Pueraria mirifica herbal supplement by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Feb 12 2014

Pueraria mirifica is the botanical name for a plant  known in Thailand as Kwao Keur Kao. Pueraria mirifica has been used for medicinal purposes particularly in women.

Front Med. 2012. Medical applications of phytoestrogens from the Thai herb Pueraria mirifica. Pueraria mirifica Airy Shaw et Suvatabandhu is a medicinal plant endemic to Thailand. It has been used in Thai folklore medicine for its rejuvenating qualities in aged women and men for nearly one hundred years. Indeed, it has been claimed that P. mirifica contains active phytoestrogens (plant substances with estrogen-like activity). Using high performance liquid chromatography, at least 17 phytoestrogens, mainly isoflavones, have been isolated. Thus, fairly considerable scientific researches, both in vitro in cell lines and in vivo in various species of animals including humans, have been conducted to date to address its estrogenic activity on the reproductive organs, bones, cardiovascular diseases and other climacteric related symptoms. The antioxidative capacity and antiproliferative effect on tumor cell lines have also been assessed. In general, P. mirifica could be applicable for preventing, or as a therapeutic for, the symptoms related to estrogen deficiency in menopausal women as well as in andropausal men. However, the optimal doses for each desirable effect and the balance to avoid undesired side effects need to be calculated before use.

Characteristic chemical components of the essential oil from white kwao krua (Pueraria mirifica).
J Oleo Sci. 2013.
Yagi N, Nakahashi H, Kobayashi T, Miyazawa M. Picaso Cosmetics Laboratory Limited, Nishinomia-shi, Hyogo 662-0911, Japan. The components of the essential oil from the roots of Pueraria mirifica were analyzed by capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Eighty-two components, representing 88.5% of the total oil, were identified by GC-MS. The main component of the oil was 2-pentylfuran, followed by hexanal and hexadecanol. With regard to the odor components from the essential oil of P. mirifica as determined by gas chromatography-olfactometry and aroma extract dilution analysis, it was revealed that phenylacetaldehyde and (2E)-nonenal imparted the green odor of the oil, and geraniol contributed to the sweet odor.

Effects of Pueraria mirifica and miroestrol on the antioxidation-related enzymes in ovariectomized mice.
J Pharm Pharmacol. 2013.  Chatuphonprasert W, Udomsuk L, Monthakantirat O, Churikhit Y, Putalun W, Jarukamjorn K. Research Group for Pharmaceutical Activities of Natural Products using Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (PANPB), Mahasarakham University, Mahasarakham, Thailand.
The influences of Pueraria candollei var. mirifica (PM), a Thai medicinal plant with long tradition of medicinal consumption among menopausal women for rejuvenation and estrogen hormone replacement, on oxidative status in ovariectomized (OVX) mice were determined. The crude extract of PM and its active phytoestrogen, miroestrol (MR), were given to OVX mice. The effect of them on antioxidation enzymes and glutathione (GSH) levels in livers and uteri were examined in OVX mice and compared with the synthetic estradiol hormone.KEY  Ovariectomy significantly decreased total GSH content, reduced GSH content, and the ratio of GSH to oxidized glutathione (GSSG) in both the livers and the uteri of mice. Moreover, an ovariectomy reduced the activities of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT). The crude extract of PM as well as MR significantly increased levels of GSH, levels of reduced GSH, and the ratio of GSH/GSSG in both the livers and the uteri, while estradiol did not. In addition, the potential of PM and MR to return the activities of GPx, SOD, and CAT to normal levels was noted. These observations support using PM and MR as promising alternative medicine candidates for hormone replacement therapy of estradiol because of their ability to improve GSH levels and the activities of antioxidative enzymes, especially in OVX mice.

Pueraria mirifica and estrogenic activity
Estrogenic activity of the dichloromethane extract from Pueraria mirifica.
Fitoterapia. 2008. Sookvanichsilp N, Soonthornchareonnon N, Boonleang C. Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand.
Pueraria mirifica and its extracts are widely used as the ingredient in many rejuvenating products. Up to now, the extract of P. mirifica roots that has been used in most studies, is the alcoholic extract. In the present study, we investigated the estrogenic activity using uterotropic and MCF-7 cell proliferation models of the dichloromethane extract as well as the water extract which was obtained from partitioning the ethanolic extract. Among the three extracts, i.e. the ethanolic extract (PM1), the water extract (PM2) and dichloromethane extract (PM3), PM3 exhibited the most potent estrogenic activity in both models, followed by PM1. The extracts produced uterotropic activity associated with the increase of water content while uterotropic activity of 17beta-estradiol was related to the increase of muscle mass. The two isoflavonoids, genistein and daidzein, were not the major active phytoestrogens involving the estrogenic activity of these extracts.

Pueraria mirifica for menopause
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.
J Med Assoc Thai. 2007. Chandeying V, Lamlertkittikul S. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla 90112, Thailand.
To evaluate the preliminary efficacy and safety of Pueraria mirifica (Kwao Keur Kao), phytoestrogen, for the alleviation of climacteric symptoms.  Perimenopausal women attending with climacteric symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats, randomly received the raw material of Pueraria mirifica, oral 50 and 100 mg capsule, once daily for six months, as an open-label study. Of the 10 enrolled patients, 8 cases were completely evaluated. The modified Greene climacteric scale (MGCS) was satisfactorily decreased in both groups. No other laboratory abnormalities, except one case had transiently increased the creatinine level, and one case of increased blood urea nitrogen. The mean serum estradiol was slightly increased, while the mean serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) were nearly stable. Pueraria mirifica is relatively safe and preliminarily alleviates the climacteric symptoms in perimenopausal. women, but the data is insufficient to draw definite conclusions regarding the estrogenic effect.

Pueraria mirifica and vaginal tissue
Effect of Pueraria mirifica on vaginal health.
Menopause. 2007. Manonai J, Chittacharoen A, Theppisai U, Theppisai H. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
To evaluate the effect of Pueraria mirifica on vaginal symptoms, vaginal health index, vaginal pH, and vaginal cytology in healthy postmenopausal women. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Healthy postmenopausal women, age 45 to 60 years old, were enrolled voluntarily and randomly received 20, 30, or 50 mg of Pueraria mirifica in capsules or placebo in identical capsules once daily for 24 weeks. After 24 weeks of treatment, 71 women were evaluated. Fifty-one of 71 randomly received one of the three doses of Pueraria mirifica, and the remaining 20 received placebo. The mean vaginal dryness symptom in the Pueraria mirifica group decreased after 12 weeks of treatment. Pueraria mirifica increased vaginal maturation index. There was no significant difference of adverse effects between the Pueraria mirifica and placebo groups in this study. Pueraria mirifica was proven to exhibit estrogenicity on vaginal tissue, to alleviate vaginal dryness symptoms and dyspareunia, to improve signs of vaginal atrophy, and to restore the atrophic vaginal epithelium in healthy postmenopausal women.

emails
Q. I just found your website and I really enjoyed reading some of the articles. Thereís so much controversy around herbs, and I hope you and your team would help me with more information on pueraria mirifica. I came across this herb while searching for natural breast enlargement. I did online research and found very promising information about it. So I decided why not try it. Iíve been taking them for about one month, and found a hardened lump in my right breast. I have already made an appointment with my doctor to check it out, but I would really like to find out more about this herb. I only found good information about it, but I also know that the lump didnít just appear out of no where. Can pueraria mirifica herb like this that is supposed to be good, cause breast tumors in such a short amount of time.
   A. Breast tumors take many months and years to develop. I have not seen enough human research with pueraria mirifica herb to know its full benefits and side effects.

Q. I just found your website and I really enjoyed reading some of the articles. Thereís so much controversy around herbs, and I hope you and your team would help me with information on another herb, pueraria mirifica. I came across this herb while searching for natural breast enlargement. I did online research and found very promising information about it. So I decided why not try it. Iíve been taking them for about one month, and found a harden lump in my right breast. I have already made an appointment with my doctor to check it out, but I would really like to find out more about this pueraria mirifica herb. I only found good information about it, but I also know that the lump didnít just appear out of no where. Would you help me better understand this herb? Can a herb like this that is supposed to be good, cause breast tumors in such a short amount of time.
   A. Breast tumors take many months and years to develop. I am not aware of human research using pueraria mirifica herb for breast enlargement.
      Q.  I wanted to ask what ďpotent estrogenic activityĒ meant. Does that mean that pueraria micrifica increases the estrogen level inside our bodies?
         A. When researchers use the term "estrogenic activity," in regards to an herb or supplement, they usually mean that the herb has actions similar to natural estrogen in the body. It does not mean that the herb raises the levels of estrogen, but in some ways acts similar to how estrogen would act. However similar does not mean identical and the effects of the herb are dependent on a number of factors include dosage.