Wild yam has traditionally been used to rebalance see-sawing hormones that can trigger symptoms such as PMS and menstrual cramps. But it could also help with the menopause, from tackling hot flushes to beating low mood.
Wild yam root contains a chemical called diosgenin, a phytoestrogen; a plant substance that has weak oestrogen-type effects. This may be why wild yam is often recommended by herbalists as a natural alternative to menopause remedies.
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These symptoms are caused by a decline in ovarian function – your ovaries start to produce less oestrogen as you go through perimenopause, usually starting in your forties. This has a knock-on effect on other hormones and leads to changes in the way your body works.
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1. NHS Choices. Hot flushes: how to cope. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/menopause/Pages/hot-flushes.aspx
2. Dr. Tori Hudson, N.D. Lesser known botanicals for menopause symptoms. Available from: http://drtorihudson.com/articles/lesser-know-botanicals-for-menopause-symptoms/
3. Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Health Information Library. Wild Yam. Available from: http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=000280
4. Araghiniknam M, et al. Antioxidant activity of dioscorea and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in older humans. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8795709