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What is Yucca Schidigera?

Allison Boelcke
By
Updated Feb 17, 2024
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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.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By Perdido — On Sep 02, 2011

@shell4life - Mojave yucca is an excellent arthritis treatment. Our vet even recommended it for our old Great Dane!

She is nine years old, and because of her large size and her age, she has arthritic pain in her legs. She has trouble getting up on cold mornings, and even when she does, she stumbles around like a newborn horse.

We started giving her the yucca root extract, and we noticed that she could walk better within two days. I am amazed that it worked so quickly.

The extract is formulated especially for dogs and cats. The label says that it can also be used to treat hot spots and wounds. This is good to know, in case we ever need it for that. I imagine we will be keeping a bottle around for the rest of her life to control her arthritis, anyway.

By shell4life — On Sep 01, 2011

Mojave yucca capsules helped my grandmother control her arthritis. She had done a lot of research into herbal supplements before choosing one.

She read that the saponins in yucca are used in making steroid drugs. The saponins can help the body’s immune system use and make steroid related hormones of its own. This can help reduce the inflammation and pain caused by arthritis.

She has experienced great relief from taking yucca. However, she has to be careful when using it, because it can cause indigestion. The label suggests taking a two day break from it every week to prevent this.

By wavy58 — On Sep 01, 2011

This past spring, I visited a friend in Arizona. She has about ten Mojave yucca plants in her yard, and they were in full bloom at the time. She said that the blooms last from April to May.

I have never seen such a massive cluster of flowers. They are creamy white with purple highlights, and they remind me of hyacinth blooms.

She told me that the plant is also known as the “Spanish Dagger.” I understand why, because it is dangerously sharp. Her dogs won’t go anywhere near it.

She and her husband like to go camping, and they take some yucca wood with them. She said that it can ignite at a temperature lower than any other kind of wood, so it makes a great fire starter.

By lighth0se33 — On Aug 31, 2011

I am friends with a Native American. His tribe lives in the Southwestern United States, and they grow Mojave yucca. I once commented that I would like to grow that in my yard, and he told me several things I could do with it.

He said that the leaves can be pulped to make soap. The saponin they contain is much like a detergent.

The leaves are made of many fibers. The tribe uses these fibers to make rope and twine. They also use them to fashion mattresses, saddle blankets, hats, shoes, and hair brushes.

When I said that I wanted to grow yucca, I meant for decoration. I thought it would look great in my garden. I didn’t tell him, but I don’t plan to make any shoes out of it anytime soon.

Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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