Wild Yam History
Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) was used in the 18th and 19th centuries to help with menstrual cramps and childbirth. The parts used are the dried roots or rhizome. Additionally, it was used for upset tummies and coughs. The roots of the wild yam contain diosgenin, a plant-based estrogen the can convert into the hormone known as progesterone. Probably the most familiar use of disogenin is the birth control pill, which was first produced in the 1960s.