Overview

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.

How does it work ?

Bitter yam contains chemicals that might lower blood sugar levels. However, bitter yam has not been studied in people.

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