Wild Yam

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Dioscorea villosa is one of the species of yam referred to as ‘wild yam’. It is claimed to alleviate symptoms of menopause, but there is no evidence to support this effect.

Wild Yam is most often used for


Dioscorea villosa is one of the species of yam referred to as ‘wild yam’.

Dioscorea villosa has been claimed to alleviate symptoms of menopause, but there is currently no evidence to support this effect.

Animal evidence suggests Dioscorea villosa can increase skin thickness after low-dose supplementation. This effect suggests Dioscorea villosa is a potentially useful supplement for skin care, but more research is needed before it can be specifically recommended as a cosmetic supplement.

Dioscorea villosa is claimed to alleviate symptoms of menopause because the molecular structures of the yam are similar to many steroid-like compounds. Dioscorea villosa may have effects similar to Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

Unfortunately, Dioscorea villosa extracts are associated with kidney and liver fibrosis, a condition characterized by excessive scar tissue. Though this effect is weak, it appears to be both time and dose-dependent. For this reason, chronic supplementation of Dioscorea villosa is not recommended.

What else is Wild Yam known as?
Note that Wild Yam is also known as:
  • Wild Yam
  • Dioscorea Villosa
Wild Yam should not be confused with:
  • Common Yam (Dioscorea Rotundata)
  • Purple Yam (Dioscorea Alata)
Dosage information

Animal studies suggest Dioscorea villosa supplementation provides benefits when 9.8 – 37.7mg/ kg of bodyweight is given to mice. This translates to an approximate human dosage range of 0.8 – 3mg/kg of bodyweight.

Rat studies show that doses of 790mg/kg of bodyweight (126mg/kg of bodyweight in humans) are associated with fibrosis. Lower doses have not been confirmed to be safe.

Since more research is needed to determine whether Dioscorea villosa is safe for supplementation, it cannot currently be recommended.

Join our supplement information course

Enter your email to get a FREE five-day course on supplements. 100% backed by science, we take an independent and unbiased approach to figure out what works (and what's a waste of time and money).

    The only 100% independent company. While everyone sells supplements, we only analyze research.

    Don't miss out on the latest research

    Enter your email and we'll keep you on top of the latest nutrition research, supplement myths, and more

      1.^Carroll DGNonhormonal therapies for hot flashes in menopauseAm Fam Physician.(2006 Feb 1)
      6.^Dong SH, Nikolić D, Simmler C, Qiu F, van Breemen RB, Soejarto DD, Pauli GF, Chen SNDiarylheptanoids from Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam)J Nat Prod.(2012 Dec 17)
      7.^Hayes PY, Lambert LK, Lehmann R, Penman K, Kitching W, De Voss JJComplete (1)H and (13)C assignments of the four major saponins from Dioscorea villosa (wild yam)Magn Reson Chem.(2007 Nov)
      10.^Wojcikowski K, Wohlmuth H, Johnson DW, Gobe GDioscorea villosa (wild yam) induces chronic kidney injury via pro-fibrotic pathwaysFood Chem Toxicol.(2008 Sep)
      12.^Scott A, Higdon K, Tucci M, Benghuzzi H, Puckett A, Tsao A, Cason Z, Hughes JThe prevention of osteoporotic progression by means of steroid loaded TCPL drug delivery systemsBiomed Sci Instrum.(2001)
      13.^Tada Y, Kanda N, Haratake A, Tobiishi M, Uchiwa H, Watanabe SNovel effects of diosgenin on skin agingSteroids.(2009 Jun)