Is this herb the safe form of HRT?

Is this herb the safe form of HRT?

Pueraria mirifica is a herb from South East Asia long-known for its traditional effects of breast enlargement and post-menopausal symptom relief making it potentially the safer, natural alternative to synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT.

In Thaliand, Kwao Krua is a name given to a group of plants including Pueraria mirifica. The herb has been extensively studied and large plantations exist.

It is believed to protect the skin and keep wrinkles at bay with the skin looking younger for longer. But its cosmetic use is not all. It was traditionally used to enhance the size of the local women’s breasts, making them bigger and firmer. The use of Pueraria mirifica thus indicated that it affected female hormones and research concluded that it naturally enhanced and increased levels of oestrogen in the body.

Not surprisingly, it was also used after the menopause to help local women get through ‘the change’ more smoothly reducing night sweats and vaginal dryness.

While there might be limited scientific research, in real life the results are well-known and very visible, and the centuries old use continues today.

There is also research. Dr Hataitip Trisomboon of Srinakharinwirot University has researched many Thai herbs and showed that Pueraria mirifica that the plant could help with aging – preventing skin deterioration, hair loss and memory loss. The results seemed to be dose-dependent. The ingredient conferring these benefits seemed to be miroestrol, which was first identified and extracted from the plant in 1960.

2008 research from Japan (1) on this phytoestrogen, miroestrol, from Pueraria showed that after two months usage it lowered LDL and increased HDL significantly. In fact there was a 37% decrease in the ratio of LDL to HDL after two months. Ingredients other than miroestrol play a part. Coumestrol and miroestrol enhanced both ER alpha and ER beta activation, while daidzein and genestein enhanced only ER beta activation. The researchers concluded that Pueraria has an gene-modifying action.

A 2011 study (2) amongst male mice showed that miroestrol and deoxymiroestrol could regulate genes in the testes in the same way as human estradiol, decreasing gene expression for sex hormones. It is likely that this increase in natural phytoestrogens accounts for the post-menopausal advantages noted in the local populations.

Clearly more research needs to take place but the fact is that Pueraria mirifica is used locally as a herbal HRT in the same way women in New York use synthetic HRT, but without the now-proven significant increase in breast cancer and ovarian cancer risk.

Go to:  A reliable source of Pueraria mirifica

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19060449
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21856387
2019 Research
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