Latin Name: Dioscorea villosa (Dioscoreaceae)

Common names: Wild yam root, Colic root, Devil’s bone, Rheumatism root

Part(s) used: Root

Form(s) used:  Decoction, tincture


– Decoction: 8-16 g, 1-2x/day
– Tincture: 1-2ml, 2-3x/day

Herbal Actions

– Relaxant
– Bitter
– Astringent
– Cooling
– Stabilizing
– Dry

Clinical Actions

– Strong Antispasmodic
– Demulcent and Emollient due to high starch content and steroidal saponins
– Anti-inflammatory
– Astringent/ Tonifier to Reproductive System

Constituents: Steroidal saponins ( dioscin, gracillarin), polysaccharides (starch; some mucilaginous polysaccharides), phytosterols, alkaloids, tannins

Primary Uses: Anti-inflammatory and analgesic for chronic inflammatory disorders (fibromyalgia, rheumatism, arthritis); antispasmodic to gastrointestinal tract (gastritis, diarrhea) and genitourinary tract (dysmenhorrea); demulcent and emollient properties relieve skin rashes with redness and sores (eczema, dermatitis) when applied topically

Cautions, Contraindications, and Possible Adverse Effects: There are no reports of contraindications or side effects when herb is used correctly. It is not recommended to use Wild Yam Root as substitution for birth control.


Written By: Sadie A. Garner, Clinical Herbalist

Resources Cited: Skenderi- p.398 , Holmes- p.564-565, Actions Database- p. 36 , CSCH Notes- Musculoskeletory System

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