Menopause Home > Wild Yam Benefits

There are many claimed benefits of wild yam. The supplement is often said to be useful for breast enlargement, increasing energy and libido, and relieving menopause symptoms. It is also believed to be beneficial for treating conditions such as diverticulitis, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. However, much more research is needed to confirm these claims.

Claimed Health Benefits of Wild Yam

When used as an herbal supplement, wild yam is claimed to be useful for a variety of different purposes. Some of the claimed benefits of wild yam include the following:
  • Breast enlargement
  • Relieving menopause symptoms
  • Increasing energy and libido
  • Natural contraception (birth control)
  • Treating (or sometimes preventing) the following conditions:



At this time, there is little research to suggest that wild yam is truly effective for any use (see Does Wild Yam Work?).

How Does Wild Yam Work?

Wild yam contains a compound known as diosgenin. Many years ago, diosgenin was used to make other hormones (such as the ones in birth control pills) in laboratories. People have mistakenly assumed that wild yam is a "natural progesterone" because diosgenin can be used to make progesterone in a laboratory. However, the human body cannot convert diosgenin into progesterone.
While wild yam does not appear to have progesterone-like properties, it does seem to have estrogenic (estrogen-like) properties.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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