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Chinese Yam, a Staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine


chinese yam laying in dirt.

What is Chinese Yam?

The Chinese Yam, also commonly referred to as Dioscorea Opposita is a vine plant native to Asia, although now it can be found and is considered an invasive species in other continents and regions. Chinese yam, a staple in traditional Chinese medicine, is the root of the plant and considered more of a food, than an herb, and can be prepared in many different ways and different dishes or can even be eaten raw. However, it can also be used as an herbal supplement for many of the same benefits as if it was consumed as a food. An interesting note on the Chinese yam is that it is safe for every age group from infants to the elderly, and benefits in ways that apply to each age group. Although the names are similar, the Chinese yam is not related to the yams or sweet potatoes popular in North America.

What are the Health Benefits of Chinese Yam?

Full of Vitamins and Antioxidants

            Research suggests that the Chinese yam is chock full of many different types of vitamins and minerals. These include, but are not limited to vitamins B1 and C, amylase, amino acids, glutamine, zinc manganese and iron and taking it daily as a supplement can be beneficial as an antioxidant.

Aids in Digestion

            The amylase and other enzymes found in Chinese yams are good for aiding in the absorption of nutrients and digesting your food properly. It can treat loss of appetite, body fatigue diarrhea, and other diseases or symptoms relating to the digestive system including strengthening your liver and kidney functions.

Women’s Health

            The Chinese yam has a multitude of benefits for women from easing menstrual pain and menopause symptoms to increasing fertility. This root has several compounds that mimic female sex hormones and boost the enzymes that do make these hormones. Strengthening and growth of the uterine lining is another way the Chinese yam assists in this process and has also has been related to restoring fertility. For this reason, we have added Chinese yam to the proprietary blend inside our Female… fertility™ herbal supplement.

Boosts Immune System

            Apart from all the vitamins and minerals that are known to keep you healthy, the Chinese yam also has compounds that have been seen to improve the immune system’s ability to combat infections and viruses that have been encountered before.

Improve Skin Health

            The Chinese yam can be ground into a mucous-like substance and used as a topical treatment to promote healing of wounds or easing uncomfortable symptoms from burns and rashes. This topical substance can also be used to manage skin disorders and soften then skin.

Where to Find and How to Use Chinese Yam

In the US and Canada, the Chinese yam is considered an invasive species and is treated as a pest, so we recommended keeping that in mind if you are looking to grow your own just as an effort to protect your local ecosystem. However, since it is so plentiful and invasive, you can always try and harvest your own in the wild if you are in the eastern states all while benefiting the ecosystem as well. But you can, of course, always buy it online or in certain stores in its natural form or as a supplement and is generally considered safe with no serious side effects. If you liked this article and would like to learn about another root herb we utilize in our products, you can read up on all the benefits of ginseng!

*Source US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, Medical News Today, Healthline, Live Strong, Chinese Herb Healing

*Results are expected but not guaranteed.


BioTerra Herbs® is a California-based company that is passionate about clean and honest herbal products. Our carefully crafted herbal supplements are the bridge between the spirit of traditional Chinese medicine and knowledge of Western science. Our trusted process works with globally- sourced, natural seeds and herbs that are brewed in California using a cold brew process that surpasses industry standard testing including the extraction of naturally occurring heavy metals. Our seed to shelf process is completed here in sunny Southern California. With a deeply rooted philosophy of care, our herbal supplements are all-natural, vegan, drug-free, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. We love Mother Earth (and Aunt Mildred, too) and believe that natural is always better.


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