An Herbal Remedy From Thailand
Pueraria mirifica (also known as Kwao Krua or Butea Superba) is a plant found only in Thailand and parts of Burma; 99% is grown in Thailand. Menopausal women, have been using Pueraria Mirifica for 700 years.
The region where this plant is grown is remarkable for its low rate of breast cancer and impressive longevity, which alerted scientists to something good going on. The lucky women get to use this local plant and the benefits are enormous and the science is building all the time.
Men should use it too, especially as they age, since men are increasingly exposed to old-age estrogens (“male estrogen”).
The active ingredients seem to be miroestrol and deoxymiroestrol. These have been shown to be 3,000 more potent as estrogens than soy isoflavones and, according to Dr. Garry Gordon MD, Pueraria mirifica “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.
There are in fact 13 species of Pueraria growing in Thailand and much confusion results over what is an effective preparation and what isn’t. Given its growing international reputation, the Thai government vigorously protects its authentic provenance. Buyers should seek out only sources with an official license.
All else is suspect and some products are clearly fraudulent.
For the avoidance of confusion: Butea (a completely different species) is Red Kwao Krua and Pueraria is called White Kwao Krua. 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.
I have heard it said that identifying the correct PM species is very difficult and gatherers have to tour the jungle in spring, marking the plants with the correct flowers, ready for identification when harvesting comes around.
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). It works by attaching to estrogen receptors, so that real estrogen is rendered ineffective, but it does so without stimulating the receptors in a dangerous way.
This is sometimes called estrogen inhibition.
It actually works as well as the drug Tamoxifen, to reduce risk of breast cancer cells proliferating. 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 those in Northern Thailand, which is proven to be the lowest in the world.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs)
Pueraria in one of a group of emergent compounds, which includes the drug Tamoxifen, called selective estrogen receptor modulators or SERMs.
SERMs are called “selective” because they bind to particular estrogen receptors. SERMs do not prevent the production of estrogen, but they help to slow or stop the growth of estrogen-sensitive cancer cells by starving them of a full dose of natural estrogen.
There are other beneficial side effects, such as lowering cholesterol and protecting bone health for post-menopausal women, keeping the skeleton and joints strong and preventing breaks and fractures.
As an adaptogen, PM does not exhibit a rise in blood or urine estrogen levels.
The latest remarkable discovery is that SERMs can protect your telomeres and that is a number one result for anti-aging (more of that in a moment).
Pueraria Mirifica for Breast Enlargement
It’s a side effect of PM but it’s one that many women seek. 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.
The first acknowledged human study on breast enhancement was done in 1999 by Professors Kuramoshi (Japanese) and Yuthana (Thai). They tested pure-certified PM species on 50 Japanese women, between 20 and 49 years old. Overall, more than 70% in each group demonstrated breast enlargement or firming.
Further tests carried out in England found that the plant had a beneficial effect on the skin and hair, as well as the breasts.
Just remember, if that’s your reason for taking it, it’s not 100% certain.
Beware: there are fakes with synthetic breast-enlargement additives. One cream, sold in Malaysia, has evidence of containing synthetic hormonal precursors.
Men can benefit too. We know that male estrogen increases through time, while testosterone falls, due to aging, body fat, hormonal replacement, pesticides, nutritional deficiencies, prescription medications and excessive alcohol intake. It’s a condition called estrogen dominance.
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, an enlarged prostate and male titties [did you know that male breast reduction surgery is the fastest growing surgical procedures in the USA right now?]
So Pueraria has potential benefits for men too. It does not produce male breasts and may actually reduce this sign of aging plumpness.
But don’t suppose PM 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 mgs 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.
- Carnitine also improves 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, 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: 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.
A Fountain of Youth to Reverse Aging
Harvard scientists have taken prematurely aged mice and reversed the toll of time – increasing the size of their shrunken brains, restoring their diminished sense of smell, and turning their graying fur to a healthy sheen.
They did this by using the SERM properties.
The mice were at the very end of their lives and scientists expected no more than to slow or perhaps stabilize the aging process. Instead, they saw a dramatic reversal in the symptoms of aging.
The mice were specially developed to be telomere-deficient and aged fast. Just mid-way through the normal lifespan of a mouse, their organs had atrophied, their brains had shrunk, their coats turned gray and shabby and they had lost the ability to detect noxious odors.
But when scientists used a Tamoxifen-clone enzyme to switch the gene back on for a month, many hallmarks of aging seemed to reverse. The fertility of the mice increased, their sense of smell was restored, and their organs were rejuvenated. They literally went into aging reverse. (see photo. The mouse on the left once looked like the old crock on the right!)
Well, the complex enzyme used for this trial is not available commercially and I could not recommend Tamoxifen as a good idea, even if you could get your doctor to prescribe it.
But you can take Pueraria and expect at least some of this beneficial aging effect. In several senses, Pueraria mirifica is a “fountain of youth”.
What You Need to Know About Regarding Dosage and Sources
Dr Sandy Schwartz’s recommendation is as follows:
- 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.
- daily dosing, with no cycle.
Let Me Sum Up the Properties Of Pueraria Mirifica
- slowing the aging process: anti-wrinkle agent; hair darkener, strengthener, and growth promoter
- breast firming
- counter-acting memory loss
- alleviating cataract and other vision problems
- increasing energy, vigor, flexibility
- increasing blood circulation
- increasing appetite
- alleviating sleep disorders
- preventing and aiding rehabilitation from strokes
- alleviating the effects of menopause
- restoring vaginal health and elasticity
- countering osteoporosis
- slowing and preventing prostate enlargement in men
Note the form known as Butea superba (in Thai, kwao kreu daeng) increases libido and sexual vitality for men.
Truly, a “miracle” herb and deserves its name.