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Mexican yam is one of some 850 species of yam in the dioscoreaceae family. It is a perennial plant with twisting, climbing vines that grows in warm tropical climates.
An extract of this plant is used as a herbal remedy called Mexican yam, wild yam, and Mexican wild yam. It is sold as a "natural hormone" cream and oral remedy. Mexican wild yam is also known as colic root, China root, rheumatism root, devil's bones, and yuma.
Mexican yam has long had a reputation as a woman's herb. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, wild yam was used to treat menstrual pain and conditions related to childbirth. Pregnant women used wild yam to combat nausea, ease aching muscles, and prevent miscarriages.
Wild yam was also used as a colic remedy. Furthermore, the plant's anti-inflammatory properties were thought to be effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
The herb can be used for cramping conditions such as menstrual pain. It can help to build up good cholesterol levels while alleviating poor circulation, nervousness and restlessness. Wild yam root tea has been suggested as a means of increasing a woman's ability to conceive.
Mexican wild yam is safe if taken within prescribed therapeutic dosages.
Pregnant and nursing women, as well as patients with hormone imbalances, depression, or hormone-sensitive cancers should avoid wild yam unless they are under the guidance of a clinical herbalist or doctor.
Although wild yam root tea has been suggested as a method for a woman to become pregnant, the herb should not be used during the last half of a menstrual period.
Large doses of Mexican yam may produce nausea. There is also a risk of poisoning.
There are no known interactions when Mexican yam is taken with standard medications, other herbs or dietary supplements.