Botanical name: Dioscorea villosa
Medicinal properties: anti-spasmodic, antibilious, diaphoretic, hepatic.
Parts used: roots
Wild yam is said to be good for rheumatism and for soothing and relaxing the nerves in cases of nervous excitement. Wild yam is said to contain oestrogen like substance diosgenin which is reacted to in the body as oestrogen. It is therefore good in treating menopausal symptoms as regular intake is said to teach the body to produce its own oestrogen. It is also said to stimulate and nourish the adrenal glands to produce oestrogen when the ovaries are removed.
Wild yam roots is said to be recommended to be taken throughout pregnancy to relieve the general pains associated with pregnancy. There is preparation of it in capsule form. I have noticed female and pregnant goats eating the leaves of wild yam on the roadside in front of my office. It is believed that one of the ways of recognizing medicinal herbs is to watch goats and sheep as they feed in the bush and note the herbs they relish. Wild yam is said to be good for pains in the urinary system and for gas in the bowels. It is also said to be useful in the treatment of cholera and neuralgia of any part of the body.