Mexican Yam, or wild yam, is a member of the Dioscoreaceae family. Wild Yam is native to North America although it is now cultivated in tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions throughout the world. The dried root and rhizome are the applicable parts of wild yam. It contains glycoside diosgenin, systemic corticosteroids, androgens, estrogens, proestrogens, and other hormones. Wild Yam calms muscular spasms and seems to have anti-inflammatory properties. It also stimulates the flow of bile and promotes perspiration. It does not, as some believe, serve as a natural source of the female hormone progesterone. It is used in the production of artificial progesterone, but it will not yield the hormone in the absence of a chemical conversion process that the body can't supply.
An extract of Wild Yam has been shown to lower triglycerides and raise levels of the 'good' HDL cholesterol that combats build-up of plaque in the arteries. Wild Yam is also considered a remedy for rheumatism, gallbladder problems, cramps, nerve pain, painful menstruation, upset stomach, and morning sickness.
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