Wild Yam Cream

Written by Sarah Provost
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In recent years, wild yam cream has been highly touted as a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy for the relief of symptoms of menopause. However, its use and effectiveness are controversial. It has not yet been clinically proven that wild yam has any useful ingredients when taken in its natural form.

Wild yam contains a steroid-like substance called diosgenin, which is a building block of the hormone progesterone. Diosgenin itself has a wide variety of applications, including the production of synthetic hormones and as an element in birth control pills. However, the plant itself has no proven hormonal effect. It can be chemically processed into progesterone precursors in the laboratory, but not in the human body.

Wild Yam Cream Often Not What it Seems

A compound called "wild yam cream" is often marketed as a natural remedy for hot flashes and vaginal atrophy associated with menopause. Claims for this product can be misleading, however. Wild yam itself does not contain any "natural progesterone." The term itself is misleading, since it does not mean that it was derived from plants or that it is in any way organic. "Natural progesterone" means only that it is identical to human progesterone.

All "natural progesterone" is synthetic, i.e., it is manufactured in a lab. While wild yam cream may have some effectiveness in relieving symptoms, this has not been proven. In fact, high dosages of wild yam can lead to poisoning. All in all, it is probably better to take regular progesterone supplements as prescribed by your physician. At least in that case you know exactly what you are getting and in what dosage.

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