Yucca Root

Q: Does anyone have information on the use of Yucca root? I would like to use it for joint ailments. Arthritis and loss of cartelage in the knees. I have plenty growing in my yard.

Yucca root contains steroidal saponins which reduce inflammation. It is normally combined with other herbs for this purpose, such as Devil’s claw.

The saponins are soap-like substances which can also be used as a laxative and to enhance the absorption of other compounds by increasing cell wall permability.

The root also has antitumor properties, and the extract was used by the Apaches as a shampoo. The saponins stimulate hair growth as well. The leaves are also boiled and the water used for this purpose.

Theere are several ways to prepare the root. Tincturing is one method. Another is to slice and boil the root. The saponins are extracted in to the water where it can be taken as a tea. The remaining root is often cooked with onions, garlic, etc. and eaten. Or I had one friend who would bake it, after removing the saponins, and eat it like a potato. The root is an excellent fiber source.

The saponins are removed for several reasons. The first is that they are a very good laxative, sort of like eating a bar of soap. The second is because high saponin levels will damage blood cells. This is also the reason it is often combined with other herbs, to reduce the saponin content.

Yucca root is not going to do a lot for joint regeneration other than enhancing nutrient absorption. It is primarily used to reduce inflammation, and to help clean waste products from the system.

Bone and joint strengthening and regeneration requires various nutrients like silica, boron, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, fluoride, strontium, zinc, and vitamins C,D, and K. Unfortunately yucca root is not very high in any of these.

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