Wild Yam Cream
Wild yams come in many different forms. Some are edible, while others are used medicinally as an herbal remedy. Wild yam is often promoted as a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy for menopause or other uses.
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.
At this time, there is no real evidence that wild yam really works for any particular use. In fact, in one study where the cream form of wild yam was used for menopause symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats), the product was shown to be no better than a placebo.
(Click Wild Yam for more information on what wild yam is used for, to learn about the warnings and precautions for this product, and to find out what side effects may occur with this supplement.)