Barba del viejo, which means "old man's beard" in Spanish, is known by many as wild yam. It is a vine with knotty, tuberous roots. Its thick, green stems are plentiful. Its leaves are red and heart-shaped, and turn green when mature. The fruits are dark brown.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, India, China, Africa, Florida, and other tropical regions around the world
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, carminative, hepatoprotective, expectorant, hypoglycemic. Used to treat chicken pox and other skin ailments, urinary tract infections, asthma, PMS, cramping, morning sickness, croup, impotency, infertility. Prevents miscarriages. Used instead of traditional estrogen replacement therapy and as birth control.
It is also used for cosmetic purposes-to increase breast size.
For urinary tract infections and kidney issues,
boil 3 cups chopped tuber in 3 cups boiling water for 10 minutes; drink three glasses three times per day. For diabetes, make the same decoction, but drink before meals. For skin conditions, rub the leaves directly on the skin. To prevent miscarriage, boil a small handful of chopped root with 1 ounce of cinnamon stick in 3 cups water for 10 minutes. Cool, and sip throughout the day for three to seven days.
FOR IMPOTENCY AND INFERTILITY:
¥ Soak 1 cup chopped yam in 1 quart alcohol for 10 days. Gin is used for men, and anise liqueur for women.
¥ Take 1 tablespoon three times daily. Cold drinks must be avoided during this time.
FOR INTERNAL HEMORRHAGING:
¥ Boil 9 small pieces of root in 2 quarts water until reduced to 1 quart. Drink V2 glass every half hour until the bleeding stops.
FOR ALL OTHER CONDITIONS:
¥ Take 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried root tincture, three to five times per day.