Yucca schidigera is
a medicinal plant native to Mexico. According to folk medicine, yucca extracts
have anti-arthritic and ant-inflammatory effects. The plant contains several
physiologically active phytochemicals. It is a rich source of steroidal
Saponins have diverse biological effects, including anti-protozoal activity. Protozoal diseases in which part of the life cycle occurs in the gastrointestinal tract respond to the anti-protozoal activity of the saponins in Yucca.
Yucca powder and yucca extract are used as animal feed additives. Beneficial effects in livestock and poultry production include: increased growth rate and improved feed conversion efficiency, reduction in atmospheric ammonia in confinement animal and poultry facilities, anti-protozoal and nematocidal activity, modification of ruminal microbe populations, inhibition of Gram-positive bacteria, reductions in stillbirths in swine, and anti-arthritic activity in horses and dogs.
Yucca products have GRAS status, so are FDA-approved for use in humans.
Yucca saponins are as effective as the drug metronidazole in killing tropozoites of Giardia lamblia in the intestine (McAllister TA, Annett CB, Cockwill CL, Olson ME, Yang Y, Cheeke PR: Studies on the use of Yucca schidigera to control giardiasis. Vet Parasit 2001, 97:85-99.).