Das Wichtigste vorab
- The yam root was used as a contraceptive by some cultures before the development of modern contraceptive methods.
- It is said to have served as a template for the first birth control pill.
- Nowadays, yams are valued for their numerous modes of action.
Wild yam (sci. dioscorea) is a plant that, due to its effects, is sometimes called the “woman’s plant”. Wild yam was even used by Native Americans as a form of contraception. The claim that it has this effect is now widely disputed, although wild yam was indeed the model for the first type of contraceptive pill in 1942.
The history of wild yam
In principle, it is a crop plant. There are up to 800 different types of wild yam, which explains why they are often different in appearance. Wild yam is mainly found in the Tropics. In Europe, you can find only two types. The tradition of using wild yam has its roots in Asia and South America.