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Wild yam, fertility

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Thursday, May 03, 2018 | 0 comments

Image: Dioscorea esculenta (Lour.) Burkill, by Ahmad Fuad Morad on Flickr

Photo Credit: Dioscorea esculenta (Lour.) Burkill, by Ahmad Fuad Morad
QUESTION: I had a question about something you wrote:

Interestingly enough, if wild yam is taken in small doses (a cup of tea or 10-20 drops of the tincture daily from onset of menses until mid-period) it increases fertility!

In either case, the effect seems to be triggered by the large amount of hormone-like substances found in this root. 

When taken daily, these substances may be converted into progesterone, thus decreasing the possibility of conception.

It was my understanding that this was a common misconception about dioscorea, but that it actually does not affect the hormones in any way in its natural state.

My understanding was that there are components in Dioscorea (such as diosgenin) that can be made into synthetic progesterone, but that this conversion process does not naturally happen in the body, it must be done in a lab.

For that reason, taking wild yam in hopes to alter or affect hormone levels is useless.

Susun's response:
Thanks for your note. The field of plants and hormones is expanding by leaps and bounds, but we are still far from understanding what happens in the body when we eat certain plants.

Of course, I mostly speak from experience, not only mine but those of thousands of women over thousands of years.

Many plants, especially large starchy roots, contain phytoestrogen and phytosterols.

These substances are most definitely converted into hormones in the human body and numerous studies attest to it.

They must, however, be fermented out of the plants by gut action and some people have too little gut flora to manage the job.

There is no progesterone, or any other hormone, in wild yam, but your body can make hormones out of it if it is taken internally.

Which hormones are up to your body, so I may be wrong when I say progesterone will be the result. But there will be a strong effect on hormones.

Check out my book New Menopausal Years: the Wise Woman Way for an article I did debunking wild yam creams. I certainly agree with you completely as far as external use is concerned.

Green Blessings, Susun Weed

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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