Wild Yam: The Strength of a Woman
When I think of Wild Yam, I often think of women. It is often found in plant medicines that nourish and revive the female reproductive system. However, women also come to my mind due to Wild Yam's beauty and its wildness. Wild Yam is a twining vine, exploring and cuddling her nearby plant beings. She may look delicate from above, but below the surface, you'll find strength and density.
Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) is polymorphic, meaning it can vary in appearances but be of the same species. Its characteristics may vary depending on its habitat and geography, even within a single plant. Above ground, you'll usually find some variation of a vining plant with wide and bright green leaves. Below the surface, you'll find a large, dense rhizome that looks like a sweet potato. That's the Yam. Although it would not be very tasty to eat, this rhizome contains many beneficial plant constituents that are used to help support the uterus, regular menstrual cycles, skin, digestion, and inflammation modulation.
Wild Yam and Hormones
Wild Yam is most popular for its affinity for the female system. It does not necessarily contain "hormone precursors," as humans do not have the enzymes required to convert the plant's steroidal saponins into sex hormones. But Wild Yam still has an influence on our hormonal system. It supports our reproductive/endocrine system by supporting healthy inflammation and the hormone pathways. I like to think about it like clearing the traffic on the roads so the hormones can drive and move faster and with more ease. It can also help tonify the uterus, which can support us during our cycles — especially for women prone to heavier cramping.
Many of WishGarden's women's formulas contain Wild Yam. Cramp Release Symptom Soother, Hot Flash! Mitigating Tonic, Progesteronic Hormonal Tonic, Wise Changes Reproductive Tonic, and WombKind Hormone Tonic all contain Wild Yam, proving this plant has the strength to support a woman during every stage of life.
Less-Known Yet Awesome Benefits
Another characteristic Wild Yam possesses that reflect women is its ability to multi-task. I'm always amazed at how many different ways medicinal plants can support our bodies!
Wild Yam supports digestion in a few different ways. It can help soothe nausea, calm nervous excitability, and relax spasms. This may be a good fit for those with overactive digestion systems that are thrown off balance from nerves.
Muscles that may be inflamed, swollen, or sore can be soothed by Wild Yam's calming and cooling effects. Alongside its inflammation modulation properties, it's a great addition to muscle and joint remedies. WishGarden uses it in our Exercise & Revive Recovery Aid formula to help speed up recovery after a strenuous hike or workout. It's also in our Muscular-Skeletal formula to combat persistent muscle and joint discomforts.
This herb can also be helpful for the skin — especially with skin issues that cause any redness or irritation — due to its cooling and soothing properties.
Ways to Use Wild Yam
Wild Yam is commonly used in a tincture decoction or in dried capsule form and is often included in formulas with other supporting herbs. It's also found in body creams that contain progesterone, which can support a women's cycle and is also soothing to the surface of the skin. Wild Yam is found in Chinese medicine teas that support kidney detoxification and hormone balance and have a grounding, earthy flavor.
So, no matter your gender, whether you need period support or a speedy muscle recovery, make Wild Yam your new go-to remedy!
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Rebecca Younger aspires to spark an interest in herbs within her community through education and incorporating herbs into everyday life in exciting and innovative ways. She studied Herbal Medicine at Herbalism Roots in Denver. She is a customer journey representative at WishGarden Herbs.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.