Like Popeye, I yam what I yam, sore back and all: wild yam, birch polypore


December has apparently been designated Bob Falls Apart month. Along with everything else, I woke up with the worst back pain and tighness in a decade caused by who knows what.
But I wasn’t going to give in to the little bastard easiliy so stretched it as much as I could and staggered out the door at 2:30 and got almost two hours in the woods. It’s sore now but not bad so we shall see. And among what we did see was super-hyped for health wild yam.

Name: Wild Yam
Scientific Name: Dioscorea Villosa
Origin North America, Mexico, and Asia
Colors Green turning to golden green as they mature
Shapes 3-celled seed capsules that are ovoid in shape and about 1 inch long; these capsules are strongly 3-angled
Taste Initially starchy, but soon after taste bitter and acrid
Health benefits Blood sugar regulation, May Help Reduce Photo-aging, Rheumatoid arthritis, High Cholesterol, Cramps and muscular pain, Menopause Management, Breast health

Wild yam is the common name for Dioscorea villosa, actually a perennial flowering plant of the Dioscoreaceae family which consists of around 750 species of flowering plants. The plant is native to North America, Mexico, and Asia. It is common and widespread in a range stretching from Texas and Florida north to Minnesota, Ontario and Massachusetts. Apart from wild yam it is also known as Wild yam root, devil’s bones, Mexican wild yam, American Yam, Atlantic Yam, Barbasco, China Root, Chinese Yam, Colic Root, Devil’s Bones, Rheumatism Root, Rhizoma Dioscorae, Rhizoma Dioscoreae, Shan Yao, Wild Mexican Yam, Yam and Yuma. The genus name Dioscorea gets its name from the ancient Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides. The common name “yam” comes from West African dialect and means “to eat”.

Wild yam has been used for centuries by Native Americans and early Americans for treatment of a variety of ailments. The herb, also known as colic root, has a relaxing effect. As the name suggests, an early use was to relieve colic in babies. Be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician before giving your child any alternative treatment. But there are several other ways that wild yam can be used to improve health.birch


Also found on our sore back ramble,  birch polypore, famously carried in the medical kit of Otzi, the ice man.

Birch Polypore Piptoporus betulinus is a commonly known and used fungi that grows on birch trees. This mushroom’s most commonly known names include Birch Polypore, Razor Strop or Birch Bracket. Most commonly referred to as the Birch Polypore, this edible mushroom believed to have medicinal properties.

The Birch Polypore has a bitter, earthy and slightly sweet taste, and it emanates a rich, distinct smell that many people describe by simply using the word “mushroomy”.

Birch Polypore – Appearance and Characteristics

The Birch Polypore has gained its name mainly for the places that it prefers to reside on, which are, of course, birch trees in most cases. This fungi features fruiting bodies that display pale top surfaces with smooth greyish-brown covers. The underside of this medicinal mushroom is creamy white and provides for hundreds of pores containing spores. Its fruiting body is characterized by a rubbery texture which becomes corky while aging. The spores have a cylindrical to ellipsoid shape.

Medicinal Properties of Birch Polypore

The Piptoporus betulinus is believed to be helpful in achieving a healthy diet, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds. Some of the compounds that are found in this fungus’ fruit body, such as polyporenic acid, are considered to be poisonous to the parasitic whipworm known as Trichuris trichura.

In addition to these compounds, Birch Polypore also contains other properties that are said to have positive effects on body’s health. Here are some of the most important compounds of this fungi and their roles for your health.


Author: luzerne2112

As I get older -- and I'm 70 now -- I seem to find more and more that nature is the true source of peace, inspiration and, most of all, the truth the passeth understanding. Though my knowledge is sketchy and superficial, I wanted to share it while I can.

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