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Wild Yam Side Effects and Benefits

Facts and Information

Mexican wild yam became popular (around 1960's) when manufacturers used it to made DHEA and various hormones.

The active ingredient diosgenin, found in yam, was chemically converted to DHEA and various steriods. However, our body cannot perform this conversion.

Up to today, people still believe that taking this herb would allow our body to make more DHEA and thus increase our sex hormone levels. Many companies market this herb as being a "natural DHEA".

This herb is commonly marketed to help in the treatment of menopause symptoms.

What are the side effects?

There are very few reported side effects or dangers. Clinical studies showed that using high dose of this herb in pills, extract or tincture formulations caused only minor stomach upset in some people.

As well, some of the cream formulations were reported to cause minor rash and skin irritation in a very small number of people.

pharmacist tom's na;tural remedies recommendation

This herb has very few side effects. Clinical studies don't show that it helps with increasing DHEA levels, lowering high cholesterol and reducing menopause symptoms. There are also clinical studies showing that the cream, lotion or gel formulations worked no better than a placebo cream.

If you want to take this herb to increase your DHEA blood levels, you are better off taking DHEA supplements.

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Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

Increase DHEA levels - Probably not effective

Take this herb does not increase blood DHEA levels in humans.

High cholesterol - Probably not effective

Animal and human studies show that cholesterol levels are not affected by this herb.

Menopause symptoms - Probably not effective

Most clinical studies show that eating this herb or apply the cream, gel or lotion formulations do not help with menopause symptoms.

Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

  • Breast enlargement
  • Increase libido / boost sex drive
  • Hot flashes
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Natural estrogen replacement therapy (Natural HRT)
  • Osteoprosis
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Vaginal dryness

References for Wild Yam Side Effects and Benefits

Updated: March 27, 2010