Chinese yam is a climbing vine which is a flowering species that produces edible tubers. It grows 3-5 meters in height. The leaves are 11 cm long and wide and show a clockwise twist.
They are lobed at the base and borne in whorls. Bulbils appear in leaf axils, these are 2 cm long. New leaves grow from these “yam berries.”
The flowers have a cinnamon-like scent. Each plant has one or two cylindrical tubers. It may grow up to 1 meter in length and weigh 10 pounds.
Common name of the Chinese yam plant
The common name of this plant is Chinese yam or wild yam. In Chinese, it is called Shan Yao. People also call it as Chinese potato or cinnamon-vine.
Botanical name and family
Its botanical name is Dioscorea batatas. It belongs to the Dioscoreaceae (Yam) family.
Geological places where wild yam grows
It is native to Asia. Wild yam grows throughout East Asia – Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Kuril Islands.
Chinese yam health benefits and uses
The root and bulb of the cinnamon-vine plant find a use as a source of diosgenin. A liquid extract is prepared. This will be the concentrated form of diosgenin. This finds a use for preparing progesterone and estrogen in the lab. Our body cannot change diosgenin to these hormones.
- Treatment for tiredness: Taking yam will help improve energy and remove any tiredness you have. It gives you an instant boost because it is 20% starch. Other than that, it has vitamins also.
- Helpful for asthma and dry coughs: If you have dry cough, take the decoction of the root of wild yam twice a day. This will give you relief in cough.
- Anthelmintic: It is good for killing intestinal worms. For those with worms in the stomach, taking wild yam tea will help remove it.
- Good for weight loss: Taking Chinese yam tea helps to reduce appetite and prevent cravings. This will help you lose weight fast.
- Helps prevent atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis is the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels. Drink tea made from Chinese yam and you will be protected from atherosclerosis.
- Cure for frequent and uncontrollable urination: For people who have frequent urination complaint, taking wild yam tea will help control it. Take the tea twice a day.
- Herb of eight ingredients: It is used to make the herb of eight ingredients. This is used for treating the following:
- Hyperthyroidism: Enlarged thyroid gland produces too much hormone and increases the metabolism of the body. Take the tea made from the extract of cinnamon-vine plant.
- Diabetes: When a person has diabetes, he or she is unable to convert the sugar in the blood, so they have high sugar levels. Taking tea made from the extract of cinnamon-vine will help control sugar levels.
- Nephritis: Inflammation of the kidneys can lead to kidney failure. Use the extract of the cinnamon-vine plant to treat this condition.
- Use to rectify poor appetite: Improve your appetite by including the tea made from the extract of Dioscorea batatas in your diet.
- Helps prevent disorders of the intestine: One of complaints of disorders of the intestine is Diverticulosis. You can get relief by taking the extract of wild yam.
- Treats ulcer, boils, and abscess: People have used Dioscorea batatas extract since the olden times to get relief from ulcers and boils. This is due to its healing nature.
- Relief for gallbladder pain: If you have gallbladder pain, you will get relief by using wild yam.
- Helps cure cuts and bruises: Dioscorea batatas has a chemical called allantoin. This improves the speed of growth of healthy tissues. So, we can use yam extract to help heal bruises on the skin. The healing time is reduced.
- Cancer prevention: Regular use of wild yam might help prevent cancer cells growth. It does show cancer cell growth retarding properties in animals.
- Treatment of Crohn’s disease: People with Crohn’s disease will experience abdominal cramping. Take the tea made from the roots of yam plant for relief.
- Cure for emotional instability: If you have emotional problems, taking tea made from the extract of Dioscorea batatas will help to make you better again.
- Good for snake bites and scorpion stings: Cut a few leaves of make a juice to apply it to snake bites and scorpion stings.
- Digestive helps remedy poor digestion: If you do not feel hungry take the tea of Chinese yam plant and soon your digestive system will be back on track.
- Gentle tonic: You can get energized by taking the tea of wild yam. Though it is mild, it helps give you a boost of energy.
- Treats chronic diarrhea: For people suffering from diarrhea, taking wild yam tea is a cure. It will stop the diarrhea fast.
- Reduce menopausal symptoms: Apply paste to the skin to reduce hot flashes. Have the tea twice a day and you will have relief from PMS. It helps to restore the balance of the hormones.
- Helps disorders of genital organs: Having cinnamon-vine extract will help people with disorders of the genital organs. Include the tea of cinnamon-vine in your diet and you will have relief.
- Good for rheumatoid arthritis: Wild yam has the property of controlling inflammation. So, it benefits people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Take the tea made from the wild yam roots. This will help to prevent the swelling and give relief from the pain.
Known side effects of Chinese yam
- The edible variety of yam has opposite leaves while the poisonous variety has alternate leaves.
- Although it does not contain estrogen, Chinese yam acts like a mild form of estrogen. So, it interacts negatively with birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy pills. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it.
- Women that have hormone sensitivity such as endometriosis, cancer of breast or ovaries, and uterine fibrosis should avoid it.
- Allergic reactions do not occur often, but when they do it includes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
If you experience any reaction after using Chinese yam, you must consult your doctor at once. Eaten in moderation, it does not create any problems.