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Nature's Sunshine Products
Wild Yam is a very useful medicinal plant whose healing abilities are often misunderstood and misrepresented. The confusion about wild yam's action began a little more than 50 years ago when a chemist discovered that he could use a compound from the Mexican wild yam called diosgenin to produce a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. This discovery made it possible to start producing progesterone based birth control pills. Wild yams are not the only source of raw material used for making synthetic progesterone. Progesterone can be synthesized from compounds in soybeans, sisal and from cholesterol (which is how the body produces it).
The use of compounds in wild yam to synthesize progesterone gave rise to a popular myth that wild yam itself was a natural source of progesterone. There is no progesterone in wild yam, and there are no metabolic pathways to convert diosgenin into progesterone.
Wild yams are seldom used to make progesterone for birth control pills, wild yam continues to be associated with progesterone. It is typically used as a base for progesterone creams because of its emollient properties.
Wild yam is used as a natural contraceptive. This started in the 1980s when a midwife named Willa Shaffer wrote a book called Wild Yam: Birth Control Without Fear. Willa found that taking six capsules of wild yam per day (3 capsules twice daily) proved to have a contraceptive effect in women. According to her book this dose should be taken consistently for 6-8 weeks before being relied upon as the sale means of birth control. Other forms of contraception should be used during the initial period. This dose has to be very consistent. If you miss a day or two, it won't work.
Many women say this method works and many say this method didn't work. From what I can gather, wild yam does reduce fertility somehow (the exact mechanism is still unknown), but I would not rely on it as a sale means of birth control.
Before all the progesterone stuff got started, wild yam was used traditionally for indigestion, gas, colic, bloating, arthritis and rheumatism, muscle spasms and pain, and as a diuretic and sudorific agent. It's most popular use was as a digestive remedy for "bilious colic" (bloating and indigestion). Wild yam is both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic.
Wild yam's ability to reduce intestinal inflammation and cramping explains why it is an important ingredient in digestive and intestinal formulas like CLT-X, Gall Bladder Formula and Anti-Gas Formula w/Lobelia. CLT-X has a similar action to Intestinal Soothe and Build, but also relieves intestinal cramps and pain. Gall Bladder Formula relieves indigestion, bloating and gas. It also eases gall bladder pain and stimulates the flow of bile from the gall bladder. Anti-Gas Formula is for bloating, indigestion and intestinal cramping. All three of these formulas were designed by the famous herbalist Dr. John Christopher long before wild yam started being touted as a hormonal herb.
Wild yam's ability to relieve inflammation and cramping do make it a useful female remedy for cramping and pain associated with periods. This is why it is a valuable ingredient in Cramp Relief (a formula for menstrual cramps that is also useful for any type of cramping, including spastic colon) and Wild Yam/Chaste Tree (another female hormonal regulator). Wild yam also cases ovary and labor pain. Wild yam is an ingredient in DHEA-F, a combination of the hormone DHEA and herbs that help to regulate female hormones.
Wild Yam (100 capsules)