Yam Root: Effect And Side Effects As a Medicinal Plant

Some know them as food or even superfood, but not as a natural medicine: the yam root. We clarify whether and what effect the wild yam root has on various complaints.

What is the effect of the yam root?

Many delicious root vegetable recipes can be realized with it, but does the yam also have a healing effect? As so often, the answer is: It depends on who you ask. In many tropical and subtropical countries, wild yams are used as traditional natural medicine. Women in particular are said to benefit from the effects of the yam root there. Taken in the form of powder or extract, the yam root is said to have an effect during menopause: it is said to relieve symptoms such as hot flashes. The ingredient diosgenin is responsible for this. This is similar to the body’s own sex hormone progesterone, which is produced significantly less by the body during menopause – with the well-known consequences. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which plagues many women with various symptoms, is said to be treatable with the plant. However, this effect of the yam root has not been scientifically proven by clinical studies.

The medicinal effect of the yam root is questionable

In addition to women, men should also feel the effects of the yam root – namely as a testosterone booster. However, this claim is just as unproven as the effect of yam tea on coughs, gastrointestinal complaints, rheumatism, or circulatory disorders. Applied externally in creams or gels, yams also do not have any anti-aging effects on the skin, as some manufacturers claim. At least not if you use scientific criteria as a basis for the effectiveness. If you still want to try such products, you should be aware that side effects can also occur when using yams. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) generally points out that herbal preparations are not tested for their harmlessness to health like medicines. So there are no binding statements regarding dosage and risks.

Cooking with the yam

If you want to cook with yams in a similar way to salsify vegetables, you are on the safe side. As a food, for example, it can be used instead of potatoes or sweet potatoes as a filling side dish. After peeling, simply cook the root in boiling salted water for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on its size. Cooked al dente, larger specimens can also be sliced, breaded, and fried.

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