Recently I wrote you about the miracle herb Pueraria mirifica (also known as Kwao Krua or Butea Superba). I pointed out the similarities with the anti-cancer drug Tamoxifen. I think that might have scared a few of you. I’m sorry.
LOOK this is a natural plant substance, a miracle-worker (mirifica is the scientific name, meaning MIRACLE WORKER). It’s not based on, or related to any pharmacological product.
It’s just that one of the best (and relatively safest) anti-cancer drugs works in the same way as this plant. It blocks the harmful effects of estrogen, by occupying the estrogen receptors, BUT WITHOUT STIMULATING THEM.
That, in itself, is a kind of miracle really!
We call the effect a SERM. It stands for selective estrogen receptor modulator. That means just what I said in the previous paragraph but one!
Pueraria is a plant found only in Thailand and parts of Burma; 99% is grown in Thailand. Menopausal women, have been using Pueraria Mirifica in Thailand for 700 years until now.
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”, “man boobs”, etc.).
The active ingredients seem to be miroestrol and deoxymiroestrol. These have been shown to be 3,000 times 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.”
The fact is, there is a lot of confusion around this plant. 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.
But China and other countries are now in on the act and claim to have authentic Pueraria. Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Trust me, they don’t.
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 plentifully throughout most of South East Asia.
But you need the correct plant, the one that accords with all the super published research. You won’t find it on Amazon. 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.
My lovely wife Vivien came up with the idea of condensing the name to Purifica™. She doesn’t know Latin and sometimes stumbles a bit over the syllables! I think it’s a brilliant contraction and maybe dyslexia can be a blessing!
So I’m going to register the trademark. From now on it’s Purifica™. And, yes, mine is a very pure preparation.
I have already explained that Pueraria in one of a group of emergent compounds, which includes the drug Tamoxifen, called selective estrogen receptors or SERMs.
SERMs are called "selective" because they bind to particular estrogen receptors. This selective binding action is sometimes called estrogen inhibition, or estrogen suppression. 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 bones 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).
Men can benefit too. OUR telomeres are protected and even lengthened.
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 (beer is the worst!) It’s a condition called estrogen dominance.
In fact, studies have shown that the estrogen levels of the average 54-year-old man are 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.
But don’t suppose Pueraria will take the place of good diet, exercise, cutting down on alcohol and losing plenty of weight.
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 SERM 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, their coat turned glossy again, and their organs were rejuvenated. They literally went into aging reverse. (see photo)
The two mice are the same age, from the same litter, but the one on the left has gone into REVERSE aging.
Well, the complex enzyme used at Harvard is not available commercially and I could not recommend Tamoxifen as a good idea, even if you could get your doctor to prescribe it for this purpose.
But you can take Pueraria and expect at least some of this beneficial aging effect; some anti-cancer effect and some reduction of that troublesome estrogen dominance.
In fact here is a complete list of possible benefits from PM, published by Dr. Sandy and colleagues, so far:
SERM - HRT / Menopause
Reducing Cardiovascular Disease (Cardioprotective)
Inhibits Cancer Growth
Restoration of Vaginal Integrity
Restoration of Hair Color
Improves Oxidative Stress
Increases Long Term and Short-term Memory
Reverses Signs of Aging
I have now sourced a good supply in Thailand, where it is grown agriculturally. For me, this is important. The last thing we want as this plant becomes more widely known is hunters tromping around in the wild forest, decimating natural plant growth and reducing the available Pueraria plants.
It makes sense to grow it in a controlled hot-house environment.
Pueraria expert Dr Sandy Schwartz’s (yes, THAT Dr. Schwartz) recommendation is as follows: 2 - 10 mg per kilogram daily. For an average-sized woman, that translates to doses of 100 mg to 500 mgs/day daily, following our current recommended schedule of the 8th day from the start of the monthly menstrual cycle to the 21st day.
Start off with one 250 mg capsule daily. Increase to 2 capsules a day if you need to. You can take more but only if prescribed by a competent physician (and I do mean someone who knows and understands this herb).
Men and post-menopausal women do not need to cycle, of course.
Fisetin on its own, it turns out, has limited absorption capability. That means it needs coupling with something else, to make it more bioavailable.
That “something” is quercetin, a powerful antioxidant in its own right! In fact, taken at the right dose, quercetin is an all-round good guy, with powerful anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-Alzheimer’s properties. It can also help reduce blood pressure and mitigate allergic reactions.
Quercetin, named after the Latin word for oak (quercus), is a plant flavonol from the flavonoid group of polyphenols. It is found in many fruits, vegetables, leaves, seeds, and grains; capers, red onions, and kale are common foods containing appreciable amounts of it.
Test tube studies show that quercetin prevents damage from LDL cholesterol, and population studies show that people who eat diets high in flavonoids have lower cholesterol. One study found that people who took quercetin and an alcohol-free red wine extract (which contains quercetin) had less damage from LDL cholesterol.
Another study found that quercetin reduced LDL concentrations in overweight subjects who were at high risk of heart disease.
Animal and test tube studies suggest that flavonoids have anti-cancer properties. According to the Mt Sinai website, orthodox medicine even accepts that quercetin may have some anti-cancer properties! Scientists have long considered quercetin, and other flavonoids contained in fruits and vegetables, important in cancer prevention. People who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to have lower risk of certain types of cancer. Quercetin and other flavonoids have been shown in these studies to inhibit the growth of cancer cells from breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, endometrial, and lung tumors. One study even suggests that quercetin is more effective than resveratrol in terms of inhibiting tumor growth.6
My interest in it is that it acts as an adjunct nutrient, bringing more good stuff to the tissues, such as fisetin.