Friday, 7 April 2017

Wild Yam

Wild Yam: Dioscorea dregeana

The Zulu name ‘isidikwa ‘ means ‘drunkard’, referring to the reported effects that it may have.

The Zulu use the large tuber as a sedative in the treatment of epilepsy, hysteria, insomnia and acute psychosis.  It is also used topically for scabies. In ancient times, it was used as a general anesthetic to enable fractures of the limb to be manipulated and stabilized by traditional bone-setters.

Image result for wild yamThe plant contains natural hormones – oestrogens etc. – and is used to make creams to treat Menopause as a hormone replacement. Dioscorea dregeana is sometimes combined with Boophane disticha for the purpose of divination. However, human deaths have been reported after the use of the plant as famine food or as medicine.

This species is reported to make a person ‘mad drunk’ and it has been used in poison bait to destroy monkeys by boiling mealie cobs in water with the root.

This Dioscorea, due to its toxicity, is often planted to eradicate moles (intukuzi) in the fields and home gardens. It is often planted together with crops, especially root and tuber plants, such as amabhatata (Ipomoea batatas, sweet potato) and amadumbe Colocasia esculenta, coco yam).

The fresh tuber is generally taken orally as a weak decoction, with an adequate dose resulting in sleep within 20–30 minutes. overdose can lead to paralysis and death.


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