Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pueraria Mirifica

In my last post I talked about how I'd heard someone say they felt that "boob enhancement pills" helped them get pregnant. Well, today I did a little googling on that and came across this study (for pueraria mirifica). Note the very last (bolded) sentence:

Effects of Pueraria mirifica on bone loss in fully mature ovariectomized rats are examined.
Two series of experiments were performed. In the first series, rats were kept with their ovaries intact and divided into two groups; initial control (IC) and sham control (SH). The IC rats were sacrificed on day 1 and their data were kept as baseline control. The SH rats were subjected to sham operation on day 0 and gavaged daily with distilled water for 90 days. In the second series, rats were subjected to ovariectomy, divided into five groups and gavaged daily with 0.1mg/kg B.W./day of 17-alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE), 0, 10, 100 and 1000mg/kg B.W./day of P. mirifica (P0, P10, P100 and P1000, respectively) for 90 days. Changes of bone mineral density and bone mineral content were measured using peripheral Quantitative Computerized Tomography.
Bone loss was significantly induced by ovariectomy and it was dose-dependently prevented by P. mirifica treatment for 90 days. The preventive effects of P. mirifica on bone loss depended on bone types (axial or long bone), bone sites (metaphysis or diaphysis), and bone compartments (trabecular and cortical). At P100 and P1000, bone loss was completely prevented both in trabecular bone mineral density and content. The effects of P. mirifica were, as expected, comparable to that in the EE group.
These results suggest that P. mirifica may be applicable to treat the osteoporosis in menopausal women; however, an undesirable side effect on stimulating reproductive organs should be concerned.

(I guess it's "undesirable" for women who are NOT trying to get pregnant - for those of us who are trying, it could be another story!)


More research also said that in some cases, pueraria mirifica has been used as a contraceptive. Greeeeat.

Pueraria mirifica (Shaw)

Family: Papilonidae

Thai names: Kwao krua kao, Suvatabandhu

Botanical description:
A tuberous root, which looks like a row of near spherical bulbs of different sizes interconnected by a small root throughout the entire length of the root. Nine species of the genus Pueraria exist in Thailand which look alike, but Pueraria mirifica can be clearly identified from the distinct characteristics of the stamen of the flower and its hairy pod.

This plant grows exclusively in Thailand, and only in a very limited area of several hundred square kilometres at an altitude of 300 m to 600 m above sea level. Recent research has shown that there are vast differences in quality of active substances between the plants which grow uncultivated in the north and north-east of the country. As little as 60 km (40 miles) is sufficient to produce a difference of up to 50% in the phytohormones contained in the parenchyma (flesh) of the bulbous roots. To ensure the high quality that is required for medicinal purposes a far more selective harvesting has to be carried out by experts than for almost any other curative herbs. Cultivation takes place on a commercial scale and the three best varieties were selected and are known as Pueraria-I, II and III.

Export Quality Control:
Since October 2001 the export of pueraria has been subjected to stringent regulations which were laid down by the Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with the author’s research group. The export of the raw product can now only take place through government agencies which ensure that only products in their marketable form for medicinal purposes and not the whole roots can be exported.

There is nevertheless, as is only to be expected, a lively black market which is driven by the high demand; even in the West there are products on sale, particularly in the cosmetic industry, which supposedly contain pueraria and which are accompanied with the wildest claims for their beneficial effect on health. Government agencies have already instigated appropriate investigations.

Uses in Ethnic Medicine:
For generations known only to the members of a population group in northern Thailand (Laana Tribe), the knowledge of this plant has become more widespread in the last 80 years due to the development of modern communications. Pueraria is strictly used as an ‘elixir of youth’. As the child bearing age of women is extended, pueraria has in certain doses been used as a contraceptive product long before oral contraception - the ‘Pill’ - was developed in laboratories in the West. However, in other doses, pueraria can actually increase fertility. The plant is taken for breast enlargement and improvement, for disorders in mood and well being, and menstruation problems. The plant also has positive effects against loss of hair, greying, and wrinkles in the skin.

Note: I am guessing that it has to do with what your hormonal balance is to begin with. You can only have too much of a good thing. In my lifetime I've seen many cases of people treating themselves for things that didn't need to be treated, and then they screw themselves up. For example, if you're already fertile and then you take the stuff, it could decrease your fertility. I read some testimonials from women who were taking fertility pills. Before they started taking the supplements they were ovulating regularly, but as soon as they started taking them, it seemed to screw them up (whereas most of the women had the opposite effect). If you're wired on caffeine and then drink more coffee it will make you tired. You can only so much of a good thing before your body starts to send you in the "opposite direction" because you've hit a wall and there's nowhere else to go.

I thought it was interesting that it seems to "act against" endometriosis:

Effects of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome):
Unlike synthetically produced hormones, pueraria mirifica has demonstrated that it is able to successfully remove menstrual complaints and symptoms without producing any side effects. It is therefore the most appropriate remedy. Pueraria stimulates production of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) and acts against endometriosis (growth of endometrial tissue in an abnormal location). Pueraria is used in the treatment of menopausal complaints which are caused by a change in the composition of female sex hormones. The hormones in pueraria also stimulate improvements in the skin by reducing wrinkles (anti-aging).

And I read one more study on this site (it was in the body of an ebay post, from a user selling pueraria mirifica) (type in pueraria mirifica in the seller's search box to see one of their posts, as they expire every week or so).

The studying effect of crude extract of Pueraria mirifica was found that it had potency by increasing body weight in both male and female Wistar rats. While they were subcutaneous administrated continuously 25 mg/kg. of body weight for 5 and 10 days. As well as increasing in ovarian and uterus weight, but had no effect on pituitary and testis weight. Histology study showed clearly spermatogenesis inhibition in male, proliferation of endometrium and ovulation inhibition in female rats. In weaning rats were subcutaneous injected with 100 mg/kg. of body weight, were affected significantly on increasing of litter weight. Result of single crude extract administration 50 and 100 mg/kg of body weight after fertilization for one day were embryo implantation inhibition 40 and 100 percent respectively, and the number of embryo implantation were significant difference.

Note: "Ovulation inhibition".... that doesn't sound too good. But it also says it helped increase litter weight...? Go figure.

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