bulbifera; Dioscorea villosa
The wild yam is
native to North America, Mexico and Asia, though many species now exist
throughout the world. It is actually a vine, of which the roots and
rhizome (stem) are used to treat different health problems.
1The tubers of Dioscorea are used as famine food as they form
a cheap source of carbohydrate. They are of inestimable value during
periods of scarcity. The alkaloid, dioscorine and the saponin dioscin
occur in varying quantities in different species of yams.
obtained from Dioscorea spp. is the major raw material for the
commercial production of corticosteroids and steroidal contraceptives.
The raw tubers are bitter due to the presence of furanoid norditerpenes.
However they lose their bitterness on roasting and are then eaten. The
wild tubers contains nearly 83% starch. They are used as a remedy for
sore throat, boils, swelling and poisonous snake bites. 3Yam
or diosgenin (extracted from the root of wild yam) is traditionally used
for hormone replacement in menopausal women. Calpains are crucially
related to the degradation of myofibrillar proteins in skeletal muscle.
Adequate yam supplements might improve the muscular calpain-related
physiopathology associated with menopausal status.
conducted at Korea indicates that wild yam extract acts as a weak
phytoestrogen and protects against proliferation in human breast
carcinoma MCF-7 cells. 5Antitumor activity of Dioscorea
bulbifera L. rhizome is found in vivo.
Yam is also food for
heart health. 6Flavonoid rich fraction of Dioscorea bulbifera
enhances mitochondrial enzymes and antioxidant status and thereby
protects heart from isoproterenol induced myocardial infarction.