The show Grace and Frankie actually bring up issues that have always been important to our holistic sexual health company with regard to sexual products such as parabens in personal lubricants, the importance of sexual products maintaining a long shelf-life while still being healthy and of course sexual products that are appealing to consumers while still being eco and animal friendly. We are thrilled to see discussions in a show as well done as Grace and Frankie is written and performed to help the public become more aware of sexual issues that are not often discussed such as sex and aging, sexual products and their impact on the environment as well as the toxins that are still in many sexual products.
However, the problem with promoting this fantasy product called "Say Grace Organic Yam Personal Lubricant" is that it may lead women to believe that something like this works and is safe for everyone to use. Additionally, it may have them start looking for wild yam products... specifically yam lube. However, you need to understand that there is no such thing as an FDA approved yam lubricant on the market and there is a reason for that.
Personal lubricants sold in the U.S. have not always been seen as medical devices but because of newer laws they now must be cleared by the FDA in order to sell them commercially. As lubricants enter the bloodstream their ingredients must now be tested by FDA laboratories to ensure that there are no adverse effects on humans and are classified as either a Class I or a Class II Medical Device. This means that yam lubes, yam creams and yam gels are being sold as nutritional supplements which have very loose regulations and as many of you know there are serious concerns with many nutritional supplements such as products that do not contain what they claim, products that contain harmful additives and those that mislead consumers into thinking they will provide certain health benefits when they may not.
Do Wild Yam Products Actually Work?
The first thing you should know is that products such as yam lube, yam gels and yam creams are usually sold to women with a warning that they are not to be used internally. Sellers of them often indicate that they are to be used on the outside of the vagina (outer labia) and are marketed with claims that they are solutions for menopause and PMS. Yet, they typically will have the disclaimer following these claims that say "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration". You may wonder why one cannot use them internally and this is most likely due to the fact that they cannot legally be used as a lubricant unless they are approved by the FDA. Furthermore, some women report burning and rashes from using them most likely due to allergic reactions and sensitivities. However, let's delve into why yams are so widely talked about when it comes to women's sexual health in the first place.
Wild yam contains a chemical called diosgenin which has been used as an additive in steroids such as estrogen and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). The diosgenin is found in the bulb and root of the plant and are prepared as a concentrated liquid extract. There are only twelve types of yam that are considered edible and with over six hundred types of wild yam those that are typically used to extract the diosgenin are from those varieties that are too bitter to eat. Because of the diosgenin found in wild yams it has long been seen as a natural alternative to estrogen therapy, menstrual cramps, vaginal dryness, osteoporosis and increasing sex drive in both men and women as well as in breast development.
However, the truth is that while wild yam does have diosgenin and is often claimed to be a natural form of DHEA it does not actually convert into estrogen in the body naturally. The misconception that there are hormones in wild yam came from labs that chemically altered diosgenin in order to make progesterone, androgens, and cortisone. In fact, using wild yam creams, gels and taking wild yam supplements or eating wild yams does not increase DHEA levels. It also does not seem to affect levels of hormones such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, or progesterone despite often being marketed to women as natural progesterone. Studies on using wild yam have shown that applying wild yam cream to the skin does not typically relieve menopausal symptoms. You may have seen positive reviews of yam products that celebrate such benefits but this could be due to a few reasons such as: a psychological placebo effect, false reviews made by or paid for by the manufacturer or even a more dangerous possibility that the products contain synthetic hormones that can cause adverse health problems in many women.
While most studies show no benefits in taking wild yam supplements or using an external vaginal cream to reduce menopausal symptoms there has been one study that showed the improvement of sex hormones, lipids and antioxidants when postmenopasual women increased their diet by eating two thirds of staple food with yam for 30 days. However, it could be easily said that eating increased fiber and healthier food (such as yams) than their normal diet would have made the same difference as people who simply increase their vegetable, fruit and other healthy high fiber foods also see similar effects.
Avoid Dangerous Scams
Some wild yam creams that claim to be natural and healthy for you may actually contain synthetic progesterone which can cause serious health issues for people with hormone-sensitive conditions. This is especially true for people who have had blood clots, strokes and for those women who take hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills. In addition, women with health issues such as diabetes, fibroids, endometriosis, or cancer of the breast, uterus, or ovary should also avoid such products.
So What Do Wild Yams Really Do?
Wild yams have anti-inflammatory properties so they can help reduce inflammation and pain for conditions affected such as rheumatoid arthritis. They are also known to help reduce digestive issues such as flatulence and irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, because wild yams contain an alkaloid compound called dioscoretine they help to lower blood sugar levels. They are high in antioxidants, promote HDL cholesterol (the good type), help to relax your muscles due to the alkaloids found in them and help to regulate metabolism.
The most common report of health issues with wild yams are skin irritations and allergic rashes. Exposure to yams for those who have allergies to them can also cause asthmatic effects. In addition, wild yam taken in high doses may cause an upset stomach and induce vomiting.
The Bottom Line
We recommend sticking yams in your mouth rather than using them as a primary lubricant source when there are better options. That is not to say that putting yam lube up your hoo-ha is bad for you, they are just not going to deliver what many claim they will such as bring your vagina back to age twenty. Also, if you do decide to make a homemade yam lube recipe make sure you understand that even organic yams can contain pesticides and bacteria which the vaginal mucus membrane will directly absorb as any toxins you insert can go directly into your blood stream. That is why we really do not recommend using vegetables in the vagina or rectum.
You are best using lubricants that are pure and natural such as coconut oil, hempseed oil, etc.. However, because you cannot use oil with certain sex toys, condoms and diaphragms we always recommend using a paraben free waterbased lubricant preferably with healing and soothing ingredients such as vitamin E and aloe which are found in lubricants such as our top selling Aloe Cadabra or waterbased coconut oil hybrid formulas. See a full list of paraben free lubricants that are waterbased.
The most important thing to remember if you are having issues with vaginal dryness and/or a hormone imbalance that is impacting your sex drive, fertility or due to menopause then we recommend you address the most important thing you could which is increase your nutritional intake through healthy eating. Nutritious food has a guaranteed positive impact on the body for anyone at any age. Furthermore, do not underestimate the positive health benefits that a solid nutritional intake has on your sexual performance, libido and general sexual well-being. There are a few books that we highly recommend when it comes to nutrition-
Immunity: The Essential Nutrition
Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger,
and Disease Free
Not to Die: Discover the Foods
Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility,
Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source
There are many factors that contribute to vaginal dryness so here are some things to consider-
Sexual Wellness & Pleasure Products