Yucca schidigera, also commonly referred to as Mojave yucca, is a small tree that grows in the desert areas of Mexico, the West Indies, and southwestern areas of the United States. The tree consists of a small trunk topped with light purple flowers, leaves, and small dark berries. The fruit and roots of the plant were historically used for culinary purposes, but the more modern implementations of the yucca plant involve the use of the leaves for medicinal reasons.
The leaves of the yucca schidigera plant tend to be utilized most often for herbal medicinal treatments; however, the effectiveness of the plant has not been conclusively proven. When the leaves are dried out, they release a liquid that is thought to help with a variety of health issues. The liquid may be bottled and sold on its own for topical use. For oral administration, the liquid can be packaged into capsules or added into boiling water for yucca tea.
One of the most traditional uses of yucca schidigera is for internal body cleansing and detoxification. Herbalists may promote oral administration of the extract as a means to remove any substances thought to be toxins from the body. Detoxification may be performed for general health purposes, such as to prevent illness or simply feel better, or as a way to jump start weight loss.
The extract from yucca schidigera leaves is thought to contain saponins, a type of naturally occurring chemical compound. Some herbalists believe that the saponins in the leaves may reduce the effects of hypertension. Hypertension is a condition in which a person has high blood pressure. Taking the herbal extract is thought to help remove cholesterol from the blood stream, which can potentially lower blood pressure.
Yucca capsules may be recommended by herbalists for the treatment of migraines or other conditions that cause chronic pain, because the extract from the leaves is thought to be a natural pain reliever. It is also believed the extract may have anti-inflammatory properties. The capsules may be prescribed as a treatment for inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis or colitis.
Although yucca schidigera is more often ingested orally, it has potential benefits as a topical treatment as well. Herbalists believe the leaf extract also has antibacterial properties. The extract may be applied directly onto the skin as a way to clean wounds and prevent infection. It can also be used as a means to clear up and prevent acne.