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Wild Yam can help relieve PMT and other menstrual problems

Wild Yam has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine for over 2000 years. It is an excellent herb to help with menstrual problems, such as painful periods, cramps & PMT, because the plant contains natural steroids that are needed to make sex hormones.

What is Wild Yam used for?

Wild Yam has been used for over 2,000 years, especially in Chinese medicine. Chinese herbalists use Wild Yam as a tonic to activate and stimulate the liver. Wild Yam contains a high concentration of diosgenin, one of the main active ingredients, which provides the building blocks required to synthesise hormones in the body.

In the 1940's, the scientific community discovered Wild Yam. An article published by Professor Russel Marker showed the hormones progesterone and estrogen could be inexpensively synthesised from diosgenin. Until then, production of these hormones was based on costly multi-step extractions from animals.

Can Wild Yam help with women's health problems?

Leslie Kenton, author of "Passage to Power", all about menopause, says "Everybody who is anybody will tell you that menopause is an estrogen deficiency disease and that you will need to take more estrogen as you approach mid-life. What is surprising is, not only is most of such commonly given advice on menopause wrong, a great deal of it can be positively dangerous."

Progesterone is the mother of all hormones. It is the important precursor in the production of the sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen. This means that progesterone has the capacity to be turned into other hormones further down the pathway, as and when the body needs them. The point needs to be emphasised that estrogen and testosterone are end metabolic products made from progesterone. Without adequate progesterone, estrogen and testosterone will not be sufficiently available to the body.

For the past 15 years, Dr John Lee, an independent researcher has conducted research into natural plant derived forms of progesterone. He has found that this natural hormone - used in conjunction with a good diet and lifestyle changes - is capable of eliminating much of the suffering associated with both PMS and menopause. It can help with problems, such as difficult or painful menstruation, cramps and progesterone deficiency related symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Many cases of PMT have been completely relieved by taking Wild Yam.

Wild Yam is an excellent herb to help with problems relating to the menstrual cycle. This is because the plant steroid, diosgenin, provides the building blocks required to synthesise the sex hormone progesterone.

Can Wild Yam help with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions?

Yes. This herb has been used for centuries for the pain and inflammation experienced with arthritis and rheumatism. Yams contain large amounts of the plant steroid diosgenin. When this is taken into the body, our body is able to use this plant steroid to make its own steroids. Research has shown that Wild Yam possesses a good to excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic action.

Without yams, the industrial complex would not be able to meet the worldwide demand for synthetic corticosteroids. But with them, scientists can derive animal or human steroids in a fairly straightforward process. Wild yams are really the only good source of plant steroids for such purposes. In the drug industry, diosgenin provides about 50% of the raw material for the synthesis of steroids.

So are you saying that Wild Yam contains steroids?

No, we are not. It must be emphasised that there is no equivalence between the steroid found in Wild Yam, diosgenin and the steroids found in humans. It takes many synthetic steps to get from one to the other. The steroid effects that yam has in the body are not because it contains steroidal hormones but because the steroidal precursors have similar effects in the body. The body does not recognise them or mistake them for its own hormones, but uses them in a similar manner.

What other health problems can Wild Yam be used for?

Wild Yam is useful in:

Support of irritated or nervous bowel problems
Diverticulitis (colon inflammation)
Synthesis of birth pills
- but the herb alone does not prevent conception
Rheumatic pains
Biliary colic
Pains of gallstones
Menstrual cramps
Abdominal and intestinal cramps
Chronic gas and flatulence

It is said that taking wild yam may also be useful for the relief of cramps during pregnancy, help morning sickness and prevent miscarriage. However, care needs to be taken if using this herb during pregnancy. Get advice before using Wild Yam during this time.

Wild Yam has been found to be helpful for a number of chronic disorders of the liver and upper gastro-intestinal tract. This is because of its antispasmodic and "bile moving" properties. It is especially useful for stubborn cases of bilious colic, flatulence and gas. It is also indicated for various kinds of rheumatism.

Wild Yam and DHEA

Another important use for the wild yam root has surfaced in recent years, involving the presence of dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA. DHEA is the most abundant steroid that circulates in the plasma of normal healthy adults. The purpose of this substance has remained a mystery throughout most of the history of mankind.

Now researchers have discovered a relationship between blood levels of DHEA and the risk of developing obesity, arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. As well as this, plasma levels of DHEA appear to be linked to all disease related causes of premature death, not just cardiovascular disease. This relationship appears to be one of cause and effect.

Lower DHEA levels actually cause premature death. Plasma levels of DHEA drop approximately 6.5 micrograms per decilitre of blood for each year of life. Men in their 70s have DHEA levels 10-20% lower than men in their 20s. And men with higher levels live longer.

So how does DHEA help in the body?

DHEA works by inhibiting the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol. Studies have shown that DHEA administration delayed aging, inhibited obesity and lowered cholesterol levels in the blood.

At Ideal Health we stock many Wild Yam products. These include:

Wild Yam Root in a capsule and a liquid extract
Wild Yam Cream that can be applied externally
Wild Yam Extra Strength Gel for those that do not get relief from the cream, as a vaginal gel to help with vaginal dryness
Wild Yam Deodorant
Wild Yam Hand and Body Lotion
Wild Yam Body Powder
Wild Yam Facial Moisturiser

Ask us which product would best suit your needs.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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