- Yucca filamentosa L.
- Yucca glauca
- Lily family
Parts Usually Used
Roots for both
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
Yucca filamentosa L.: A perennial, to 9 feet in flower. Leaves
in a rosette; stiff, spine-tipped, oblong to lance-shaped, with fraying,
twisted threads on the margins. Flowers whitish green bells on smooth
branched stalks; June-September.
Yucca glauca: Blue-green perennial, 2-4 feet tall. Leaves
in a rosette; stiff, sword-like; rounded on the back, margins rolled
in. Flowers whitish bells; May-July.
Both species are recognized by their sword-shaped, stiff, sharp-tipped
leaves. The bell-like flowers are in an erect spike.
Yucca filamentosa L.: Sandy soils in southern New Jersey to
Georgia. Cultivated elsewhere.
Yucca glauca: Dry soils. Iowa to Texas; Missouri to North
Anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, laxative, alterative in both cases
Saponins in both
Legends, Myths and Stories
The root is split lengthwise before drying (it should be used only
after it has been dried). At one time it was considered an important
source of phytosterols and used in the manufacturing of steroidal
Yucca filamentosa L., and Yucca glauca:
A sweet herb used for gout and
beneficial in treatment of urethritis and prostatitis. A blood
purifier . Reduces inflammation of the joints, helpful for arthritis,
neuritis, neuralgia, and rheumatism.
Cut up in water to make a natural lather as a soap substitute, can
add to shampoos, or can use alone to wash hair. Said to control dandruff
and relieve baldness. (1 cup chopped root soaked in 2 cups of water).
The roots can be chopped and soaked in water to extract a soapy substance
the western Native Americans used for washing. The shoots of the plant
can be double-boiled to produce a winelike liquid which was used by
the Native Americans as a stimulating tonic.
Also, they poulticed root on inflammations,
sores, skin diseases, used it
to stop bleeding; in steam bath for sprains and broken limbs. Leaf
juice used to make poison arrows. Pounded roots were put in water
to stupefy corralled fish so they would float to the surface for easy
Some clinics in the Sonoran desert region of Arizona routinely prescribe
yucca against arthritis, with impressive results. (These findings
have been disputed)
Formulas or Dosages
1/4 oz. of dried root boiled in a pint of water for 15 minutes may
be taken in 3-4 doses throughout the day. It has the ability of relieving
pain for several days.
A good general arthritis formula is as follows:
- Yucca root (6 parts)
- Devil's claw (4 parts)
- Black cohosh root (3 parts)
- Prickly ash bark (2 parts)
- Ginger root (2 parts)
- Licorice root (2 parts)
Make into a standard decoction and take 1 cup 2-3 times daily.
The quantity of yucca root taken by itself is about 1/2 oz. per day.
Occasionally there are some purgative side effects that may be accompanied
by intestinal cramping. This can be prevented by adding as an antidote
some ginger and prickly ash bark, which also will aid its antiarthritic
properties. Long term use is said to slow absorption of fat-soluble
vitamins, but these findings require further study.
Root compound (saponins) are toxic to lower life forms.