Dioscorea villosa is a species of a twining tuberous vine that is native to eastern North America. It is common and widespread in a range stretching from Texas and Florida north to Minnesota, Ontario and Massachusetts.
Creams and dietary supplements made from Dioscorea villosa are claimed to contain human hormones and promoted as a medicine for a variety of purposes, including cancer prevention and the treatment of Crohn's disease and whooping cough. However, according to the American Cancer Society, the claims are false and there is no evidence to support these substances being either safe or effective.
In traditional Russian herbal medicine, saponin extracts from the roots of various varieties of wild yam are used as an anticoagulant, antisclerotic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic and a vasodilator.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- Flora of North America
- Govaerts, R., Wilkin, P. & Saunders, R.M.K. (2007). World Checklist of Dioscoreales. Yams and their allies: 1-65. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
- Biota of North America Program, 2013 county distribution map
- "Wild Yam". American Cancer Society. November 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- Zevin, Igor Vilevich. A Russian Herbal. 1997. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press. p.146-47.
- Eagon PK, Elm MS, Hunter DS, et al. Medicinal herbs: modulation of estrogen action. Era of Hope Mtg, Dept Defense; Breast Cancer Res Prog, Atlanta, GA 2000;Jun 8-11.
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