What is yam?
It is a plant, perennial and climbing, which is also called wild yam Where hairy dioscorea. It grows mainly in the intertropical, wooded and humid regions of South America and Asia. Traditional Chinese medicine also consecrates it as a plant of longevity.
There are several varieties, and the villosa species, loaded with active ingredients of interest, is the one most often found in food supplements. We mainly use his tuber.
What are the properties of wild yam?
It is antioxidant
Its antioxidant activity is due to the presence of many antioxidant and anti-free radical compounds: tannins, from carotenoids (especially beta-carotene), flavonoids and some vitamin C capable of trapping and eliminating free radicals. Vitamin C is also essential for collagen synthesis.
Yam is anti-inflammatory
“Due to the presence of sterols and traces of alkaloids, yam is a mild anti-inflammatory which relieves muscle tension and softens the joints,” says Claudine Luu, pharmacist and herbalist.
“It also accelerates the secretion of bile for a better fat digestion, which limits the formation of atheroma plaques on the arteries, ”she adds.
He is tonic
The yam contains sterols, synonyms of tonus. One boost effect which is in addition to that of a possible stimulation of the adrenal glands which produce cortisol, the hormone that helps us start in the morning. Rich in minerals, it provides us with calcium, iron … and potassium (816 mg / 100 g), which facilitates diuresis and helps fight against hypertension.
Yam can be offered as soon as the first age-related disorders appear, irregular cycles in premenopause, then hot flashes, joint pain … of a menopause which sets in.
” The symptoms of perimenopause and climacteric disorders of menopause are clearly improved, with supporting hormonal dosages, by thevillosa species of Dioscoraceae, in cures of two to three months, for example two to three yam root powder capsules dosed at 200 or 300 mg per day depending on the diosgenin content, ”explains Claudine Luu. Compared to a placebo, the efficacy of the cream form, on the other hand, is not significant.
The hormonal activity of yam is debated
Of course, yam contains a steroid, diosgenin, which is used by the pharmaceutical industry to make steroids. “It is the basic material for the synthesis, by a chemical process, of a female hormone, called natural progesterone, and therefore contraceptive pills, as well as DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone)”, describes Claudine Luu.
While this transformation is possible in the laboratory, it does not happen naturally in our body. And contrary to what some manufacturers indicate, it is not a phytoestrogen.
Selection of products containing yam
- Vegetable capsules: Orfito wild yam (500 mg, concentrated at 16% diosgenin). 1 capsule per day, € 17.90 per bottle of 60 capsules. onatera.com
- Well-formulated complex: Organic Menopause Capital from Pure, based on yam, hawthorn, pollen and vitamin B6. 3 capsules per day, € 27.80 per bottle of 60 capsules (dosed at 105 mg of diosgenin). etrepure.fr
To read : 300 medicinal plants from France and elsewhere, Claudine Luu and Annie Fournier, eds. Living Earth, 49 €.