May 24, 2016

Bitter Yam

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What other names is Bitter Yam known by?

African Bitter Yam, Cluster Yam, Dioscorea dumetorum, Esuri Yam, Esuru, Helmia dumetorum, Igname Amère, Igname Sauvage, Igname Trifoliolée, Ikamba, Inhame-bravo, Name Amargo, Name de Tres Hojas, Ñame Amargo, Ono, Three-leaved Yam, Trifoliate Yam.

What is Bitter Yam?

Bitter yam is a plant that grows in Africa. It has a fleshy, potato-like root (tuber) that is used for food in times of famine or for making medicine. Wild forms of bitter yam are likely to contain poisons and must be soaked and boiled before use. But bitter yams that are raised by farmers generally do not have the toxins because safer plants are cultivated selectively.

People take bitter yam for diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), stomach pain (colic), menstrual disorders, and schistosomiasis. Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by parasitic worms.

Be careful not to confuse bitter yam (Dioscorea dumetorum) with wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) or air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera). All three are sometimes called bitter yam.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Diabetes.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Stomach pain (colic).
  • Menstrual disorders.
  • A disease caused by parasitic worms called schistosomiasis.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of bitter yam for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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