The roots of wild yams were used in the first commercial production of oral contraceptives, topical hormones, androgens, estrogens, progesterones, and other sex hormones. Diosgenin, a component of wild yam, is promoted as a natural precursor to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Some wild yam products are promoted as “natural DHEA.” Although diosgenin can be converted to steroidal compounds, including DHEA, in the laboratory, this chemical synthesis does not occur in the human body. So taking wild yam extracts orally will not increase DHEA levels in humans (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). There is no research showing that wild yam has any effectiveness when applied topically on skin. If anything, the studies that do exist demonstrate that topical application of wild yam has little to no effect on menopausal symptoms (Source: Climacteric
, June 2001, pages 144–150).