Various species of yucca plant were used as food by Native Americans and early California settlers. Yucca contains high levels of soapy compounds known as saponins that also made it a useful natural shampoo and soap.
What Is Yucca Used for Today?
double-blind placebo-controlled trial
reported in 1975 concluded that use of yucca reduces arthritis symptoms (both
However, this study was highly preliminary in nature, and there has not been any subsequent confirming evidence.
test tube studies suggest that various yucca extracts may have antiviral, antifungal, antiprotozoal (e.g., Giardia) and antibacterial effects,3-6
but no human trials have been reported for potential uses based on these actions.
Yucca extracts are also widely used to enhance the foaming effect of carbonated beverages.
The standard dosage is 2 to 4 tablets of concentrated yucca saponins daily.
Yucca is generally accepted as safe based on its long history of use as a food. However, it sometimes causes diarrhea if taken to excess. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established. Yucca may have slight estrogen-like actions,2
and for this reason should not be taken by women who have had breast cancer.
Bingham R, Bellew BA, Bellew JG. Yucca plant saponin in the management of arthritis.
J Appl Nutr. 1975;27:45–51.
Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs and spices.
Proc Soc Exp Biol Med.
Miyakoshi M, Tamura Y, Masuda H,et al. Antiyeast steroidal saponins from
(Mohave yucca), a new anti-food-deteriorating agent.
J Nat Prod.
Wang Y, McAllister TA, Yanke LJ, Cheeke PR. Effect of steroidal saponin from
extract on ruminal microbes.
J Appl Microbiol.
McAllister TA, Annett CB, Cockwill CL, et al.
Studies on the use of
to control giardiosis.
2001 May 22;97(2):85-99.
Hayashi K, Nishino H, Niwayama S, et al. Yucca leaf protein (YLP) stops the protein synthesis in HSV-infected cells and inhibits virus replication.
Last reviewed August 2013 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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