Mexican Yam: For What It Serves, Benefits and Side Effects
The Mexican yam, also known as Mexican yam or wild yam, is a plant used by laboratories to create steroids such as estrogen and DHEA. There are more than 600 species of Mexican yam, some created especially as a source of diosgenin, the precursor component of steroids, but these species are too bitter to eat. Only about 12 of the 600 species are edible.
Although the Mexican yam really can be used to create hormones like estrogen, DHEA and progesterone, this transformation can not occur naturally in the human body, only in the laboratory. Therefore, eating the Mexican yam or a supplement of this plant does not serve as a substitute for treatments with these hormones.
The Mexican yam is also used as an aphrodisiac to treat menstrual cramps and menopause. It still possesses antioxidant, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, estrogenic properties and functions as a uterine tonic.
Benefits of Mexican Yam
- Treatment of female reproductive problems
One of the main uses of Mexican yam is in the treatment of female reproductive problems such as menstrual cramps, hormonal imbalances and irregular menstruation. Mexican yam is often added to creams to reduce menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness and loss of libido. Although its use to help with menopause is somewhat controversial, many people claim that it really works.
Mexican yam contains a high concentration of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important to combat free radicals and prevent various diseases such as cancer and heart problems. In addition, antioxidants also help in detoxifying the body.
- Digestion aid
The Mexican yam powder is used to treat various digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome, colic and flatulence. It has this action because it contains alkaloids that help relax the stomach muscles. Although some people recommend the Mexican yam powder to relieve morning sickness in pregnant women, doctors disagree, saying that the product is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women because of lack of information about the safety of the product in these cases.
- Promotes healthy cholesterol
Many researchers believe that Mexican yam can help lower cholesterol, since in animal studies diosgenin has blocked cholesterol absorption. It is still necessary to do studies with humans for this effect to be proven.
- Reduced hair loss
Mexican yams can help fight hair loss, as long as the fall is not caused by any other condition, such as cancer treatment.
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- Anti-inflammatory action
Mexican yam has anti-inflammatory properties, and is used to help reduce pain in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, among others.
- Regulates blood sugar levels
An alkaloid found in Mexican yam has been shown to be effective in reducing blood sugar levels in an animal study. Tests with humans still need to be done.
- Regulates metabolic function
Some substances present in Mexican yam can help regulate the body's metabolism. This is essential for the body to function well, with more energy and vitality.
Side Effects of Mexican Yam
Wild yam is safe when ingested by the mouth or applied to the skin, although large amounts can cause vomiting. In rare cases, Mexican yam can cause allergies or intolerance, which can cause gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and diarrhea. More severe allergic symptoms, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, may also occur.
Although it does not become estrogen in the body, Mexican yam can have estrogen-like effects, and therefore people with conditions sensitive to this hormone, such as endometriosis, breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and myoma should avoid it.
People with protein S deficiency may also be at increased risk for blood clots if they use Mexican yams; therefore, people suffering from the deficiency of this protein should not take it.
Women should also not use Mexican yam if they use contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, as it may decrease the effectiveness of treatments. As previously stated, pregnant and nursing women should also not use the product, as it is not known whether it is safe or not.
How to use Mexican Yam
Mexican yam can be eaten normally, like other species of yam, can be consumed in powder form, or even be used in progesterone creams to help with menopausal symptoms. It is worth remembering that in the case of the latter, the cream must come from a laboratory that transformed diosgenin into progesterone, since the root naturally does not and can not transform into the hormone naturally.
Appropriate doses depend on several factors, such as age, health, what other problems the patient has, among others. There is no scientific evidence to indicate the proper dose of Mexican yam, but keep in mind that natural products are not always safe and that the dose is important.
Always consult your physician before you start using the Mexican yam to make sure there is no hidden risk.