Wild Yam contains natural progesterone and was already known to the Aztec and Maya people.
Dioscorea villosa, or Wild Yam, contains a phytocomplex that is rich in diosgenin, a steroidal saponin that acts as a precursor for human progesterone.
Dioscorea is native to North America.
In very ancient times it was mainly used to cure various kinds of pain.
Dioscorea seems to have anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic qualities and has been used as a natural analgesic for ovulation and menstrual pain.
Until about thirty years ago diosgenin was used to produce hormones.
Diosgenin is actually a precursor for DHEA, the hormone that is often called the “fountain of youth”.
Various studies on animals have shown that this plant has progestinic and estrogenic effects, though this has not been proven to be the case with humans, in that there is no evidence suggesting that the body is capable of transforming diosgenin present in Dioscorea into steroid derivatives and in particular into progesterone.
Wild Yam is available as liquid extract, capsules, compressed tablets or cream.
The most effective way to take Wild Yam is trough skin absorption that is 40-70% more effective than if orally ingested, because the liver removes a high quantity of ingested hormones that end up in the intestine where they become water-soluble, they bind to other substances and are then eliminated.
Although herbalist continue to use wild yam to cure various pathologies there are no studies that prove its effectiveness, in fact a series of studies have found that the plant has no effect. The reason is that the human body is not able to transform diosgenin into progesterone: this must be done in a laboratory.
A procedure carried out in a laboratory allows to produce bioidentical hormones that have an action on the human body.
Wild yam alone does not contain progesterone.
It is necessary to avoid interaction with some synthetic drugs such as indomethacin, the effects of which would be reduced.
On the contrary diosgenin could increase the effects of estrogenic drugs; it is therefore recommended to not use Wild Yam together with this type of medication. Dioscorea should not be taken during pregnancy and breast feeding.