Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big yam test 2021. Here we present all the yams we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best yam for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying yam.




The most important facts

  • Wild yam has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a solution for hormonal complaints in women.
  • However, it is now used for many other ailments: It can be used for menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps or PMS (premenstrual syndrome) etc.
  • Yam can be bought fresh, but also as an extract in tablets, capsules, tinctures, ointments, drops, gel and powder.

The Best Yam: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying yams

What does yam do?

Wild yam has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a solution for hormonal complaints in women. Today, however, it is used for many other complaints.

The yam root can support your health in many aspects and alleviate complaints. (Image source: unsplash.com / Hanson Lu)

The positive hormonal effect of the root helps with skin problems, e.g. acne, pimples, the regulation of hypothyroidism and hormonally induced overweight. Yams also contains a lot of dietary fibre, which increases digestion.

The root is very popular because it helps with weight loss and lowers cholesterol levels. It has a significant effect on carbohydrate metabolism: for example, yam has an antioxidant effect and promotes a number of energy-producing enzymes.

So, if you want to lose weight, you could try this root. But the range of applications is even broader! Men also get benefits, e.g. for hair loss, muscle building or weight loss.

How does yam work?

Yam has an excellent influence on hormone production. It also provides a wide range of minerals and vitamins. Although not many studies have been done on yam, it has been used for centuries. The main active ingredient of yam is the steroid saponin "diosgenin".

Diosgenins refer to phytohormones, also called plant hormones. These are used against hormonal imbalances. These hormonal imbalances or disturbances of the hormonal balance can occur during puberty, stress or menopause. In the following tables we show you what yam contains: Nutritional values, calories and ingredients.

Nutritional values Values per 100g
Energy 101Kcal / 424 kJ
Fat 130 mg
Carbohydrates 22,400 mg
Protein 2,000 mg
Salt 25 mg
Dietary fibre 5,560 mg
Minerals 1,000 mg
Vitamins Values per 100g
Vitamin A - retinol equivalent 2 μg
Vitamin A - beta-carotene 10 μg
Vitamin B1 - thiamine 90 μg
Vitamin B2 - riboflavin 30 μg
Vitamin B3 - niacin, nicotinic acid 600 μg
Vitamin B3 - niacin equivalent 1.017 μg
Vitamin B5 - pantothenic acid 310 μg
Vitamin B6 - pyridoxine 160 μg
Vitamin B7 - biotin (vitamin H) 2.1 μg
Vitamin B9 - total folic acid 23 μg
Vitamin C - ascorbic acid 10,000.000000 μg
Minerals Values per 100g
Sodium 10 mg
Potassium 393 mg
Calcium 25 mg
Magnesium 21 mg
Phosphorus 44 mg
Sulphur 14 mg
Chloride 36 mg

In what forms can I find yam?

Yam can not only be bought fresh, but also as an extract in tablets, capsules, tinctures, ointments, drops, gel... yes, lots of different products. Each dosage form is best suited for different purposes. In nature, yam can of course be found fresh.

Although it may not be seen so often in shops in Europe, it is a regular vegetable, and a starchy vegetable at that. It is common in the tropics and cultivated as a crop. Its plant is herbaceous and forms the tuber underground. Yam exists in over 200 different species: this means that it can have different appearance, size, colour and ingredients. The skin is often brown, scaly and rough, a bit like a sweet potato.

In taste, however, it is not so sweet, but almost a mixture of the taste of the potato and sweet chestnut. Yams (except the Chinese yam, Dioscorea opposita) can NOT be eaten raw. However, if you prepare it appropriately, it provides a lot of beneficial effects.

How much does yam cost?

There is a wide range of prices between the different ways to buy yam. This range can go from about 10 to 100 euros. Organic yam is of course expensive. Other factors that influence the price are the dosage form, the quantity in the package and the dosage.

Of course, if you want to try yam, you can order a smaller pack and still get a high quality product. If yam is combined with other substances, it will also cost less. It is common to find yam combined with zinc.

However, we have found that the most popular forms of yam extract are capsules and powder. In the table below you can see what the price range is for the only products.

Product Price
Yam root in capsules ca. 10-97€
Yam root powder ca. 12-36€

What are the alternatives to yam?

If you want to try naturopathic treatment methods for menopausal symptoms, we recommend flaxseed, sage tea or Bach flower therapy as alternatives.

Flaxseed not only has general oestrogen-regulating functions, but it can help regulate hormone balance. Sage tea is especially recommended if you have unpleasant hot flushes. Sage tea has a balancing effect on sweat production. If you have hot flushes at night, you should drink a cup in the evening.

However, the normal daily dose should be 2-3 cups. Bach Flower Remedies can help with acute mood swings during the menopause. With their essences you can soften or eliminate them.

If you have already tried yam and you are not 100% satisfied, you should consult your doctor and really take hormones or medication if the symptoms are severe.

Decision: What types of yam are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy yam, there are two alternatives you can choose between:

  • Yam in capsules
  • Yam powder

The distinction between capsules and powder means might look like it is just a distinction of the dosage form. But is it really that simple? Deciding between the two different forms has its advantages and disadvantages. In the following section we would like to make the decision easier for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of yam in capsules?

Yam in capsules is more common. If you buy it in this form, you should take 1 to 2 capsules every day, usually with meals. The capsules contain yam extract and are approximately equivalent to 500 to 750 mg of pure yam.

Sometimes it is useful and more beneficial to combine the capsules with a yam cream, but this depends on the nature of your complaint. In any case, you should take them regularly, as the first progress will only show after a while.

Advantages
  • Good help against hot flushes
  • you are sure to always take the right dosage
  • easy to take
Disadvantages
  • The capsules may have a particular taste
  • You can have different dosages
  • More expensive

What are the advantages and disadvantages of yam powder?

It is also possible to find yam in powder. Without a capsule shell, the product should be more natural, but it is always useful to ensure that the product is organic and pure. It is simple!

It's enough to look at the ingredients: if it says "100% pure Dioscorea Villosa powder" on the pack, then that's a sign you've bought a high quality product. Since the product is in powder, it would also be good if the bag is resealable.

Advantages
  • The root powder is natural
  • No or less additives as there is no capsule shell
  • Fewer processing steps
  • Cheaper
Disadvantages
  • Special taste
  • Somewhat difficult to dose
  • Less common

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate yams

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many options. The criteria you can use to compare yams include:

  • Origin
  • Additives
  • Processing
  • Diosgenin content

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what is important in each of the criteria.

Origin

The best yam comes from Mexico, which is why it is often called "Mexican Wild Yam" in English. The main active ingredient of the yam is diosgenin and the content of diosgenin is much higher in the Mexican species than in the other yams. For this reason, Mexican yam is used for menstrual and menopausal symptoms.

When you buy yam (or yam extract), it is always important to note that your product is organic and that organic controls are in place.

Supplements

As with all ingestible products, it is essential that your yam does not contain any artificial additives. This includes flavour enhancers, chemical additives, colourings and flavourings.

As yam has a particular flavour, the manufacturer may try to change it by using chemicals such as flavourings or other additives. If you are allergic to dairy or soy, or if you are vegan, you should also make sure that the capsules are free of these substances.

Processing

What many manufacturers may not be specific about is how they process their products. You should pay attention to the processing of your yam, as high heating (as low as 40°C degrees) can affect the effect of the product.

The plants should only be harvested when they have reached optimal maturity. Then the roots have to be dug out carefully and afterwards you can clean them. They are then sent further into the drying process in a special dehumidifier and when the moisture is gone, they can be ground into a powder.

Diosgenin content

This criterion applies especially to those who want to use yam for hormonal complaints. Good preparations have a diosgenin content between 10 and 20 %.

However, you should not simply choose the product that has the highest dosage. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, some may also find it helpful to choose a product with a lower diosgenin content.

Diosgenin is said to have a progesterone-like effect, meaning that it can counteract oestrogen dominance. In orthodox medicine, this is brought about by synthetic hormone therapies, but they, like any drug, can have side effects.

Facts worth knowing about yam

How much yam should I take?

The dosage of yam changes depending on the use and the complaint. Here we try to explain what the correct dosage and preparation are. To increase the antispasmodic effect of diosgenin on abdominal cramps during menstruation, you should combine yam with vitamin C.

For cramps, you should take 405 mg capsules. Two capsules should be taken twice a day (in the morning and in the evening). Older women often experience discomfort during the menopause and should take 500mg capsules once a day. If this is your case, you could also prepare yam tea...it's very easy!

You should just chop 20g of fresh yam and boil it for about 20 minutes. Then strain the remaining pieces of root. You should drink two cups of yam tea a day for balance and relaxation.

Yam roots can have a positive effect on menopausal symptoms. (Image source: unsplash.com / Damir Bosnjak)

You can also cook the yam as it would a potato. Let your imagination run wild! The only thing you can't eat is raw yam: it's toxic!

Can yam have side effects?

Of course, yam is not a medicine, so the possible side effects are very low. Yams has a diuretic effect and is helpful for detoxifying the body, but you should not consume it before going to bed because it could cause sleep disturbances. If the dosage is too high, skin redness or fatigue may occur, so it is important to always stick to the stated dosage. People with weak stomachs may experience digestive problems.

In Mexico, yam is said to have potency-enhancing and aphrodisiac effects, which means that men can also take yams. Of course, all the stories about breast growth are not true. Unfortunately also for women! Taking yam is not recommended for children or teenagers because it could affect hormone balance.

Image source: 123rf.com / Srilawong O.

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