Yam Cream: OK for Popeye, not Hot Flashes

After researching yam cream as a natural remedy for menopause symptoms, I’m afraid I’m unable to recommend its use.  I think Popeye might really like it (“I yam what I yam”) but the best that can be said about it here is that women who used it topically experienced no side effects after six months.  Who knows what would happen if you eat it!

Photo Credit: Spiff_27 via photopin cc

Photo Credit: Spiff_27 via photopin cc

While a research study in 2001 showed no difference between women who used yam cream and those using a placebo (where both felt some relief from menopausal symptoms), first-hand accounts by women on menopause forum (here’s one) swear by it.  Some even say they rub it on their faces to prevent wrinkles.  I may just try it on my butt.

Wild yam creams were originally marketed as containing progesterone, but it turns out not to be true. Although wild yams contain a compound called diosgenin, which is used to synthesize progesterone,  the conversion from diosgenin to progesterone must be done chemically in a lab.  The human body can’t do it alone — OK, maybe if you’re Popeye, but this can’t work for women.

In the U.S., yam cream is sold as a dietary supplement.  ‘Natural’ yam creams can also have added in them up to 7% synthesized (man-made) progesteron without disclosure on the label.  Because these are not considered drugs, they don’t have to meet any of the FDA standards, including any kind of testing. So much for a ‘natural’ product which a lot of women thought they were using.  So sorry folks, but check out some of the other remedies on our site and leave the yam cream for Popeye.