Wild Yam Extract

Yam (Dioscorea)

Wild yam benefits and its history of use spans back to the Aztecs and Mayans, who were the first to recognize its healing properties and used it as a pain reliever.

The plant was also known as colic root, devil's bones, and rheumatism root, which provides clues as to some of its traditional medicinal qualities.

Today, wild yam extract is used throughout the world for a variety of medicinal uses. However, its popularity has grown over the years as it has become an attractive natural aid for hormone replacement therapy and as a treatment for premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Some researchers say that these claims are unsubstantiated and they do have a point because there is only a scant of research data to confirm its effectiveness as an aid in hormonal discomforts. Put simply, most of its claims are anecdotal.

What is it?

Wild yam is a winding vine with a starchy yellow rhizome that grows in North America, Canada, and Mexico. It's a member of very large family of more than 600 species called the Dioscorea family. Although the root is similar in appearance as potatoes, it bears no relation to sweet potatoes or true yams.

How can Wild Yam Benefit You?

Wild yam extract is widely used as an herbal supplement to relieve symptoms related to PMS and menopause. The outer bark of wild root is high in saponins, (including diosgenin) and alkaloids, (including dioscorin).

From current understanding, it appears that this herb contains compounds, particularly diosgenin that mimic certain hormones, such as progesterone and, as such, helps to correct hormonal imbalances. Needless to say, this is the speculated mechanism by which wild yam works.

Unfortunately, scientific evidence is lacking to support it's effectiveness in its hormone balancing effects in the body. On the other hand, many patients using it have reported relief from menopausal symptoms.

Bottom Line: We believe that more scientific study is needed to either prove or disprove its efficacy.

Other possible benefits:

This medicinal herb is also reputed to harbor muscle relaxing, anti-spasmodic, anti-rheumatic, and anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it is commonly used in connection with the following conditions and symptoms:

  • Diverticulosis
  • Intestinal colic
  • Gallbladder colic
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • Arthritis and muscle pain
  • Vaginal dryness after menopause


    This herb appears to be safe when taken at recommended doses. However, taken in large doses may cause nausea and diarrhea.

    Pregnant and nursing women should avoid this herb.

    People that suffer from a health condition and/or are taking any type of medications should consult with a knowledgeable health care provider before taking this herb.

    Tips on Choosing a Wild Yam Extract Supplement

    1. In general, when choosing an herbal supplement, make sure it's produced from standardized extracts. It's expensive to do so which is why many companies don't use them. However, standardized extracts contain the highest level of therapeutic benefits.

    2. To reap the full benefits of this herbal extract, select a supplement produced at pharmaceutical GMP compliant facilities. The nutritional supplement industry is loosely regulated and many do not contain the ingredients listed on the label or they harbor harmful contaminates. In fact, it is estimated that consumers only have a 1 in 5 chance of buying a product that contains what is stated on the label or one that does not harbor contaminates!

    Pharmaceutical GMP facilities adhere to the strictest regulatory standards for the manufacture of dietary supplements.

    3. In general, many herbs and nutrients working together can offer more therapeutic benefits, often better than a single herb or nutrient on its own. However, the product should be created by a highly credentialed formulator -- someone who is qualified to create a supplement with ingredients that work together synergistically in a perfect balance to offer the maximum benefits.

    A Comprehensive Product

    One product we highly recommend is called Total Balance for Women from Xtend-Life Natural Products.

    In fact, Total Balance for Women is a highly sophisticated all-in-one supplement, containing a full spectrum of 77 total active ingredients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, specialty nutrients, herbal extracts, and enzymes that the body needs for optimal 'whole' body health.

    In addition, this comprehensive women's product contains Chaste Berry, Feverfew, Wild Yam, Dong Quai, Red Clover, and Soy Isoflavones that may help naturally and safely balance female hormones.

    All of the ingredients are scientifically combined in a synergistic way to enhance and maximize the efficacy of each other. Total Balance for Women is formulated by a highly credentialed scientific team that can blend these ingredients perfectly to ensure maximum benefits, but as importantly that they do not interact adversely. Plus, Total Balance for Women is enteric coated to protect all of these ingredients against stomach acids and to ensure maximum bio-availability

    The company also uses only standardized herbal extracts, the purest herbal extracts with the highest quality and therapeutic benefits, and they adhere to strict pharmaceutical GMP compliance, which is the toughest in the industry.

    Another great product specifically formulated to help menopause and PMS sufferers is Xtend- Life's Female Rejuvenator. It contains the symptom fighters Black Cohosh, Chasteberry, Sarsaparilla, and much, much, more.

    After doing countless comparisons, we strongly believe that these are the best products of its kind on the market today.

    To Your Health!

    The Editors

    Much more than Wild Yam can be found at our Herbal Guide webpage

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