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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Herbs
CHINESE YAM
Cinnamon Vine, Shan Yao

(Dioscorea Opposita, Rhizoma Dioscoreae)


"For Informational Use Only"
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.





  • Chinese Yam Herbal Description
  • Chinese Yam Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Chinese Yam Dosage Information
  • Chinese Yam Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Chinese Yam Herbal Supplements & Products




  • chinese yam - dioscorea opposita plant leaves


    CHINESE YAM HERBAL DESCRIPTION

    Chinese Yam (Dioscorea opposita, Rhizoma dioscoreae) is also known as Korean Yam, Nagaimo, Cinnamon Vine and Shan Yao. The plant correctly called D. oppisita is now considered to be the same species as D. oppositifolia. The plant correctly called Discorea polystachya is often misidentified as Dioscorea opposita. Botanical works that point out that error may list, e.g., Dioscorea opposita auct. non Thunb. as a synonym of D. polystachya. In Chinese it is known as Huai Shan, Shan Yao (mountain medicine), or Huai Shan Yao. In Japanese, it is known as Nagaimo (long yam). Furthermore, Nagaimo is classified into Ichoimo (ginkgo-leaf yam) or yamatoimo (Yamato Yam), depending on root shapes. In Korea it is called Ma (Hangul), Sanwu, Seoyeo, or Sanyak.

    chinese yam flower spikes


    Chinese Yam is an ornamental climbing vine with small, white flowers that smell like cinnamon. The yam is the plantís root which is white on the inside.

    Chinese Yam is native to China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan where it grows wild on hill slopes and in valleys. The genus name Dioscorea comes from the Greek physician and naturalist, Diosorides.

    Though sweet potatoes are often called yams, they are different plants than the Chinese Yam.

    Although native to Asia, it is also grown in North America, but it is not related to the sweet potatoes called yams that are a popular food. The roots of Chinese Yam contain diosgenin. This chemical is used to produce steroids such as estrogen and progesterone in a laboratory. In its original form, Chinese Yam does not contain hormones. Chinese Yam is used in Chinese herbal medicine. It is traditionally used to treat disorders related to the stomach, spleen, lungs and kidneys. While the tuber and bulbs of Chinese Yam are edible, generally only the tuber is consumed as food.

    chinese yam


    IN THE GARDEN

    The growing cycle spans approximately one year, and should be planted between winter and spring. The traditional methods growing it are: using smaller tubers, top cut of bigger tubers or through cuttings of branches. The first two methods can produce 7.8-inches long tubers and above. The latter produces smaller tubers (4-inches) that are usually replanted for the next year. Between 7 and 9 months of replanting nagaimo seedlings, their leaves start to get dry (a common fact in plants that grow tubers): that indicates that it is time to harvest. At home gardens, it is interesting to harvest only what will be consumed, leaving the rest at the pot in a moist soil.





    chinese yam tubers


    CHINESE YAM USES, HEALTH BENEFITS & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

    Chinese Yam is used in cuisine and in Traditional Chinese Medicine for treating many health ailments.

    CUISINE USES

    In addition to its potention medicinal properties, Chinese Yam is a nutritious food. Chinese yam is a nutritious food. It consists primarily of water and starch. It is also a source of vitamin B-1, vitamin C, mucilage, amylase, amino acids, and glutamine.

    Chinese Yam is an exception to the rule that yams must be cooked before consumption due to harmful substances in the raw state. In Japanese cuisine, it is eaten raw and grated, after only a relatively minimal preparation. The whole tubers are briefly soaked in a vinegar-water solution, to neutralize irritant oxalate crystals found in their skin. The raw vegetable is starchy and bland, mucilaginous when grated, and may be eaten plain as a side dish, or added to noodles.

    grated chinese yam


    It is used in the Japanese noodle dish tororo udon/soba and as a binding agent in the batter of okonomiyaki. The grated nagaimo is known as tororo (in Japanese). In tororo udon/soba, the tororo is mixed with other ingredients that typically include tsuyu broth (dashi), wasabi, and green onions.

    ALTERNATIVE & TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE USES

    Creams and dietary supplements made from Dioscorea villosa are claimed to contain human hormones and promoted as a medicine for a variety of purposes, including cancer prevention and the treatment of Crohn's disease and whooping cough. However, according to the American Cancer Society, the claims are false and there is no evidence to support these substance being either safe or effective. The roots of Chinese yam contain diosgenin. This natural compound is a phytoestrogen, a plant-based estrogen. When processed in a laboratory, diosgenin can be used to manufacture progesterone. In its original form, Chinese yam does not contain progesterone or other human hormones.

    Chinese Yam contains allantoin. This is a natural compound that can accelerate the growth of healthy tissue and reduce healing time. Topically, Chinese Yam is applied to treat ulcers, boils, and abscesses on the skin. Victims of scorpion stings and snakebites can be treated with its leaf juices.

    The tuber is also used (often in dried form) in traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese herbology. As an herbal treatment, Chinese Yam is used to target the stomach and spleen. It also thought to act on the lung and kidney. People with conditions related to the stomach, spleen, kidneys, lungs, or skin may benefit from Chinese yam. Chinese Yam may be used as a remedy for many conditions including:

  • Chinese Yam tones and supplements the spleen, stomach, lungs and kidneys.
  • Chinese Yam helps restore tone to tissues.
  • Chinese Yam used to treat digestion disorders and decreased or poor appetite,
  • Chinese Yam may be used for treating gallbladder problems.
  • Chinese Yam is helpful in treating chronic diarrhea and frequent urination.
  • Chinese Yam is used for treating fatigue and weakness.
  • Chinese Yam may be useful in treating hot flashes associated with menopause.
  • Chinese Yam may be helpful for postmenopausal vaginal dryness.
  • Chinese Yam may be helpful for treating osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Chinese Yam may be used in treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual disorders.
  • Chinese Yam is useful in treating leukorrhagia (excessive vaginal discharge), and premature ejaculation.
  • Chinese Yam is also useful in treating the symptoms associated with diabetes.
  • Chinese Yam is useful in treating asthma, chronic wheezing and dry or chronic coughing.


  • TCM APPLICATIONS

    Shan Yao root, Radix Dioscoreae oppositae, falls within the Chinese herbal medicine category of Tonify Qi materia medica. Within this category it has specialized and important properties which make it one of the most important and commonly used materia medica in the Chinese medicine repertoire. As a tonifying herb which enters the kidney organ (Zang) and/or channel (Jing), its role is fundamental, in accordance with the dictum that the kidney is the root of Yin and Yang of all the organs (Zang-fu). Shanyao is classified as being of neutral temperature, an important property which means that, while it significantly tonifies the Qi, it does not at the same time cause Heat; in this way it is able to tonify Qi without injuring the Yin, an important advantage in the treatment of patients with deficient Yin. In this role of tonifying Qi without injuring the Yin it appears in such classical formulas as Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, the Six Flavors Rehmannia Pill, and its many derivative and related formulas.

    Shan Yao is also used in situations where it is necessary to tonify Qi, but where the Yin is not deficient. In this usage it is usually used prepared by dry-frying (chao), which alters its temperature property to slightly Warm. The slightly Warm property enables it to Warm the spleen, another organ/channel which it enters, enabling the spleen to Dry Dampness, but without injuring Blood, a dimension of the Yin. A typical formula where dry-fried Shan Yao is used to tonify Spleen Qi is Shen Ling Bai Zhu San, Ginseng Poria Atractylodes Powder. It is also frequently found dry-fried in Chinese herbal dermatology in formulas for treating Blood Dryness where it is necessary to warmly tonify Spleen Qi, to enable it to Transform residual Dampness, but without drying Blood or Yin.


    CHINESE YAM & CHINESE HERBOLOGY

    Otherwise known as the Chinese yam, dioscorea opposita is an edible root vegetable used in a variety of Asian dishes. In its dried or powdered form, however, it is used frequently in traditional Chinese medicine. Primarily, dioscorea opposita is believed to increase and stabilize the qi and yin of the stomach, lungs, spleen, and kidney. Practitioners use it to treat certain digestive problems, urinary issues, and breathing difficulties. Users also seek help in fighting weakness and fatigue and in stimulating appetite.

    Dioscorea opposita, in its medicinal form, is also recognized by its Chinese name, shan yao. Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that many ailments and diseases of the human body are caused by the weakening of the internal qi, or life force and vitality. Similarly, they maintain that illnesses can also arise from an imbalance of the yin and yang within a personís body, which are the bipolar forces that balance all of nature. The Chinese yam is used to tone and strengthen the qi and to balance the yin within certain internal organs, specifically, the stomach, spleen, lungs, and kidneys.

    Those who practice traditional Oriental medicine believe that, when taken in its dried or powdered form, dioscorea opposita can help resolve certain digestive problems, especially diarrhea. This belief is based on the vegetableís ability to balance the digestive system. Similarly, by strengthening the qi associated with the digestive system, the Chinese yam can increase appetite and address eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.

    Many practitioners of Chinese herbology and medicine also believe that problems of frequent urination and incontinence are related to an imbalance of the yin within the kidney and a weakness of the qi as it relates to that organ. Dioscorea opposita may balance the yin and tone the qi within the kidneys. This, in turn, eases the symptoms of those particular conditions.

    A strong tea made from dioscorea opposita can calm a chronic cough. Asthma sufferers may also benefit. These usages are based upon the belief that the Chinese yam also helps to regulate the qi and the yin within a personís lungs. By the same token, if a person is suffering from extreme fatigue or weakness, herbalists might prescribe a dose of shan yao. This is because many practitioners of Oriental medicine believe such infirmities are often caused by an imbalance or infection within the blood, which is regulated by the spleen, an organ that is directly affected by the use of dioscorea opposita.

    As with most traditional Chinese medicines, dioscorea opposita combines with other medicinal herbs. It is available to consumers at many Asian markets and also online. To avoid complications from inappropriate use, however, individuals should be familiar with Chinese medicine in general and particularly the proper dosage and administration of discorea opposita.


    According to conventional medical approaches, there is insufficient research and evidence to determine the effectiveness of Chinese Yam for these uses. However, traditional herbal and medical uses of Chinese Yam covers many centuries of health-related applications.





    chinese yam slices


    CHINESE YAM DOSAGE INFORMATION

    Chinese Yam comes in various forms and is an ingredient in many products. In its original form, Chinese Yam can be eaten fresh or baked, boiled, fried, or mashed. It is also used in soups.

    Chinese Yam is available as a liquid, in capsules, as a dried root, and as an extract, to be taken orally for therapeutic purposes. Teacan be made from the fluid extracts.

    An infusion can be used by steeping slices of the root in boiling-hot water. The standard dosage is 10 to 30 grams of Chinese Yam root or 6 to 10 grams of Chinese Yam powder.

    Chinese Yam is also administered in creams or gels that are applied directly to the skin. In some cases, these ointments may contain synthetic progesterone, though they may be promoted as containing natural progesterone. Other additions to these compounds can include vitamins, minerals, and other herbs.

    For other formulations, or for other products that contain Chinese Yam, read and follow product label directions.





    CHINESE YAM SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTIONS INFORMATION

    Chinese Yam is generally regarded as safe when taken in the recommended doses.

    Consult your healthcare provider before taking Chinese yam or any medication, herb, or supplement.

    Though Chinese Yam does not contain estrogen, it has properties that may cause it to act like a mild form of estrogen. Because Chinese yam may have properties that enable it to act like a mild form of estrogen, it may interact with hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills. People with hormone-sensitive disorders should also avoid Chinese Yam. Hormone-sensitive disorders include endometriosis, uterine fibrosis, and cancers of the breast, uterus, or ovaries.

    People with a protein S deficiency should avoid Chinese Yam. This condition causes an increased risk for forming clots. The estrogen-like properties of Chinese Yam may increase the likelihood of developing clots when a protein S deficiency exists.

    When large doses of Chinese yam are consumed, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can result. Allergic reactions are rare, but can include rashes and asthma.

    Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Chinese yam without first talking to a medical professional.

    Chinese Yam should not be taken if you are experiencing abdominal swelling and pain with any of the above listed symptoms.





    CHINESE YAM HERBAL & RELATED PRODUCTS

  • Chinese Yam Herbal Products


  • QUALITY PRODUCTS & SUPPLEMENTS



    CHINESE YAM HERBAL PRODUCTS

    CHINESE HERBS DIRECT PRODUCTS

    Chinese Herbs Direct: Horny Goat Weed Herbal Tea, Triple Leaf Tea, 20 Tea Bags
    Horny goat weed (Epimedium) has been renowned in China for ages, as an aphrodisiac, a kidney yang restorative, and a liver tonic herb. Epimedium is combined with a synergistic blend of potent Chinese herbs, traditionally used to help support the healthy function of the kidney, liver and heart, and to promote healthy levels of natural energy. The Chinese believe that the kidney stores the essential energy (ching), which they regard as supporting the vitality of life and sexual vitality. Stress and the hectic modern lifestyle are considered to diminish the ching, and Chinese herbalists often recommend periodic restorative yang tonics to both men and women. Regular tonification of the kidney and liver was believed to contribute to good health and longevity. It also was considered to help promote the healthy function of the back, bladder and joints and to help maintain healthy normal memory. The traditional time-tested way to use these beneficial herbs was brewed as a tea. Ingredients include Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium) (Epimedium sagittatum/brevicomum), Cynomorium (Cynomorium songaricum), Chinese Licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), Chinese Yam (Dioscorea oppositifolia), Asiatic Dogwood (Cornus Officinales), Lindera (Lindera aggregata), Loranthus (Chinese Mistletoe) (Loranthus parasiticus), Psoralea (Psoralea corylifolia), Desert Broomrape (Cistanche deserticola), Codonopsis (Codonopsis pilosula), Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), Fo-Ti (He Shou Wu) (Polygonum multiflorum), Morinda (Morinda officinalis), Chinese Cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum) and Eucommia (Eucommia ulmoides).
    Chinese Herbs Direct: NephroEase (Luma Yushen), For Healthy Kidney Function, Balanceuticals, 60 Caps
    Made of extracts from prepared rehmannia, fried Chinese yam, slightly fried dogwood fruit, wolfberry, prepared dodder, eucommia fried with ginger juice, dongquai (angelica), cinammon bark, prepared aconite, morinda, horny goat weed (epimedium) with deer horn (cervi cornu), this time-honored formula is used in Chinese medicine for its nutritive, tonifying, energy building, diuretic, spleen and kidney invigorating blood circulation promoting, urinary smoothing, antipyretic, adrenal cortical system stimulating, aphrodisiac and cortical hormone like effects and properties to maintain healthy kidney functions and sexual potency. As a dietary supplement, take 3 to 5 capsules 3 times daily.
    Chinese Herbs Direct: Britemind Elder (Luma Congmin), Balanceuticals, 60 Caps
    Made of extracts from prepared rehmannia, fried Chinese yam, slightly fried dogwood fruit, wolfberry, prepared dodder, eucommia fried with ginger juice, dongquai (angelica), cinammon bark, prepared aconite, morinda, horny goat weed (epimedium), with deer horn (cervi cornu), this time-honored formula is used in Chinese medicine for its nutritive, brain nurturing, cardiotonic, diuretic, kidney tonifying, liver supporting, bone and muscle strengthening, spleen and kidney warming, blood nourishing, blood circulation promoting, metabolism and secretion regulating, adrenal cortical system stimulating, and aphrodisiac properties to maintain healthy brain and mental functions, and sexual potency. As a dietary supplement, take 3 to 5 capsules 3 times daily.


    TAKEHERB PRODUCTS

    TakeHerb: Chinese Yam Rhizome (Shan Yao), E-Fong, 100 Grams
    TakeHerb: Bai-Zhu Atractylodes & Chinese Yam Combination (Wan Dai Tang), E-Fong, 100 Grams
    Ingredients include Atractylodes macrocephala (rhizome) 27.78%; Dioscorea oppsita (rhizome) 27.78%; Codonopsis pilosula (root) 5.56%; Paeonia lactiflora (root, prepared) 13.89%; Atractylodes lancea (rhizome) 8.33%; Glycyrrhiza uralensis (root & rhizome) 2.78%; Citrus reticulata (dried peel) 1.85%; Schizonepeta tenufollia (flower & flower bud) 1.85%; Bupleurum chinense (root) 1.85%. Dissolve one gram in a cup of hot water to make a tea drink one to three time daily.
    TakeHerb: Chinese Yam & Astragalus Combination (Yu Ye Tang), E-Fong, 100 Grams
    Ingredients include Dioscorea opposita (rhizome) 32.61%; Astragalus membranaceus (root) 16.31%; Anemarrhena asphodeloides (rhizome) 19.57%; Gallus gallus (gizzer-skin) 6.52%; Pueraria lobata (root) 5.43%; Schisandra chinensis (fruit) 9.78%; Trichosanthes kirilwii (root) 9.78%. Dissolve one gram in a cup of hot water to make a tea drink one to three times daily.


    KALYX PRODUCTS

    Kalyx: Wild Chinese Yam Root, Cut & Sifted, Certified Organic (Dioscorea batatas; Shan yao), Starwest Botanicals, 4 oz: C
    Kalyx: Chinese Yam Single Herb 5:1 Extract Powder, NuHerbs, 100 Grams: TC
    Ingredients include Discorea opposita; Radix - Herbal Times Shan Yao / Huai Shan (Chinese Yam) as a 5:1 single herb extract powder.
    Kalyx: Wild Yam Root, Cut & Sifted, Certified Organic, Starwest Botanicals, 1 lb: C
    Kalyx: Wild Yam Root Powder Certified Organic, Starwest Botanicals, 1 lb: C
    Kalyx: Chinese Yam (Sulfured), Cut & Sifted, NuHerbs, 1 lb: TC
    Ingredients include Chinese Yam (Dioscorea oppositiflora; Radix - Huai Shan / Shan Yao), sulfured. Some bulk herbs may contain sulfur-based preservatives, known as sulfites. FDA considers sulfites to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS), but some people are sulfite-sensitive.
    Kalyx: Chinese Yam (Unsulfured), Cut & Sifted, NuHerbs, 1 lb: TC
    Ingredients include Chinese Yam (Dioscorea oppositiflora; Radix - Huai Shan / Shan Yao), unsulfured.


    AMAZON PRODUCTS

    Amazon: Chinese Yam Herbal Supplement Products
    Amazon: Chinese Yam Grocery & Gourmet Food Products
    Amazon: Chinese Yam Root Concentrated 5:1 Extract Powder (Shan Yao / dioscorea Opposita), Plum Flower, 100 Grams
    Ingredients include Chinese Yam root (dioscorea opposita rhizome, dextrin) as 5:1 single chinese herbs concentrated extract powder by Plum Flower in a 100 gram bottle of concentrated herbs taken from 500 grams of raw herbs. To use, dissolve 1 scoop in hot water to make a tea drink 1 to 3 times a day. GMP certified.
    Amazon: Chinese Yam Rhizome (Shan Yao), E-Fong, 100 grams


  • Nutrition Basics: Chinese Yam Herbal Information






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