Marys Medicine


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Hormone-Regulating Herbs and Phytoestrogens
Adapted from Women's Herbs, Women's Health Christopher Hobbs L.Ac. and Kathi Kevil e German BGA, (the German equivalent of the FDA), says black cohosh has no Dr. Lois Johnson, MD from Northern contraindications, and only a few side California has a busy practice and works a effects like occasional gastric discomfort lot with women who have hormonal (Blumenthal, 1998). imbalances. She gives only about a quarter of her post menopausal patients HRT. She It appears that black cohosh affects successfully treats the rest who complain of hormone balance in complex ways, and menopausal symptoms with natural several hormonally-active compounds have therapies, primarily herbs. She only been identified. In laboratory tests, one set prescribes hormones if patients' symptoms of compounds could inhibit LH production are so severe that herbs do not control but had no estrogenic activity; another did them; if there is a high risk of osteoporosis show estrogenic activity and also or heart disease, since both are potentially suppressed LH; stil another fraction had life threatening; or it is the woman's choice. estrogenic activity but did not affect LH Johnson prefers hormonal creams because (Düker et al. 1991). they bypass the liver. Black cohosh inhibits LH, but unlike Here is a review of the most popular estrogen, does not affect the levels of hormone-regulating herbs, including the two prolactin and FSH. In a study from the most-studied, vitex and black cohosh. University of Gottingen's Department of Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology in Germany, over 100 menopausal women Preparations of black cohosh, such with high levels of LH had the hormone and as Cimicifuga-Pentakran, are commonly their hot flashes diminish after taking prescribed by European doctors and sold in Remifemin (equivalent to 8 mg of black drug stores there to reduce hot flashes and cohosh extract) for two months. In addition, help ameliorate other unpleasant symptoms black cohosh had a similar effect on the that can happen during menopause such as vaginal wal as estrogen, which might make depression. Black cohosh was it useful for counteracting vaginal wall recommended by the Eclectic doctors in the atrophy years after menopause (Düker et al. early part of this century for many women's 1991). Four additional controlled clinical hormonally-related problems, including the studies were performed in Germany from 1985 to 1995 that looked at the clinical effects of black cohosh on hormonal *Prolapse or weakness of the uterus regulation. The herb showed a protective *Painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) effect against the stimulation of cellular *Sluggish, suppressed, or stopped menses proliferation of breast cells by estrogen, indicating that it is safe to take for women *Vaginal yeast infections who are at risk for breast cancer, or who already have the disease (Schulz et al, *Nervous system excitability associated with menses or hormonal swings Studies also found black cohosh as helpful in reducing stress-related (Taken from Felter & Lloyd, 1898) menopausal problems as the sedative Valium. In a German study, even when The number of women in Germany who Remifemin was given to women under the have used a black cohosh product called age of forty who had hysterectomies, it stil Remifemin since 1956 is now estimated to reduced their menopausal symptoms as be over an impressive 1.5 mil ion. There long as they stil had at least one ovary, have been so few reported side effects, the proving equally as effective as estrogen (Lehmann-Wil enbrock & Riedel, 1988). Vitex was shown to be as effective Black cohosh is widely available in as synthetic hormones in treating various tablet and tincture form. Take about 2-4 cyclic disorders, including amenorrhea, and droppers of the liquid tincture, several times exhibited fewer side effects. A drawback of daily. Three or four tablets can be used the drug was that it caused bleeding to start according to the instructions on the product without causing the hormonal changes you choose. We have found this herb to be needed for a complete cure. Vitex was used highly effective for many women and is a for six months by the nearly 2500 women good bet as a first choice instead of involved in the study (Loch and Kaiser, estrogen-replacement. It is often blended with vitex in commercial products. In a review of a study involving more than 1,000 women suffering from various disorders, such as PMS, uterine bleeding, Vitex is a sensible and proven polymenorrhea, and menopausal problems, alternative to hormone replacement therapy.
doctors found favorable results using vitex Vitex not only increases progesterone but vs synthetic hormones. The doctors were normalizes the estrogen/progesterone ratio, quoted as saying, "We think it is appropriate apparently through its action on the pituitary. to draw attention to this ancient and entirely In fact, it so effective in hormonal balancing harmless remedy" (Attelmann and Bends, that a German doctor, Gerhard Madaus, who studied vitex extensively and developed A study was recently conducted in a patent medicine from it, advises not taking Germany that compared the effectiveness of vitex with progesterone-containing vitex with that of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) in medicines, such as birth control pil s, treating PMS symptoms. After three because it may interfere with their activity menstrual cycles, 77.1% of the women (Madaus & Co., 1994). The herb is thought taking vitex reported improvements, to regulate progesterone through its effect compared with 60.6% of the women taking on the hypothalamus and pituitary. The pyridoxine. While both treatments were pituitary sends chemical signals to other effective, the vitex group showed "a glands, such as the ovaries and telling them considerably more marked alleviation of how much of a particular hormone to make. typical (PMS) complaints, such as breast For example, if there is too much estrogen in tenderness, edema, inner tension, the blood, the pituitary detects these headache, constipation, and depression" increased levels from sensors in other parts (Lauritzen, et al, 1997). of the body and tell the ovaries to make less, so that the amount of estrogen in the blood then drops to normal levels. Phytoestrogens are compounds from plants that have a mild estrogenic activity in the Summary of Conditions Treated body (Knight & Eden, 1996). These useful Successfully with Vitex natural hormone regulators are already in our diet—they occur in beans, seeds, fats, *Premenopausal symptoms (Amman, 1974) and other foods. Most women from North *Menstrual bleeding disorders such as America only get about 5 grams a day of amenorrhea and hypermenorrhea (Loch, phytoestrogens, while Asian women get an estimated 30 to 100 mg a day (Wilcox et al, *Symptoms of PMS (depression, breast 1995; Coward et al, 1993). Japanese tenderness, headaches) (Feldmann, 1996) women get up to 200 mg a day (Cassidy et *Fibrocystic disease (Kubista, 1986) al, 1994). Studies that look at large *Corpus luteum insufficiency (Feldmann, population of women to see how their diet affects health and longevity are saying that *Insufficient milk flow in nursing mothers this appears to be a major factor in the easy menopause that many Asian women report. *Menstrual cycle irregularities due to For instance, the incidence of hot flashes is previous progesterone therapy (Brantner, the most common symptom that can happen during menopause for many western women, occurring in from 70-80% of Lignans have less definitive research on European women (Rekers, 1991), but only them than isoflavones. We do know that an estimated 18% of Chinese women and these compounds are broken down in the 14% of women in Singapore (Tang, 1994; gut and transformed by intestinal microflora Boulet et al, 1994). In the U.S. up to 58% of to produce two major compounds, women going through monopause report enterolactone and enerodiol. Lignan them, and up to half of women who come to phytoestrogens have shown a supportive clinics have them longer than 5 years effect on the vaginal wall tissue of (Greendale & Judd, 1995). Scientists say postmenopausal women, though this has the substantial differences in dietary habits not yet been confirmed by other studies might be a major factor. Other diseases like (Wilcox et al, 1990). Lignans have been heart disease and osteoporosis might be associated with a protective effect against prevented or benefitted by increasing the hormone-related diseases,such as cancer of intake of phytoestrogens in the diet, in a the breast and prostate. Whole grains similar way that pharmaceutical estrogen contain mammalian lignan precursors, as supplementation does, but with one major well as the antioxidants vitamin E and difference. Phytoestrogens don't increase selenium. These substances may explain the risk of developing endometrial and the reduced risk of cancer and coronary breast cancer; they reduce the risk (Knight & heart disease associated with intake of high- fiber diets containing whole grains. Because they are more associated with the fiber in Four main plant constituent groups have the outer layers of the grain, whole grain estrogenic activity, though only lignans and foods are preferred over refined grains isoflavones have shown definite human (Thompson, 1994). Flax seed meal is the estrogenic activity: highest natural source of these compounds • lignans found in oil seeds, whole grains by far. Eating a tablespoon or two of ground and bran, vegetables, legumes, and fruits flax seed on your cereal in the morning • isoflavones like genistein and daidzein might help reduce hot flashes and support a that occur in most beans, for instance soy symptom-free and easy menopause. products and garbanzos, but also in herbs Most research today on phytoestrogens like red clover and the Chinese herbs focuses on isoflavones in soy. The soy psoralea and kudzu growers and manufacturers seem to be • coumestans like coumestrol found in more excited about their product than the alfalfa and some clovers (Trifolium spp.) • resorcyclic acid lactones like zearalenone The major isoflavones are genistein, found in some fungi (Fusarium spp.) daidzein, formononetin, and biochanin. Genistein is the most widely-studied Some of the the phytoestrogens are isoflavone and may be the most active, with estimated to be only about two percent as daidzein second. The last two are not as strong as estrogen, yet at the high levels active but fortunately are broken down in the they can occur in the body, they can human gut, being transformed to genistein produce significant estrogenic effects and daidzein (Kelly et al, 1998). (Kaldas & Hughes, 1989). Phytoestrogens, When we say that isoflavones have mild unlike estradiol and other human estrogens, estrogenic effects, this doesn't tell the whole are not bound by carrier proteins in the body story. These compounds can also affect the and continue to circulate in the "free" form. way estrogen works in the body. They can This may make them much more available influence how much estradiol is to our estrogen-sensitive tissue. manufactured in our bodies, how it is broken down, and to what extent other estrogen-like Isoflavones and lignans are probably the compounds like estrone promote the most important classes of phytoestrogens in production of estrogen carrier proteins in the the human diet and in herbal products. The liver (Kelly et al, 1998). These carriers question is, how to get more of them into our determine how much estrogen actually diet, or supplement with them to achieve the reaches our tissues and has an effect before same levels of Asian women? it is broken down. Though this seems complicated, just remember that phytoestrogens, unlike our Chocolate-Soy Smoothie own estrogen, can act as estrogen buffers. If 1/3 cup of soy protein powder (available in there is too much estrogen bombarding most natural food stores) estrogen-sensitive tissue, for instance in the 2-3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa breast, then phytoestrogens like genistein can take up estrogen sites and partially 1 teaspoon of honey, or stevia leaf powder block the overstimulation. They may also to taste for sweetness help reduce excessively high levels of our own estrogen, which has been linked with 2 cups of soy milk, or 1 cup soy and 1 cup the development of some cancers, mood swings, and PMS. If we are not producing ! teaspoon of vanil a extract if desired for enough estrogen for our body's needs, the phytoestrogens can take up the slack, gently stimulating the tissues and sites that need it. Add the ingredients to the blender and blend on high speed until creamy-smooth. You can We know that isoflavones have other add more or less liquid to adjust the biological effects besides their estrogenic thickness of the shake. A one-cup serving action. They are strong antioxidants and are should give you at least 40 mg of known to inhibit LDL cholesterol oxidation, isoflavones, mostly genistein. The chocolate protecting our vessels. They also show a contains polyphenols that have strong wide range of other protective effects on the antioxidant effects and only a bit of the cardiovascular system, like reduction of stimulant alkaloid theobromine (the caffeine abnormal clotting, opening blood vessels to content is very smal ). allow more blood to flow, and other effects. Plus they promote calcium ion storage in The Evidence: Science and Phytoestrogens cells and have been shown to help maintain One big question about phytoestrogens and bone density in animal studies. Both of isoflavones is being answered through these effects may be valuable for women clinical trials around the world. This question after menopause or for women who do not is can phytoestrogens provide the same have their ovaries, offering possible health and protective benefits as estrogen- protection against heart disease, bone loss, replacement therapy, without the risks? and osteoporosis. Isoflavones have shown Although we don't have the definitive answer strong effects in slowing the growth of to this question yet, the clinical sudies that various human cancer cel s in vitro (Kelly et have been done are starting to add up, and these preliminary results look promising. The epidemiological, or population studies, Soy beans contain good amounts of with women in countries like Japan who do isoflavones and other phytoestrogens, the get a lot of phytoestrogens in their diet, highest amounts being found in tofu and make a strong case for adding more tempeh, and lesser amounts in soy drinks. phytoestrogens to your diet now. Some soy-based baby's formulas did not Substituting soy products for meat in your contain them (Dwyer et al, 1994). For daily diet wil not lead to protein deficiency maximum phytoestrogen protection, we when accompanied with a balanced recommend that you add soy or other beans vegetarian diet, according to current to your daily diet. Since it is difficult to eat research (Gausseres, 1996). Asian women soy or beans several times daily, as is often have a lower incidence of osteoporosis the case in Asia, you can purchase a (Cooper et al, 1992) and hip fractures (WHO number of products that contain soy and red Study Group, 1994) than women in the west. clover products standardized to genistein Coronary heart disease, as well as cancers and isoflavones. Here's a great way to get of the breast, colon, prostate, uterus, and your soy: have a Chocolate-Soy Smoothie— ovaries occur less often among Asian it's actually good for you. The drink should women and men than in the western contain only about 1 gram of saturated fat industrialized countries (Rose et al, 1986). (4% of recommended allowance). Here's to Japanese women and men have the lowest incidence of estrogen-related cancer (Parkin, 1989), and women in Japan often significantly better bone density than those have a better outcome after developing taking the milk powder (Erdman et al, 1996) breast cancer than western women, independent of the severity (Cohen et al. Side effects and contraindications 1993). Asians who move to the west and Because these compounds are a regular maintain a traditional diet do not develop an part of the diet in many women throughout increased risk (Kolonel, 1988), but the risk is the world, safety is not a big issue. Changes increased with the adoption of a more in the length of the menstrual cycle have refined western diet (Lee et al, 1991). Soy been observed in women who were on a intake is also associated with a lower diet with substantial amounts of soy (Baird incidence of rectal cancer (Messina et al, et al, 1995). Supplementing with isoflavone- 1994). As far as heart disease goes, a rich products without all the other natural co- number of studies support soy for a healthy factors that are found in the parent foods heart (Carroll, 1991). Three servings of soy that contain them might be different with products a day can significantly reduce your long-term use; it is too early to say. Some total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and researchers recommend limiting isoflavone triglyceride levels (Anderson et al, 1995). input when you are already taking reproductive hormone supplementation like Here is a summary of some of the recent estrogen or testosterone. Avoid high doses clinical studies that have been done. of isoflavone-containing products during pregnancy and lactation. Isoflavones have • Reduction of hot flashes in
been shown to go through mother's milk, but perimenopausal women—increasing levels
this should not be a problem if the of isoflavones in the urine of the women isoflavones are ingested as part of the strongly correlated with a reduction in normal diet, or if supplementation with symptoms (Kelly et al, 1998); hot flashes tablets is at or below a level normally found were reduced by 40% in a group of 58 in the normal human diet of Asian cultures menopausal women who received soy flour (Kelly et al, 1998). instead of wheat flour (Murkies et al, 1996); another double-blind cross-over study with Though the soy promoters have 20 women showed that growth hormone and done more of their homework on the prolactin were significantly increased after 2 beneficial effects of their product, other months, with LH decreased; hot flashes foods and herbs contain even more of the occured less often than in a placebo group isoflavones. And what the soy manufactuers (Harding et al, 1996) don't tell us is that soy has more fat than • Improved blood cholesterol levels
other phytosteroid-rich beans. While Increased levels of HDL cholesterol of 18% manufacturers are providing tiny tablets to with about 40 mg of isoflavone give us our daily phytoestrogens, why not supplementation (from red clover extract), get them out of bean soup or burritos? Jim but this benefit was lost with 160 mg a day Duke, Ph.D., an internationally-respected dose (Kelly et al, 1998); an analysis (meta- researcher of the medicinal properties of analysis) of available studies on how soy foods and herbs, author of Green Pharmacy, affects blood cholesterol and triglyceride and former botanist for the USDA, put it levels shows a clear benefit for lowering best: "If you enjoy other beans more than total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and soybeans and eat twice as many you might triglycerides, while raising HDL levels get almost twice as much genistein. I'd (Anderson et al, 1995); similar benefits were rather enjoy my medicine." Dr. Duke seen in a second group of women taking soy emphasizes that black beans and other powder with isoflavones, and the HDL/LDL American beans might be as good or better ratio was improved (Potter et al, 1996) than soy for getting our phytoestrogens, with • Improved bone density—66 post-
less fat. Remember too that soy is a big menopausal women took either 40 grams of business mega-crop in the U.S. and other soy protein with between 56 and 90 mg of parts of the world. We feel cautious about total isoflavones a day or nonfat dry milk the latest agricultural developements in powder; after 6 months, the soy group had genetic engineering. Monsanto has patented a number of genetic types and has even gotten farmers from India and other parts of programmed to resist the ravages of the the world to sign contracts that prevent them potent herbicide Roundup. The weeds die, from saving their seeds for the next crop—a and the soy just keeps on growing. practice that has been carried on in traditional agriculture for probably thousands Here is a table listing some of the major of years. Some soy growers are using sources of phytoestrogens in foods and "Roundup-ready" soybeans in their fields. medicine compiled by Dr. Duke. These abberations are genetically-
Table 1 Content of Isoflavones in beans
Genistein (ppms)
Daidzein (ppms)
Grams to Provide
70 mg Isoflavonoids
Psoralea corylifolia Yellow split pea Black turtle beans Large lima beans Red kidney beans SOYBEANS
Great northern beans SOURCE: Kaufman & Duke et al, 1997. *Hibiscus flowers refreshing bright red Herbs with reported phytoestrogenic activity tea used for cooling include the following (other main uses and actions of the herbs are also listed to help choose the right herb for your needs): traditional herb is blood purifier for used to treat aching ailments like acne, reported to help reported to lower highly nutritious herbal supplement problematic weed with high mineral and vitamin content; southeastern United *A note of thanks to David Knight and John traditionally used to Eden for their worthwhile article "A Review flavor beer and ale; of the Clinical Effects of Phytoestrogens," promotes relaxation from which some of our information was
Human Hormones in Plants

Women of North Africa were familiar for many steroid hormones. According to with this herb long ago. They finely ground Traditional Chinese Mediicne, the liver the pits of the date palm pits and added regulates the blood (which carries the them to their husbands' meals before they hormones), creates hormone carrier went out on camel caravans to assure that proteins, and is an important organ for they would be faithful. Does it work? harmonizing the emotions. Perhaps. Date pits are high in the human During her years of fertility, a estrogen called estrone that might lower woman's hormone levels rise and fall testosterone and the men's sex drive along according to her monthly cycle. Where do excess hormones go when the body is True human estrogens are rare in plants, finished with them so they don't build up to except for a few exceptions—pomegranate unhealthy levels? It is the liver that breaks seeds, date seeds, and wil ow buds, which them down and detoxifies them. Estrone is all contain estrone. converted in the liver into estriol and also Estrogenic compounds in pomegranate excreted in the urine. Estrone and estradiol seeds may be responsible for their ancient are forms of estrogen that can overstimulate reputation as a women's aphrodisiac and a estrogen receptors and strongly stimulate fertility symbol. breast and uterine tissue, promoting Although products are not available yet that excessive cell growth in these areas. Large contain these herbal extracts, the raw amounts can ven be carcinogenic. On the materials are available. Date seeds are a other hand, the more beneficial estrogen, by-product of the date industry, called estriol, is a lighter tissue stimulant and pomegranates are easy to grow at home, may act as an anticarcinogen. Estriol's and wil ows grow all over the world. primary action is the vaginal walls, while The pomegranate seeds can be harvested estradiol is more concerned with the uterine from the fruit after the juice pulp is juiced or lining. When estriol is present, it hooks on to eaten. Dry the seeds, powder them in a a receptor and blocks estrone and estradiol coffee grinder, and pack them into double- from seettling in and affecting the breast and ought ("00") caps. Take 3 or 4 twice daily as uterus. Instead, they keep circulating in the a mild estrogen supplement. Date seeds are blood and are detoxified when the blood difficult to grind because they are fibrous, so moves through the liver. This conversion is freeze them first and then grid in the blender enhanced during breastfeeding and also until powdered. Be careful you don't wear during pregnancy because it gets help from out the blender—the seeds are very tough. the fetus' liver (Lemon, 1980; Tzingounis et Wil ow buds should be harvested in the very al, 1978). The liver enzymes P450 and early spring before the leaves sprout. They glutathione destroy up to 80 percent of can be tinctured in pure ethanol (190 proof), excess estrogen. available from several mail-order alcohol Here is a sampling of important liver companies. See the Resource Section for herbs that can help you achieve better more details. The dose is ! to 1 tsp in a little hormone balance and reduce symptoms. water, several times daily. • Liver protectors and rebuilders include milk thistle, shisandra, ginger, turmeric, and Liver Herbs: Important for Hormone
artichoke leaf extracts; cook with ginger and Any herbalist wil tell you that liver • Liver cleansers, including dandelion root, herbs often improve even hard-to-treat lemon juice, yellow dock root, burdock root, women's health problems like PMS. They and boldo, can help the liver do its job better neutralize liver toxins, reduce and repair • Antioxidants for the liver like milk thistle liver damage, act as antioxidants, increase and grape seed extract prevent damage by beneficial liver enzymes, and generally eliminating damaging free-radicals make the liver operate more efficiently. The liver has several important functions in helping to maintain a healthy hormone 3 Teaspoons Burdock balance in the body. The liver must process 1 Teaspoon Dandelion Root hormones and create bile, the raw material 1/2 Teaspoon each Schisandra Berries hormone called androstenedione into Combine ingredients and simmer water a couple minutes. Turn down heat and let Beneficial Gut Bacteria
steep about 15 minutes. Strain and drink at least two cups a day. Acidophilus works in two ways to keep estrogen at a healthy level. It promotes Liver-Supportive Supplements beneficial B-vitamins and inhibits an Nutritional supplements play a role in liver intestinal bacterial enzyme (beta- health. Even an unhealthy liver stil converts glucoronidase) that breaks down estrogen. about half of the estrogen it needs to Since high levels of estrogen deplete the process to a less toxic form, providing liver- "anti-stress" B vitamins, they also increase supporting nutrients like the B vitamins, the need for them, especially vitamin B6. sufficient protein, vitamin E and C can Iodine and magnesium work with B6 to keep increase its health and efficiency. Xx fix this estrogen levels low. sentence Choline (1000 mg), inositol (500 mg), and the amino acid methionine also help the liver convert and emulsify not only fat itself, but fat soluble hormones like estrogen. You can get this amount in 4-5 tablespoons of lecithin. Healthy Habits for Liver Health One of the best things to do for your liver is to always keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. If you do over-indulge once in awhile, ginseng can help lower the alcohol level in the blood in forty minutes, according to research on alcohol-lowering enzymes done by the Korean Ginseng & Tobacco Research Institute. The GLA in evening primrose oil and borage seed oil may prevent poisoning and depression from alcohol, hangovers, and alcohol withdrawal and stop alcohol from damaging brain cells, according to researcher Dr. Brian Leonard, Ph.d. at the University College in Galway, Ireland (Leonard, 1984).
Diet and Dietary Supplements for Hormone Ways to keep estrogen excess at bay are to stay trim and avoid fat, alcohol, excessive amounts of stress, chronic pain, sugar, marijuana--all of these might cause estrogen to surge and progesterone to drop. Since estrogen is stored in fat cells, a fatty diet and excess body fat increase your ability to manufacture and store it. Dairy products and meat from animals that were fed estrogen- like compounds to fatten them add an extra dose. Fat also turns an otherwise inactive Hormone Replacement
are up to 1,000 x more potent!" Therapy and Natural
Some pesticide product labels say "Wait until it's dry, then your children can play on the lawn." • Accumulative effect over time is Christopher Hobbs L.Ac., A.H.G. important. For instance, it is known that soy products contain certain isoflavones that can act as a regulator of estrogen. Sexual hormones have a • The health of the liver is pervasive effect on our mental, important for detoxifying emotional and physical function. estrogen-like substances. They regulate sexual maturity and function as well as physical 1. USE OF ESTROGEN in development, and they also act as neurotransmitters and can affect • Estrogen can effectively reduce mood, mental and emotional undesirable symptoms that can come up during menopuse and Such common symptoms as those associated with the depression, insomnia, and anxiety menstrual cycle (PMS), including can be associated with sexual psychological symptoms. • Estrogen is considered effective in the prevention of such diseases as osteoporosis, • Stress, diet, pesticides and herbicides, electromagnetic atherosclerotic cardiovascular radiation, and other factors can disease, urogenital atropy. affect hormone levels • In some cases, helps with depression and anxiety • Often effective for reversing • Scary article in latest Earth Island Journal (Fall 1996): In late July, vaginal dryness and endothelial SF newspapers reported that the Bay Area had the highest • Women are even asking for it to inidence of female breast cancer: reverse the ageing process, and On June 9, (SF Examiner) to help keep a youthful reported that over the last 10 years, "the city has dumped at least 10,000 pounds and 775 Disease prevention and in the
gallons of powerful pesticides on treatment of
parks and golf courses." Including chordane and toxaphene, which *Atherosclerotic cardiovascular are known to act as exogenous estrogens, and interfere with the *Urogenital atropy function of human estrogen. In *Vaginal atropy, dryness the June issue of Science, researchers report that some pesticides when mixed together THE LIVER's ROLE IN HORMONE
both endogenous and exogenous estrogen. *The liver breaks down ESTRADIOL *Phytoestrogens are present in (most potent form of estrogen-- whole grains, seeds, and beans 12x more potent) to ESTRONE *The liver manufactures estrogen PHARMACEUTICAL SOURCES of
and creates bile salts that act as precursors to estrogen *Premarin is the most frequently *ESTRONE is found naturally in prescribed estrogen Salix, Pinus, Dactyifera and replacement drug. It is not natural to the human body but *The over-use of alcohol, fat, or is a combination of substances sugar can impair the liver's having estrogenic activity, with function and its ability to most of the compounds being metabolize hormones and aid in foreign to the human female their deactivation and clearance and not made by a human *The 3 main estrogens are estradiol, estrone, and estriol. CONSIDERATIONS: LIVING IN A
*Products that contain them include SEA OF ESTROGEN
Estrace, Ogen, Estraderm Common Xenoestrogens; Factor in patch, or Estradiol Pellets. increased incidence of breast *Benefit of patches and creams over oral application is the avoidance *Pesticides, herbicides of first pass metabolism in the *Electromagnetic radiation liver and thus partial or complete deactivation *PCBs from Plastics *Safety concerns and long-term side effects are well documented by DIETARY INFLUENCE ON
hundreds of clinical studies and ESTROGEN
trials by pharmaceutical *Lack of B vitamins adversely affects companies. Most recent studies estrogen metabolism have shown about a 10%/year *Estrogen metabolites travel in the increase of risk of breast cancer bile to the intestines and are with estrogen supplementation. broken down by micoflora * Commonly reported side effects: *Diet high in SOLUBLE FIBER is nausea, breast tenderness, and protective--fibers can bind with retention of sodium and water estrogen metabolites which may irritate cardiac and *Diet high in FAT can increase kidney function. More extreme, estrogen stimulation of though less common, ones estrogen-sensitive tissue include impairment of ovaries, *Obesity can be a factor in hormone formation of cysts, related imbalances, because fat cells emotional changes and are known to be repositories of depression, weight gain, cancer, and various sexual • Tonification: rules of tonics:
disorders (Bends, 1972) (Don't use during acute phase, *Years of continuous treatment may contra for digestive stagnation) permanently damage the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, desensitizing the NATURAL HORMONE
receptors crucial for hormone REGULATION: HERBS
regulation (Probst, 1954). *Many synthetic estrogens are more potent and have a greater *Note: Dang Gui is not estrogenic binding affinity for estrogen and progesterone receptors. Summary of Herbal Treatment for
*In addition, some of the drugs may Conditions Related to Hormone
target tissues and organs that Imbalance
are not normally acted upon by Herbs with clinical, scientific, and the natural hormones. The liver, historical use for hormone- the organ responsible for breaking down and recycling the body's hormones, may have difficulty recognizing and REGULATING HERBS
processing synthetic hormones. Useful for assisting the body to Other possible side effects of maintain proper hormone levels and long term hormone replacement therapy include liver disease and cancer. Unopposed Cimicifuga:
estrogen replacement is a *Contains isoflavones, tetracyclic known risk factor for triperpenes (weak estrogen- endometrial cancer. regulating properties); hypotensive, vasodilator, So, What are the Alternatives?
spasmolytic (also used for LIFESTYLE ISSUES
*110 menopausal women, treated with ethanolic extract, 8 ml/day • Yoga, breathing, abdominal or placebo; after 8 weeks, LH, but not FSH levels were • Diet low in fat and sugar significantly reduced, thus • Organic foods showing a significant estrogenic **MANY SYMPTOMS THAT ARISE
*Animal studies: LH-suppressive DURING MENSTRUAL CYCLE OR
effects [and competes with 17- MENOPAUSE ACTUALLY RELATE
beta estradiol for estrogen TO CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES:
receptor binding sites] DEFICIENCY, LIVER EXCESS, ETC
*Cimicifuga, caused by 3 different synergistically acting compounds • Deficiency/Excess/Stagnation:
(tetracyclic triterpenes) Determine basic type synthetic hormones are void of Table: The Benefits of the Use Of
any history beyond sixty years Vitex In Comparison to HRT
of clinical application. * Vitex acts to increase the supply of progesterone at the problem source (pituitary gland), ACTION TYPES FOR HERBAL
naturally increasing the release of LH from the anterior * The action of Vitex is indirect because the herb is not an *Hormonal tonic herbs
actual hormone. Therefore, (adaptogens): strengthens the
effects of Vitex therapy are mild body's ability to produce
and can occur over an hormones, both sexual, adrenal,
extended period. and neurotransmitters
* Vitex therapy has few side effects, [Kidney tonics in TCM: or KI yin
with as low as 1-2% of cases reporting problems. Alternately, For stress-related issues; fatigue, synthetic hormone therapy may anxiety, depression. produce effects with serious * Vitex is taken orally, while some Panax quinquefolius synthetic hormones require Panax ginseng rectal/vaginal suppositories, topical administration [patches *Herbs rich in estrone (when
can cause skin irritation and are estrogen is deficient)
often inconvenient], or These herbs are known to contain intravenous injection for estrone, but their use is not clinically- * Vitex aids in the production of breast milk. In contrast, Pomagranate seeds progesterone and estrogen Willow buds (female catkins) therapy must be discontinued *ESTRONE is found naturally in during breast-feeding (AMA, Salix, Pinus, Dactylifera and Punica. * Vitex therapy for mild disorders can *Blood tonic herbs
often be terminated several Add when blood deficiency or months after symptoms anemia is possible (symptoms: pale disappear. On the contrary, face, tongue and fatigue). synthetic hormones sometimes require long-term treatment. * Vitex carries the experiences and wisdom of many generations and cultures. Additionally, vitex is supported by modern clinical REGULATING HERBS
trials. On the other hand, *Liver-regulating herbs
Useful additions to hormone- regulating formulas, especially when accompanied with digestive imbalances or skin-related disorders (such as acne). Regulates
emotions, blood
Fringe-tree bark Bupleurum [Xiao Yao Wan]
Hormone-Regulating Herbs
Vitex, black cohosh
*Calmatives; calming herbs
[Heart yin tonics in Chinese
Valerian, California poppy, Linden, Catnip, Chamomile, Reishi

To relax menstrual spasms: Valerian, Cramp Bark, California

To relieve pain: *Corydalis, Roman Chamomile, Jamaican Dogwood. Small dose of 1:10 tincture of belladonna or Gelsemium
*Mood-Regulating Herbs
For balancing neurotransmitter function: Hypericum, Ginkgo, Theobroma, Spirulina (tryptophan) Add: Liver-regulating herbs to Table 2 Overview of Commonly-Recommended Hormonal Herbs

No published scientific proof of hormonal activity, and history of use does
not suggest this effect
helps reduce cramps (antispasmodic) (biliary colic, spasmodic asthma, hiccup; dysmenorrhea to relieve cramps; although advertised by some manufacturers for its progesterone-like properties, this effect has not been proven; "natural progesterone" creams can contain up to 0.5% synthetic progesterone, which need not be mentioned on the label nourishes the blood, tonifies female organs (is not hormonal) helps relieve uterine and intestinal cramps Considered a blood purifier by western herbalists; studies show that its use can increase excretion of nitrogenous waste products from the urine. Contains diosgenin, which has no proven hormonal effects in humans
No published scientific proof of hormonal activity, but history of use

suggests this effect
Blue Cohosh rz. a nourishing, mildly stimulant uterine tonic; relieves pain promotes milk flow, clears the liver Partridge Berry traditionally used to stimulate uterine contractions and help False Unicorn rt. contains phytosterols and is used as a uterine and menstrual- contains phytosterols and is used as a uterine-regulating and parturition herb Red Raspberry lf. taken during pregnancy to gently increase tone of uterus and facilitate birthing traditionally used to stimulate mother's milk (galactagogue), some evidence of estrogenic effect Published Scientific proof of hormonal activity in humans, and history of
use suggests this effect
Saw Palmetto fr. nourishes the female organs, relieves inflammation Black Cohosh rz. warms and stimulates the uterus, relieves pain; relieves hot flashes, regulates estrogen regulates synthesis of sex hormones; helps relieve hormone- related symptoms red Chinese and Korean ginseng are used traditionally to sexual hormone production in men and women over 40 or 50; hormone-like effect noted in animal studies, questionable in humans. traditional use as a birth-control herb suggests hormone-like activity; estrogenic effect in animal studies
Hormonal activity in animals, history of use does not suggest hormonal
estrogenic effect in animals; possible hormonal effects noted
Liver regulators, Hormone regulators, Antispasmodics, Pain-relieving herbs,

Blood tonics, Liver regulators, Hormone tonics Blood tonics, digestive bitters and digestive tonics to enhance assimilation


Neuropsychopharmacology (2003) 28, 694–703 & 2003 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved 0893-133X/03 $25.00 Effect of Agomelatine in the Chronic Mild Stress Model ofDepression in the Rat Mariusz Papp*,1, Piotr Gruca1, Pierre-Alain Boyer2 and Elisabeth Mocae¨r2 Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland; 2Institut de Recherches Internationales Servier, Courbevoie Cedex,


European Drying Conference - EuroDrying'2011 Palma. Balearic Island, Spain, 26-28 October 2011 Influence of Coating and Formulation Variables on the Dissolution Profile of Diltiazem HCl Extended Release Pellets A. Bernardino, A. C. P. Simão, E. T. Katayama, M. B. Bertuzzi, N. S. Maria, M. Nitz1 Mauá Institute of Technology (IMT)