There is a great deal of misinformation among consumers, practitioners, and natural product vendors alike about the connection between wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) and progesterone. The female hormone progesterone was first synthesized in a laboratory in 1934, but the materials needed for the process were so expensive that the hormone, that could only be made in very small batches, was priced at $1000 per gram, or about $10,000 per gram in current dollars. Researcher Russell Marker developed a way to derive progesterone from diosgenin, a compound found in the Mexican plant cabeza de negra, Dioscorea macrostachya. This made progesterone extremely cheap and led the way to the development of oral contraceptives. While diosgenin can be converted into progesterone in the laboratory, it cannot be converted into progesterone in the human body. Wild yam contains no progesterone, natural or otherwise.
The dried tuber.
Teas, infusions, capsules, and added to creams and ointments. Seldom found in liquid extract form. Combined with cinnamon to treat chronic infection.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has used wild yam for at least 2,000 years, since the time of the writing of the Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica.