Beware what you read about this plant. Here are the scientific facts.
Pueraria mirifica (also known as Kwao Krua or Butea Superba) is a plant found in Thailand and Myanmar. According to Dr. Garry Gordon MD, who has been to Thailand for on-the-ground research, the region where this plant is grown is remarkable for its low rate of breast cancer and impressive longevity. He says Pueraria mirifica is 3000 times stronger than Genistein and “Makes Black Cohosh and Red Clover look like placebos.” Mirifica means “miracle” and it seems as if we have a miracle herb on our hands. You could call this new product HRT with a spin = herbal rejuvenation therapy or herbal remedy from Thailand!
The plant tuber contains phytoestrogens such as miroestrol, deoxymiroestrol, which are found only in Peuraria mirifica. They are much stronger than soy or red clover isoflavones, and are under investigation for possible use in hormone replacement therapy (in other words Big Pharma is trying to grab something from it that can be patented, to keep everyone else out). The pharmaceutically used variety is White Kwao Krua; the other ones are Black and Red Kwao Krua. The Thai government is supporting the commercial production of this product. They are backing research, which is starting to come down in floods.
Longevity Plus (www.longevityplus.com) now produce Beyond HRT, which is Pueraria mirifica. It works really well for PMT and estrogen dominance, even where progesterone and lesser herbals, such a Black Cohosh, have failed. The price is right. I suggest you ladies get over there and purchase some. But do remember common sense; you will need to take the right nutritionals as well. NOTHING takes the place of quality nutrition.
Side effect or bonus?
But beware if you take it. You may end up with enlarged breasts! This is almost a side effect but Pueraria mirifica is now being promoted commercially for breast enhancement. You can buy it on eBay. Someone is even producing a chewing gum called B2Up (Bust-up Gum). Predictably, I suppose, it was a big hit in Japan, where girls long for (supposed) Western-style melons on their chest.
Surprisingly, all this is borne out by science. Tests carried out by Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University found Pueraria mirifica therapy was able to enhance breast size by up to 80%. Further tests carried out in England found that the plant had a beneficial effect on the skin, and hair, as well as the breasts.
The Problem. What Problem?
Well, it is an estrogen mimic and ought to make estrogen dominance worse. But the fact it is doesn’t. This blessed little herb is truly a gift to women tormented by their hormones (the majority). We may speculate that it acts at the estrogen receptor sites and has its special effect via that route, so displacing real estrogen, which is thus rendered more or less harmless.
It actually works as well as the drug Tamoxophen, to reduce risk of breast cancer cells proliferating. This would make sense if it displaces estrogen mimics. There is much more to research on this incredible story, which it appears should be in the diet of every women from adolescence on, so that we bring breast cancer rates down to what is proven to be the lowest in the world (Northern Thailand).
This is good news for men as well. Get the gum, guys! We know that male estrogen (di-hydro-testosterone) increases through time, while testosterone falls, due to aging, body fat, hormonal replacement, pesticides, nutritional deficiencies, prescription medications and excessive alcohol intake. In fact, studies have shown that the estrogen levels of the average 54-year-old man is higher than those of the average 59-year-old women! The end result is that these high levels of estrogen can cause reduced levels of testosterone, fatigue, loss of muscle tone, increased body fat, loss of libido and sexual function and an enlarged prostate.
Maybe Pueraeria mirifica should be in a man’s diet too.
But don’t suppose it will take the place of good diet, exercise, cutting down on alcohol and losing plenty of weight.
In addition, men are urged to consider:
Zinc, at least 15 mgms daily. Increases testosterone levels.
Chrysin (from the passion flower), which is well known to inhibit an enzyme called aromatase (Kellis JT Jr et al 1984). Aromatse converts testerone to male estrogen. Bodybuilders have used chrysin as a testosterone-boosting supplement because, by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme, less testosterone is converted into estrogen (our state governor Arnie can’t be wrong – can he?).
Carnitine. Both testosterone and carnitine improve sexual desire, sexual satisfaction, and nocturnal penile tumescence, but carnitine is more effective than testosterone in improving erectile function, nocturnal penile tumescence, orgasm, and general sexual well-being. Carnitine was better than testosterone at treating depression (Cavallini G et al 2004)
Cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, contain isothiocyanates and glucosinolates, which act as antioxidants and potent inducers of phase 2 proteins believed to suppress prostate cancer formation (Kris-Etherton PM et al 2002; Talalay P et al 2001).
One extra tidbit, before we close: In males, estrogen is present in low concentrations in blood, but can be extraordinarily high in semen and as high as 250 picograms/ml in testicular fluids, which is higher than serum estradiol in the female.
Just to get me accurate, here is a personal note from Dr I. Sanford Schwarz, the world’s leading expert in Pueraria mirifica. He lives and works in Thailand:
Here are a few points on PM, for your much appreciated article, to be correct:
The UK journal Nature was the first to publish consolidated information on PM in 1960. The Thai Ambassador to the Court of St. James supplied the root sample to The National Research Laboratories in London. There a team led by Dr. James C. Cain built on research published as early as 1940. Their conclusion was that PM was at least a hundred times as rich in oestrogenic estrogenic activity as red clover . 40 years later, it has been calculated to be around 3,000 times the estrogenic activity of soy isoflavones. Yet, as an adaptogen, it does not exhibit a rise in blood or urine estrogen levels.
The first acknowledged human study on breast enhancement was done in 1999 by Professors Kuramoshi (Japanese)and Yuthana (Thai). They tested [certified] PM species on 50 Japanese women, between 20 and 49 years old, with daily does of 100 mg to 600 mgs / day. Following our current recommended schedule of the 8th day from the stat of the monthly menstrual cycle to the 21st day.
Overall, more than 70% in each group demonstrated breast enlargement or firming. It was only after this study, that Chulalongkorn began reporting anecdotal evidence, used to commercialize breast creams sold on the internet. To date there have been no valid structured tests demonstrating the efficacy of breast creams containing PM.
For that matter, creams said to contain PM may actually contain one of the other 12 Pueraria species, or even a combination of a number of species. One, sold in Malaysia, has evidence of containing synthetic hormonal precursors. Despite the fact that they do work, there have been a number of negative reports from users. Synthetic hormonal precursors will do that.
Butea Superba and 13 species of Pueraria growing in Thailand are all called Kwao Krua. Butea (a completely different species) is Red Kwao Krua and Pueraria are called White Kwao Krua. PM is one of the white species family members. Black Kwao Krua is a totally different species and has little to no valid research. Unlike White Kwao Krua, Black and Red Kwao Krua grow throughout most of South East Asia. PM also grows in a small mountainous area of Burma, extending from Thailand s north. Otherwise, it s only (99%) grown in Thailand.
PM may constitute a new class of treatment, safe, low toxicity, showing natural Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) properties, agonist in specific tissues and antagonist in other tissues. We are continuing to research the effect of our PM extract on estrogen and cell receptor sites, in both the breast and ovarian tissues. We will update you as soon as the work has been completed.
Smith Naturals, after 7 years of researching PM, has amassed some 14 Kgs of research, testing and trials on PM. Until their work, the Thai government listed only 8 species of Pueraria being indigenous to Thailand. Currently, they maintain distinct Pueraria 13 species in the National Herbarium.