While many people are familiar with yams as a delicious root vegetable sometimes found alongside their Thanksgiving turkeys, some might not realize that the tasty tuber is often recognized for its medicinal benefits as well. Yam cream, often referred to as wild yam cream is, as its name suggests, a topical cream derived from yams. Primarily, users tout it for its ability to relieve premenstrual, menstrual, and menopausal symptoms. Online health and holistic websites offer the cream along with many natural food markets.
Wild yam contains a substance called diosgenin, which is a compound that has properties similar to the human hormone progesterone. Many believe that, when diosgenin is introduced into the body, it is recognized and treated as progesterone. For this reason, the cream made from yams, which contains a high percentage of diosgenin, is sometimes referred to as natural progesterone.
Due to its similarity to progesterone, yam cream is said to support the balance of hormones in women. This is particularly important for women who are suffering from menopause because many of those symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood swings, are caused by a hormonal imbalance. Similarly, most premenstrual and menstrual symptoms, such as irritation, fatigue, and abdominal cramps are caused by hormonal changes and, therefore, yam cream may relieve many of those symptoms as well.
Aside from helping to balance a woman’s hormones, it is believed that yam cream can also help resolve bone density issues by helping to stimulate the creation of new bone tissue. Further, some believe that the cream also helps lessen the severity and duration of migraines. Finally, because of its perceived role in regulating hormones, some contend that regular use of yam cream helps restore the libido, often diminished during peri-menopause and menopause.
Generally, users apply the cream to the skin at high-absorption areas, such as the undersides of the arms, backs of the thighs, or lower neck. Once the skin absorbs the cream, it travels into the bloodstream. To aid in absorption, users should alternate the areas to which they apply the cream.
As a caveat, although many women attest to the benefits of yam cream, there is no medical evidence to support the claims made. In fact, some medical documentation suggests that the body does not recognize diosgenin as progesterone, and the substance therefore has no measurable effect on hormonal imbalances or any other condition. Those using wild yam cream have also noted certain adverse effects, such as contact dermatitis at the areas where they apply the cream. Some species of wild yam also contain a substance that might cause a drop in an individual’s blood sugar, which can lead to serious health complications.