Manufacturing process for wild yam extract includes cut up and ground rhizomes, combine the grounded
rhizomes with an eluant, precipitate the plant material with addition of a miscible solvent, wash, and redissolve
the ingredients in the original eluant. A commercial wild yam extract contains glycoside and steroidal
saponins, diosgenin, alkaloids, tannins, phytosterols, and starch. Diosgenin has been used in birth control
pills, wild yam is believed to help in regulation of female sex hormones, thus, it may relieve symptoms
associated with menopause. [X]

Traditional Uses of Wild Yam
Wild yam was traditionally used to treat pain, colic and rheumatism. Wild yam cream has been shown to
reduce pain when rubbed onto the affected areas.  Wild yam is believed to benefit the digestive system by
relieving some gastrointestinal issues and wild yam may benefit the passage of kidney stones too. Wild yam
is believed to have relaxation effects. [X]

Wild yam is also believed to have benefits for treating a number of conditions related to menopause, e.g.
pain and hot flashes. [1] Without much research, health claims abound on the internet that wild yam can
stimulate the ovaries to produce a balance of progesterone and estrogen. Scientific studies are need to
prove these benefit-claims.

Wild yam root benefits

Cholesterol levels
Wild yam root extract may have benefits of lowering the total blood cholesterol levels, according to animal
studies. But, the results are mixed in clinical studies. [X1]

Breast Cancer
Wild yam extract acts as a weak phytoestrogen and is found to protect against proliferation in human breast
carcinoma MCF-7 cells. The level of estrogen receptor alpha protein was down-regulated after treatment with
E(2) or wild yam extract. Wild yam extract also inhibited proliferation of MCF-7 cells. [A1]

Wild yam progesterone
A study of wild yam cream in 23 healthy women shows wild yam cream has no effect on weight, systolic or
diastolic blood pressure, or levels of total serum cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)
cholesterol, FSH, glucose, estradiol, or serum or salivary progesterone of the subjects. [A3] However, in
another study, wild yam extract increased the activity of the progesterone receptor and pS2 genes at the
mRNA levels in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells. [A1]

Wild yam fertility
No scientific article is found on how wild yam related to fertility, as of September 6, 2011
Wild yam side effects

One study in Australia shows that short-term treatment with topical wild yam extract in women suffering from
menopausal symptoms is free of side-effects, but appears to have little effect on menopausal symptoms. [3]
Extract is safe as used in cosmetic formulations. [2] Large doses of wild yam can also cause side effects like
nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should avoid wild yam. Allergic
reactions may also occur. [X2]

Wild yam potential side effects on people with kidney issues
Sprague-Dawley rats received 0.79g/kg/d D. villosa extract in their food or no treatment over 7, 14 and 28d
(n=4 per group) Researchers found there was no acute reno- or hepato-toxicity associated with
administration of wild yam. However, there was an increase in fibrosis in the kidneys and in inflammation in
livers of rats consuming wild yam for 28 days. Long term supplementation with wild yam may be best avoided,
especially in people with compromised renal function and in those who need to take other drugs which may
alter kidney function. [A2]

Wild yam potential side effects
Because diosgenin has estrogen-like qualities, [X1] you should consult with your doctor before taking wild
yam root supplements if you have been diagnosed with a hormone-related cancer, or if you are at risk of
hormone-related cancer. The side effect can be very serious.

[1] Carroll DG. Nonhormonal therapies for hot flashes in menopause. Am Fam Physician. 2006 Feb 1;73(3):457-64. [2] Final report of the
amended safety assessment of Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) root extract. Int J Toxicol. 2004;23 Suppl 2:49-54. [3]  Komesaroff PA, et al,
Effects of wild yam extract on menopausal symptoms, lipids and sex hormones in healthy menopausal women. Climacteric. 2001
Jun;4(2):144-50. [X] http://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com/wild-yam-root.html  
http://www.raysahelian.com/wildyam.html [X1] http://www.livestrong.com/article/238489-what-are-the-benefits-of-wild-yam-root/ [X2]
[A1] Park MK, Kwon HY, Ahn WS, Bae S, Rhyu MR, Lee Y. Estrogen activities and the cellular effects of natural progesterone from wild yam
extract in mcf-7 human breast cancer cells. Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(1):159-67. [A2]  Wojcikowski K, Wohlmuth H, Johnson DW, Gobe G.
Dioscorea villosa (wild yam) induces chronic kidney injury via pro-fibrotic pathways. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Sep;46(9):3122-31. [A3]
Komesaroff PA, Black CV, Cable V, Sudhir K. Effects of wild yam extract on menopausal symptoms, lipids and sex hormones in healthy
menopausal women. Climacteric. 2001 Jun;4(2):144-50.
Wild yam root benefits, wild yam side effects
wild yam progesterone, wild yam fertility    September 7, 2011
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