Yam is a common food eaten all over the world. It is mainly composed of carbohydrates with about eight percent protein. Locally known as surra by some people, yam is a common name for the tuber of Dioscorea spp. belonging to the Dioscoreaceae family. The staple food is prepared by cooking in boiling water or steaming. It is rarely eaten raw and this is no surprise seeing as the crop contains some toxins that cause itching.
The yam peels saponins juice/calcium oxalate crystals, a substance that causes itching when it comes in contact with the human skin. This condition is known as contact dermatitis and comes with redness of the skin and a lot of irritation. As yam is not a food that can be eaten whole, it has to be peeled and cut to be cooked and eaten. The itching accompanied by the peeling, therefore, poses a problem.
Gloves can be worn while peeling the tuber, but people are mostly not comfortable with using them. Another tip that can be used to avoid itchiness is to apply coconut oil on the hands before peeling or cutting. Also, make sure not to wash the tuber before peeling as this will only make the toxic juice flow out on your skin.
If all fails and the juice still happens to touch your skin, the following can be used to remedy the itching; peppermint oil, palm oil, menthol, apple cider vinegar, or any type of oil.
Lastly, make sure to wash your hand thoroughly with cold water after peeling or cutting yams. Cold water closes the pores of the skin and therefore preventing the toxic juice from getting into the skin.