Useful properties and application of Caucasian dioscorea
Botanical characteristics of Caucasian Dioscorea
Dioscorea Caucasian - a perennial herbaceous vine 2-3 meters long with a thick horizontal rhizome. Leaves 6-15 cm long are heart-shaped or oval, pointed towards the ends, densely pubescent below. The flowers are green, small, unisexual, clustered in brushes or ears. Fruits are rounded triangular capsules. The seeds of the plant have a pterygoid outgrowth, which gives them good volatility. Dioscorea blooms in May-June, the fruits ripen in September.
The plant is endemic, it grows only in Abkhazia and the Adler region of the Krasnodar Territory. It is listed in the Red Book, in connection with which measures were taken to cultivate Dioscorea.
Useful properties of dioscorea
Dioscorea belongs to medicinal plants, it is used in the treatment of many diseases. The most effective effect on the human body is drugs from the rhizome of lianas that have reached 25 years of age. Collecting roots is carried out in spring and autumn, before the first frost. Well dried raw materials can be stored for three years. Decoctions and infusions of Dioscorea have an immunomodulatory, tonic, calming, diuretic, choleretic effect.
The main active ingredients are steroidal glucosides, they are able to bind and remove cholesterol. The chemical composition of the plant also includes starch and fat-like substances.
Dioscorea helps well with disorders of the adrenal glands, the immune system, inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, vegetative-vascular dystonia, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis of the vessels of the brain and other organs. Preparations from it improve sleep, memory, heart, liver and kidney function. The plant is successfully used to treat headaches, restore vision in case of cataracts. It relieves fatigue and irritability, removes tinnitus, improves sleep and mood.
Dioscorea lowers blood cholesterol and prevents lipid deposition in arteries and liver, dilates peripheral vessels and improves coronary blood flow, reduces the frequency of angina attacks and relieves tachycardia. Infusions and extracts from the plant stimulate the motor and secretory activity of the gastrointestinal tract. In patients with diabetes mellitus, the general condition improves and there are positive changes in lipid metabolism, the prothrombin index is normalized.
Dioscorea preparations increase the life of irradiated mice, creating a semblance of an X-ray protective effect. The use of such drugs is quite effective in hypertriglyceridemia. Also, positive results were obtained when using dioscorea in conjunction with other herbs in the treatment of such severe systemic diseases as lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, glomerulonephritis, scleroderma, sarcoidosis.
The rhizomes of Caucasian Dioscorea contain up to 25% of steroidal glycosides (saponins). The most significant of them are dioscin, protodioscin, protogracillin. The roots are harvested from the end of April until the first frost, carefully digging them out of the ground with a shovel. After that they are cut into pieces 30 cm long and dried at a temperature of 60–70 ° С. Due to the fact that dioscorea is listed in the Red Book, plants grown in artificial conditions are used for medical purposes.
Rhizomes of lianas are compact, thick, with tuberous thickenings, yellow at the break.
Recipe No. 1. 100 g of dry crushed roots should be poured with 500 ml of vodka, infused for at least 10 days in a cool dark place, shaking occasionally, drain. Dosage - 25-30 drops 3 times a day, about 30 minutes after meals.
Recipe number 2. 7.5 tablespoons of dry crushed roots should be poured with 1.5 liters of vodka and insisted in a dark place for 10 days. The tincture is drunk with warm tea at the rate of 1 teaspoon 3 times a day after meals. This remedy helps well after strokes and with heart diseases. Treatment consists of three to four courses with a break of 1 month.
Decoction recipe: 1 teaspoon of dry crushed root is poured with a glass of boiling water and heated in a steam bath for 20 minutes. After cooling and straining, the broth can be drunk 1 tablespoon 3 times a day after meals, for 3-4 weeks. For treatment, 3 courses are taken with a break of 7 days. You can repeat the treatment every 4-6 months.
The roots of the plant can be brewed as a tea. To do this, mix 70% green tea and 30% crushed dioscorea root. Consumed in the morning, 1 hour after meals, 1 time per day. This tea normalizes blood cholesterol levels, improves memory and normalizes sleep. This is a good prevention of hypertension and atherosclerosis. To prevent bloating, you can drink a tea made from a mixture of herbs such as dioscorea root, ginger, fennel, chamomile, peppermint, or lemon balm. They consume it after meals.
Dioscorea with honey
With atherosclerosis, it is useful to take powder from rhizomes, eating it with a spoonful of honey, or drinking it with honey water. Dosage: 0.2 g of powder (fits on the tip of a knife) 3 times a day for 10 days, 30 minutes after meals. Treatment is carried out for 3-4 months with weekly breaks between courses.
Honey also has many health benefits. It calms the nervous system, is good for the heart, improves sleep and memory, normalizes metabolism, is well absorbed by the kidneys, does not irritate the stomach lining. It contains many vitamins; it contains manganese, calcium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, etc.
Dioscorea Japanese is also called wild yam. This species differs from Dioscorea in the Caucasian leaf shape, the stem length reaching 4 m in height, thicker rhizomes (up to 5 cm), a wide-elliptical capsule of the fruit and a smaller number of male spikelets. The lower leaves are seven-lobed, with a large and elongated middle part, the middle ones have 3–5 lobes, the upper ones have practically no lobes. The flowers are small, unisexual, with a yellowish-green perianth. Reproduction is propagated by seeds and shoots.
Dioscorea Japanese is widespread in the Far East, in its southern part. Listed in the Red Book, cultivated. For medicinal purposes, rhizomes are harvested, starting in April and ending with the first frosts. The active substances are steroidal glycosides (saponins), which are derivatives of diosgenin. The most important of these is dioscin.
Saponins reduce blood cholesterol levels, therefore they are recommended both for the prevention of atherosclerosis and for its treatment. As a result of the use of decoctions and infusions, tinnitus, headache, and fatigue decrease or completely disappear. Dioscorea acts as a diuretic, it increases bile secretion and reduces blood clotting.
Thanks to its "antispasmodic" action, wild yam helps relieve menstrual cramps, dysmenorrhea, and also regulates contractions during childbirth. It also provides pain relief after pelvic surgery associated with endometriosis, removal of fibroids or cysts, slicing, and postpartum pain.
This ancient cultivated plant is widespread in Japan and China. Its stems, slightly angular or twisted, reach a length of up to 9 m. Leaves are opposite, 4–7 cm long, broad-heart-shaped at the base and almost three-lobed at the ends. In the axils of the leaves are spherical nodules. The flowers are whitish, with a scent of cinnamon, creating single or paired axillary racemes. For medicinal purposes, the roots of the plant and sometimes the leaves are used. Rhizomes are harvested at the end of the growing season - in the fall.
Dioscorea opposite is an excellent medicine for diseases of the kidneys, stomach, spleen. It is used as an expectorant. Tincture of the leaves is great for dry asthmatic coughs. A decoction of Dioscorea leaves is used for menopause in women, along with the berries of Dereza and Chinese licorice, dogwood, and sticky remania. The crushed roots can be included in the collection of herbs for urination disorders and bronchial asthma.
Dioscorea of Nippon
It is an endemic plant in East Asia. It is distributed in the Primorsky Territory, in the southeast of the Amur Region, in the south of the Khabarovsk Territory, as well as in China and Japan. Stems glabrous, up to 4 m long, thick rhizome, horizontal. Leaves are alternate, broad-heart-shaped, with three, five or seven lobes. The flowers are yellowish-green on short pedicels, collected in racemes, less often in panicles. For the production of medicines, rhizomes are harvested in September-October. Dried raw materials can be stored for 3 years.
Powders and decoctions from rhizomes have a pronounced diuretic, choleretic and anti-sclerotic effect, reduce blood pressure and blood clotting. Dry extract "Polisponin" is made from roots and rhizomes, which prevents lipid deposition in the liver and cardiovascular system. It removes "bad" cholesterol, improves heart function and increases urine output. The extract is used for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis and hypertension.
The positive effect of dioscorea in this case is associated with a slower absorption of cholesterol in the intestine and a decrease in its level in the blood. Cholesterol is kept in the state of a colloidal solution and is excreted from the body without having time to be deposited on the walls of blood vessels.
Dioscorea elephantine homeland is South Africa, where this exotic plant grows naturally. Its uniqueness lies in the presence of a spherical aerial tuber (caudex), which in ideal conditions can reach a height of 3 m with a diameter of 1 m and a weight of up to 400 kg. From a distance, the caudex resembles a tortoise shell, as it is covered with polygonal cork-like growths. With this size, the root system of the plant is surprisingly small and is located mainly in the surface layer of the earth.
Thin curly shoots sprout from the top of the tuber, the length of which is from two to five meters. Leaves are alternate, broad-heart-shaped, with rounded lobes. Their length is 2–5 cm. Small yellowish-green flowers are collected in racemose inflorescences. The caudex pulp is edible. It is similar to turnip pulp and is rich in starch. For many people in Africa, this is the main food product.
This type of dioscorea is not used for medicinal purposes, but it is appreciated as an ornamental plant.
This perennial herbaceous vine grows in the dense forests of North America (Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia). It has a knobby woody rhizome and thin branching shoots up to 5 m high. The leaves are alternate, pubescent, with 7–11 veins. Petioles glabrous or nearly glabrous. The flowers are small, yellowish-green, collected in drooping inflorescences. Dioscorea blooms in June - early July.
Rhizomes containing saponins are harvested as medicinal raw materials. On the basis of shaggy dioscorea, contraceptives and creams are made for the treatment of eczema. It is an effective anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antispasmodic, choleretic and antirheumatic agent. Due to its ability to dilate blood vessels, Dioscorea helps with cramps and spasms in the premenstrual period.
The plant contains phytoestrogens, including diosgenin. It is a natural precursor to progesterone. The use of decoctions and infusions of Dioscorea shaggy roots during menopause prevents the development of osteoporosis, in addition, the work of the gonads is regulated. Dioscorea preparations also help in the treatment of urinary tract and cystitis.
Contraindications to the use of dioscorea
Dioscorea is not recommended for patients with bradycardia and for pregnant women. No other contraindications have been identified. Saponins can irritate the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract, so decoctions and tinctures should be taken after meals. When using drugs, in rare cases, side effects can be observed: loss of appetite, skin itching, bowel disorders, sweating. If such symptoms appear, you should reduce the dose or temporarily stop taking Dioscorea.
The author of the article: Sokolova Nina Vladimirovna | Phytotherapist
Education: Diploma in "General Medicine" and "Therapy" received at the Pirogov University (2005 and 2006). Advanced training at the Department of Phytotherapy at the Peoples' Friendship University of Moscow (2008).