Pueraria mirifica Herb ? These days, problems with female sex hormones are becoming more and more mainstream. Along with their increase, alternatives to traditional estrogen therapies in medicine are also increasing. More and more women are turning to natural remedies to influence estrogen, with the market literally flooded with a variety of exotic herbs, oils and other dietary supplements.
One of these herbs is Pueraria myrifica, which is said to possess extremely high potency in affecting estrogen. Whether this is the case we will find out from the scant scientific information gathered so far.
What is Pueraria?
Pueraria mirifica (Pueraria mirifica) is also called Kwao Krua or more specifically white Kwao Krua. It is actually one of three herbs with a similar name. The other two herbs are red Kwao Krua (Butea superba) and black Kwao Krua (Mucuna collettii). Very often the herb is confused with Kudzu root (Pueraria lobata), but in essence these are fundamentally different herbs.
The name “mirifica” comes from the Latin “miracle” and means “miracle”. Pueraria is particularly popular in Thailand and is used by traditional medicine as a tonic and rejuvenator, especially in elderly menopausal women.
The composition of Pueraria is extremely impressive. The herb contains classic phytoestrogens resembling soy isoflavones, but it also contains another class of phytoestrogens called chromones. It is these active substances that account for the estrogenic activity of Pueraria mirifica, which was found as far back as 1952.
The main components of the herb are:
- Chromones, which are divided into myoestrol, deoxymyroestrol and isomyroestrol, the highest percentage being myoestrol, and deoxymyroestrol possessing stronger estrogenic activity than estrogen itself;
- The isoflavone puerarin (a genistein glycoside) and the soy isoflavones daidzein and genistein. The total mass of isoflavonoids accounts for 8.4-10.2% of the dry mass of the herb;
- Quacchurine – isoflavone with lower estrogenic activity;
- Other glycosides and isoflavonoids such as pterocarpene, coumestrol, tuberosin, myrificin, and spinasterol;
- Polysaccharides (73%).
How does Puerarica mirifica work?
The metabolism of the active ingredients in Pueraria has only been studied at the in vitro level.
Observations at this stage have established that none of the active components in the herb directly affect estrogenic activity. The cellular metabolites of the active substances are active, and their metabolism depends on a number of factors. In short, the active component in the herb is a parent molecule and from it another molecule is formed that exhibits a potent metabolic effect.
Pueraria does not exhibit metabolic activity in the presence of yeast, but should have strong metabolic activity in the presence of human enzymes.
It was found that the metabolism of the active components in Pueraria could be enhanced with the use of the S9 fraction (organic tissue product).
Potential and proven benefits in humans
- Suppression of menopausal symptoms. The effect is expressed in normalizing hormones and lowering estradiol, improving vasomotor symptoms, regulating lipoproteins and improving mood and depressive states. The results are measured on the climacteric Greene scale. One study claimed potency equal to estrogen therapy;
- Improves lipoprotein profile in postmenopausal women. HDL (good cholesterol) and alipoprotein A increased and LDL (bad cholesterol) and alipoprotein B decreased dramatically. The balance between bad and good cholesterol is significantly improved;
- Lowers alkaline phosphatase in bones, suggesting a significant improvement in bone strength. No observations were made in the study on mineral concentration in bone;
- Significantly lower vaginal dryness and improve the maturation index.
Potential and proven benefits in animals/in vitro
- Neuroprotective properties on hippocampal cells. Also improves synapse function in the hippocampus (in-vitro);
- Estrogenic activity improves nitrogen balance, blood circulation and vasorelaxation (rabbits);
- Possible prophylactic effect in osteoporosis due to the improvement of bone loss markers (in-vitro and mice);
- Polysaccharides in the herb possess surprisingly strong immunostimulatory properties (in-vitro);
- High doses suppress luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone in the male reproductive system (mice);
- Potential anti-androgenic and suppressive properties in testis (mice);
- High doses successfully suppress parathyroid hormone (monkeys);
- Antioxidant activity, but relatively moderate (rats);
- May reduce hepatotoxicity in the liver due to suppression of bile fluid release (in-vitro).
Method of use
The herb is recommended for use by women only.
Preliminary data has established that even daily doses of 25-50 mg can be effective. We do not recommend exceeding a daily dose of 500 mg.
It is sufficient to take the herb once daily with breakfast.
Contraindications and side effects
Preliminary data suggests that Pueraria mirifica is extremely effective as an estrogen therapy. However, there is no evidence at this stage that it is safer than traditional estrogen therapy.
Because of its strong estrogenic activity, Pueraria carries the same risks as estrogen therapy. Use of the herb by persons at high risk for uterine or breast cancer, as well as by persons who have undergone these forms of cancer, is not recommended.
Use of the herb by men is not recommended because it may increase estrogenic activity and negatively affect libido and subcutaneous fat percentage. For men, we recommend herbs such as maca, baboon’s teeth (tribulus terrestris), ginseng and rhodiola.
Pueraria is considered a non-toxic herb. Use doses up to 50 mg indicate zero toxicity. Similar results were also found with long-term use of 100 mg daily for 6 months.
With what to combine the herb?
Due to its high estrogenic activity and little detailed scientific research, we would not recommend combining Pueraria with other herbs that affect female sex hormones. Black cohosh, vitex, and red clover fall into this category.
We also do not recommend the use of the herb during traditional estrogen therapy.
The herb can be used with general health remedies such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and care should only be taken with the amount of flaxseed oil. Minerals such as zinc and magnesium can also be used freely.
Where can we find Pueraria mirifica?
Pueraria is sold only as a dietary supplement. At this stage it is easier to find the herb in capsules, but not the whole herb in powder or raw state.
Specialized extracts are hard to find. Usually the herb is sold powdered, with the concentration in a capsule varying between 150 and 500 mg.
Pueraria is less commonly found in complex formulas to stimulate female sex hormones or to treat menopause .
To conclude, we can say that Pueraria mirifica has impressive potential and strong estrogenic activity. The disadvantage of all the results so far are the lack of complete and detailed studies with control groups, the use of placebo, more rigorous clinical control. However, it can be assumed that the herb does work and should be used with caution. For its potency and comparison with other medical remedies, more and better quality studies will have to wait.
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- Wiriyakarun S, et al Discrimination of the Thai rejuvenating herbs Pueraria candollei (White Kwao Khruea), Butea superba (Red Kwao Khruea), and Mucuna collettii (Black Kwao Khruea) using PCR-RFLP
- Cherdshewasart W, Cheewasopit W, Picha P The differential anti-proliferation effect of white (Pueraria mirifica), red (Butea superba), and black (Mucuna collettii) Kwao Krua plants on the growth of MCF-7 cells
- CAIN JC Miroestrol: an oestrogen from the plant Pueraria mirifica
- Udomsuk L, et al Bimodal action of miroestrol and deoxymiroestrol, phytoestrogens from Pueraria candollei var. mirifica, on hepatic CYP2B9 and CYP1A2 expressions and antilipid peroxidation in mice
- Chansakaow S, et al Identification of deoxymiroestrol as the actual rejuvenating principle of “Kwao Keur”, Pueraria mirifica. The known miroestrol may be an artifact .
- Cherdshewasart W, Subtang S, Dahlan W Major isoflavonoid contents of the phytoestrogen rich-herb Pueraria mirifica in comparison with Pueraria lobata
- TAHARA S. (1) ; INGHAM J. L. ; DZIEDZIC S. Z. ;Structure elucidation of kwakhurin, a new prenylated isoflavone from Pueraria mirifica roots
- Lee YS, et al Изискване на метаболитно активиране за естрогенната активност на Pueraria mirifica
- Challenges in the conduct of Thai herbal scientific study: efficacy and safety of phytoestrogen, pueraria mirifica (Kwao Keur Kao), phase I, in the alleviation of climacteric symptoms in perimenopausal women.Chandeying V1, Lamlertkittikul S.
- Efficacy and safety of Pueraria mirifica (Kwao Kruea Khao) for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms in perimenopausal women: Phase II Study. Lamlertkittikul S1, Chandeying V.
- Comparison of Pueraria mirifica 25 and 50 mg for menopausal symptoms. Virojchaiwong P1, Suvithayasiri V, Itharat A.
- Efficacy comparison of Pueraria mirifica (PM) against conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) with/without medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) in the treatment of climacteric symptoms in perimenopausal women: phase III study. Chandeying V1, Sangthawan M.
- Pueraria mirifica phytoestrogens improve dyslipidemia in postmenopausal women probably by activating estrogen receptor subtypes. Okamura S1, Sawada Y, Satoh T, Sakamoto H, Saito Y, Sumino H, Takizawa T, Kogure T, Chaichantipyuth C, Higuchi Y, Ishikawa T, Sakamaki T.
- Effect of Pueraria mirifica on vaginal health. Manonai J1, Chittacharoen A, Theppisai U, Theppisai H.
- Sucontphunt A, et al Protection of HT22 neuronal cells against glutamate toxicity mediated by the antioxidant activity of Pueraria candollei var. mirifica extracts .
- Wattanapitayakul SK, Chularojmontri L, Srichirat S Effects of Pueraria mirifica on vascular function of ovariectomized rabbits .
- Tiyasatkulkovit W1, et al Pueraria mirifica extract and puerarin enhance proliferation and expression of alkaline phosphatase and type I collagen in primary baboon osteoblasts .
- Malaivijitnond S, et al Different effects of Pueraria mirifica, a herb containing phytoestrogens, on LH and FSH secretion in gonadectomized female and male rats .J Pharmacol Sci. (2004)
- Trisomboon H, et al Long-term treatment effects of Pueraria mirifica phytoestrogens on parathyroid hormone and calcium levels in aged menopausal cynomolgus monkeys
- Chatuphonprasert W, et al Effects of Pueraria mirifica and miroestrol on the antioxidation-related enzymes in ovariectomized mice .
- Udomsuk L, et al Modified expression of aryl hydrocarbon receptor-related genes by deoxymiroestrol, a phytoestrogen, in mouse hepatocytes in primary culture .