Wild yam is a plant that contains a chemical called diosgenin. The root and the bulb of the plant are used as a source of diosgenin, which is prepared as an “extract,” a liquid that contains concentrated diosgenin.
Diosgenin or wild yam is often promoted as a “natural alternative” to estrogen therapy. Wild yam does seem to have some estrogen-like activity, but it is not actually converted into estrogen in the body. It takes a laboratory to do that.
Wild yam is also used for treating a disorder of the intestines called diverticulosis, gallbladder pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and for increasing energy.
Some women apply wild yam creams to the skin to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.
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