Pueraria mirifica improves vaginal health

January 1, 2008

It seems a Thai herb that is a relative of the soybean causes estrogen-like effects on vaginal tissue, including alleviating vaginal dryness and dyspareunia, improving vaginal atrophy, and restoring the atrophic vaginal epithelium in healthy postmenopausal women.

It seems a Thai herb that is a relative of the soybean causes estrogen-like effects on vaginal tissue, including alleviating vaginal dryness and dyspareunia, improving vaginal atrophy, and restoring the atrophic vaginal epithelium in healthy postmenopausal women. The findings come from a small randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 71 women between the ages of 45 and 60 years. The herb, Pueraria mirifica Airy Shaw & Suvatabandku, also known as Kwao Krua or Kwao Krua Kao, is indigenous to Thailand and contains several compounds that act as phytoestrogens.

In the study, 51 of 71 received one of three doses of P. mirifica (either 20, 30, or 50 mg/day), while the remaining women received placebo. After 24 weeks of treatment, all three groups of women taking the herb were better off than the women taking placebo. No significant adverse effects occurred in any group.

Manonai J, Chittacharoen A, Theppisai U, et al. Effect of Pueraria mirifica on vaginal health. Menopause. 2007;14:919–924.

This study demonstrates that phytoestrogenic compounds can have estrogen-like effects. The bottom line is that whenever a substance binds to the estrogen receptor it is possible that it will activate proliferative pathways in both vaginal tissue and uterine tissue. The uterine safety of such an isolate is certainly going to be an important aspect to investigate, as it may well limit the clinical usefulness of this dietary SERM.