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Frontiers of Medicine

Front Med    2012, Vol. 6 Issue (1) : 8-21
Medical applications of phytoestrogens from the Thai herb Pueraria mirifica
Suchinda Malaivijitnond()
Primate Research Unit, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, 254 Phayathai Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
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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.

Keywords white Kwao Krua      miroestrol      estrogenic activity      reproduction      osteoporosis      breast cancer      Alzheimer     
Corresponding Author(s): Malaivijitnond Suchinda,   
Issue Date: 05 March 2012
 Cite this article:   
Suchinda Malaivijitnond. Medical applications of phytoestrogens from the Thai herb Pueraria mirifica[J]. Front Med, 2012, 6(1): 8-21.
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Fig.1  (a) cultivated in north-eastern Thailand, and its leaves, flowers (b) and tuberous roots (c) (with permission from N. Urasopon).
Fig.2  The structure of tubers showing (a) the roots and tuber system, (b) texture of the cut and dried roots, (c) 100 mesh sized dried powder and (d) the number and shape of fibers and starch granules under the light microscope. The arrows indicate (?) starch granules and () fibers.
Fig.3  Voucher specimens, numbers (a) BCU010250 and (b) BCU011045, of (Airy Shaw & Suvatabhandhu) kept at the Professor Kasin Suvatabhandhu Herbarium, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
Fig.4  Chemical structures of (a) miroestrol, (b) genistein, (c) puerarin and (d) 17β-estradiol.
Fig.5  Histological section (stained with H & E) in the longitudinal and medio-lateral plane of the proximal tibia at the epiphyseal growth plate and metaphyseal area of (a) sham control rats and (b–d) orchidectomized rats treated for 90 days with (b) 0 mg/(kg BW·d) of , (c) 0.1 mg/(kg BW·d) of 17-alpha-ethinylestradiol and (d) 1?000 mg/(kg BW·d) of (with permission from N. Urasopon).
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