Shan Yao, or Chinese wild yam, is both a nutritious food and a medicinal herb, used in cooking as well as Chinese herb formulas.
Chinese wild yam is a major energy tonic in Chinese herbalism. It is used for a variety of issues relating to low energy. Some major uses include treatment of fatigue, certain types of insomnia, lack of appetite, chronic coughs and wheezing, loose or unformed stools, sweating without apparent cause, frequent urination, spermatorrhea, and vaginal discharge.
This herb is usually available in its dried and sliced form. It can be combined in a formula of herbs and taken as a tea. It can also be used in cooking. Try putting some in your next stew or in your morning breakfast cereal. If your recipe involves a short cooking time, soak the dried wild yam for a couple hours before adding.