Dioscorea villosa, Wild Yam, Colic Root.

Dioscorea villosa, Wild Yam, Colic Root, a member of the Disocoraceae, is a highly variable species which includes what was previously known as Dioscorea quaternata according to the treatment in Volume 26 of the Flora of North America. Native groups used root tea to relieve labor pains. Fresh dried root (tea) formerly used by physicians for colic, gastrointestinal irritations, morning sickness, asthma, spasmodic hiccough, rheumatism, and chronic gastritis of drunkards. Contains diosgenin, used in the semi-synthetic manufacture of progesterone and other steroid drugs. Wild yam has appeared in the American market in recent years as a source of estrogen or progesterone, prompting some to call this marketing effort the wild yam scam, since the root does not contain human sex hormones, only compounds that can be used as starting material for their chemical synthesis. Diosgenin does not magically transform into human sex hormones when ingested or applied topically.

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