Why Yam Is Not Progesterone in Disguise

If you are confused about the difference between wild yam cream and progesterone – and they really are not the same – then here’s how to end the confusion.


Since the 1940’s scientists have been using wild yams, soya beans and other plants from the tuber family to extract the plant sterols that are then converted in the laboratory to make USP progesterone that is bioidentical and fully recognised by the body in the same way as its own natural hormone.

We know that wild yam creams containing diosgenin appear to have an oestrogenic effect on the body, not a progesterone-like effect, but there is no scientific proof that these creams when applied to the skin (or ingested in tablet or powder form) can be converted by the body into the hormone progesterone.

What’s the difference?

Why is yam not able to be provide progesterone to the body? It is because the active ingredient (diosgenin) is not bioidentical to the progesterone molecule found in the body these wild yam extract creams cannot do the work of progesterone.

You only get bioidentical, natural-to-the-body progesterone when it is manufactured from yam’s ingredient diosgenin in a laboratory with the aid of an enzyme.

There has been a long-running confusion about taking yam cream instead of progesterone and many women do get benefit, but this is more from its oestrogen properties. Many women believe that it is a good substitute, but nothing could be further from the truth as yam simply does not convert in the body to progesterone as studies have shown.

What’s the process?

The confusion seems to arise over the procedure used to make bioidentical natural progesterone. The procedure to extract the active ingredients in the Wild Yam extract means it has to synthesized with the aid of an enzyme, thus turning it into a hormone. Unlike synthetic oestrogen and progestins (synthetic forms of progesterone used in the Pill?Coil and HRT), synthesized natural progesterone is not a drug and it does not have any side effects or withdrawal symptoms associated with it.

Scientific studies have shown time and time again that for any natural progesterone cream to really be effective and increase the progesterone levels in your blood stream, and an effective cream must contain synthesized natural progesterone, not wild yam extract.