Medical applications of phytoestrogens from the Thai herb Pueraria mirifica
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- Malaivijitnond, S. Front. Med. (2012) 6: 8. doi:10.1007/s11684-012-0184-8
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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.