream. So how does that work? Well, Natural Progesterone Cream comes from plant fats and oils called diosgenin which is extracted from either from Mexican Wild Yams or soybeans. In the laboratory diosgenin is chemically synthesized into a molecular structure that is identical to real human progesterone. This is why Wild Yam taken internally or used as a cream will not increase progesterone levels in the body. The whole herb form of Wild Yam root, which contains diosgenin, cannot be biologically converted to hormones by our bodies. This can only be done in a lab. So don’t be fooled by anyone telling you that you will increase progesterone levels by using pure Wild Yam cream. It has to say USP bio-identical Natural Progesterone Cream to actually increase progesterone levels in the body.

Wild Yam Reduces Reproductive Muscle Cramping and Pain

Wild Yam Soothes Painful Cramping/Spasm: Wild Yam has a wonderful action on smooth muscle tissue, reducing muscle spasm of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, aiding in painful menstruation (dysmennorhea) and chronic pelvic pain. Wild Yam helps the uterus to work more efficiently during menses. This uterine support allows for proper function of the uterus while working to prevent uterine cramping or spasm. This herb has a wonderful action on the ovaries, toning them and aiding in ovarian cyst pain. Wild Yam is often used to treat urinary tract infection pain as well.

Pain Reduction from Pelvic Surgery: Wild Yam has been found to be effective at reducing pain, especially nerve pain from any kind of pelvic surgery. Endometriosis, ovarian cyst, uterine fibroid removal, or cesarean section.

Threatened Miscarriage: Traditionally used to treat irritable uterus and threatened miscarriage with uterine contractions present. Often combined with Cramp bark or Black Haw.

Dysfunctional and Painful Labor: Skilled midwives use this herb to regulate uterine contractions, or to aid women with pain reduction in labor. Pain is reduced by promoting proper function of the uterine muscles, soothing smooth muscles, reducing incidence of cramping up.

Afterbirth Pain: This antispasmodic action also reduces afterbirth pains postnatally, relaxing and reducing uterine cramping. Wild Yam is often combined with Motherwort for this type of pain.

Wild Yam Brings Relief for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy
Wild Yam has also been used traditionally for hundreds of years, even by Native Americans, for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) and hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum is extreme nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Note: Do not use Wild Yam in pregnancy unless guided by a skilled herbalist or midwife. There is no established guidelines for using Wild Yam while breastfeeding.

Traditional Chinese herbalists use Wild Yam to bring heat to a cold, stagnant uterus. They also use it to bring in more Chi (life force) to the body and entire female reproductive system.

Traditional Suggested Usage
Wild Yam works best taken over time. Because of theoretical risk or estrogen modulation, this herb is not advised if you have a history of estrogen responsive cancers.

Dried Herb: 2-4 grams daily in capsules, or divided into 1 cup infusion daily.
Tincture: 2-4 dropperfuls fresh root tincture, divided in 3 doses a day.

Wild Yam is rarely used alone, it is best combined with other supportive herbs depending on the fertility issue being treated. Wild Yam is part of Conceptions Tea blend sold in our Natural Fertility Shop.

References:
1. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, Aviva Romm, Churchill Livingstone, 2010
2. Down There Sexual and Reproductive Health, Susun S. Weed, Ash Tree Publishing, 2011
3. Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Tori Hudson, N.D., McGraw Hill, 2008
4. www.johnleemd.com
5. http://natural-fertility-info.com/progesterone-fertility-guide/

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