This Chinese ‘Fairy Food’ Has More Health Benefits Than You Can Imagine
Chinese yam or Dioscorea opposita is an ornamental climbing plant originating from Asia. Although it grows in North America too, it has no relation to the sweet potatoes called yams, which are widely popular in this country. Another name for Chinese yam is cinnamon vine or Shan Yao.
The roots of Chinese yam contain diosgenin, which in laboratory conditions is used to produce steroids such as estrogen and progesterone. However, Chinese yam does not contain any human hormones in its original form.
A popular Chinese herbal medicine, it is traditionally used to treat stomach, spleen, lung and kidney disorders.
While both, the tuber and bulbs of Chinese yam are edible, generally only the tuber is consumed as food.
What are the benefits of Chinese yam?
As a herbal remedy, Chinese yam is used for treatment of stomach and spleen disorders. It’s also believed to have positive effects on the lungs and kidneys. Normally, it is used to target:
– poor appetite
– chronic diarrhea
– dry coughs
– frequent urination
Chinese yam contains a natural compound – allantoin, which speeds up the growth of healthy tissue and reduces healing time. When applied topically, Chinese yam is efficient in treating skin ulcers, boils and abscesses. Scorpion stings and snakebites can be treated with its juices extracted from the leaves.
As mentioned above, the roots of Chinese yam contain diosgenin, a natural compound which is a phytoestrogen, a plant-based estrogen. When processed in a laboratory, diosgenin can be used to produce progesterone.
Holistic medicine promotes Chinese Yam as a remedy used for many conditions, including:
– hot flashes associated with menopause
– postmenopausal vaginal dryness
– premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
– gallbladder problems