Wild Yam Root extract — 98% Diosgenin
What is Wild yam?
Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa L.) is a vine that’s native to North America. It’s also known by several other names, including colic root, American yam, fourleaf yam, and devil’s bones .
This flowering plant has dark green vines and leaves that vary in size and shape — though it’s best known for its tuberous roots, which have been used in folk medicine since the 18th century to treat menstrual cramps, coughs, and upset stomachs .
Today, it’s most frequently processed into a topical cream, which is said to alleviate symptoms associated with menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Still, you may wonder whether wild yam root is effective for these conditions.
Is diosgenin a drug?
Diosgenin is a white needle-like crystal or light powder, as the active ingredient of Chinese medicine steroidal saponin, widely existed in legumes and dioscorea. It is a precursor of many steroidal drugs synthesis, an important raw material for artificial synthesis of steroid hormones and steroidal contraceptives.
What are the benefits of taking diosgenin?
Wild yam root is said to help treat numerous conditions, though scientific research on these uses is either limited or largely disproves them.
- Hormone production and imbalance
Wild yam root contains diosgenin. It’s a plant steroid that scientists can manipulate to produce steroids, such as progesterone, estrogen, cortisone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which are then used for medical purposes .
Thus, some advocates assert that wild yam root has benefits similar to those offered by these steroids in your body, providing a natural alternative to estrogen therapy or progesterone creams.
Yet, studies disprove this, showing that your body cannot turn diosgenin into these steroids .
Instead, diosgenin requires chemical reactions that can only take place in a laboratory setting to convert it into steroids like progesterone, estrogen, and DHEA.
As a result, scientific evidence doesn’t currently support wild yam root’s effectiveness for treating conditions associated with hormonal imbalances, such as PMS, low sex drive, infertility, and weakened bones.
Wild yam root cream is most commonly used in alternative medicine as an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy for alleviating menopause symptoms, such as night sweats and hot flashes .
However, there’s very little evidence to prove its effectiveness .
In fact, one of the only studies available found that 23 women who applied wild yam root cream daily for 3 months reported no changes in their menopause symptoms .
Wild yam root may have anti-inflammatory effects.
It has traditionally been used to treat arthritis, which causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in your joints .
Notably, test-tube studies reveal that diosgenin extracted from wild yam root helps protect against the progression of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis .
Also, in a 30-day study in mice, orally administering 91 mg of wild yam extract per pound of body weight (200 mg/kg) each day significantly reduced markers of inflammation — and higher doses of 182 mg per pound (400 mg/kg) lowered nerve pain .
While these results are promising, human research is needed.
- Skin health
Wild yam root is a common ingredient in anti-aging skin creams .
One test-tube study noted that diosgenin may encourage the growth of new skin cells, which could have anti-aging effects. However, overall research on wild yam root is limited .
Diosgenin has also been studied for its potential depigmenting effect. Excess sun exposure can result in small, flat, brown or tan spots on your skin, also known as hyperpigmentation — which is harmless but sometimes seen as undesirable .
Still, wild yam root creams haven’t been proven effective for this application .