Estrogenicity of Medicinal Botanicals.
Annual rept. 1 Jun 97-31 May 98
VETERANS RESEARCH FOUNDATION OF PITTSBURGH PA
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Medicinal botanicals PLANT EXTRACTS have been used for centuries to relieve various gynecological symptoms, and are of increasing interest to those seeking alternative health care and self-treatment. However, women who have or are at risk for breast cancer pose a particular problem when using such materials, since little is known about their safety, potency, and hormonal properties. We tested extracts for estrogenic potency using several different criteria. In an in vitro competitive estrogen receptor ER binding assay, significant estrogenicity was observed with dang gui, licorice, blue and black cohosh, vitex and hops extracts. In an in vitro assay for ER-mediated transactivation, licorice, hops, and dang gui induced reporter gene expression in a dose-dependent manner. Some extracts were tested further for estrogenicity in vivo in ovariectomized female rats.Vitex, dang gui, and cohosh resulted in uterine weight increases. Serum LH levels were also quantitated to evaluate hypothalamicpituitary response LH levels were decreased by hops, vitex and cohosh. These studies verify that certain medicinal botanicals demonstrate measurable and significant estrogenic activities in several assays. The estrogenicity of such extracts may be clinically useful conversely, these herbs might be avoided in conditions in which estrogens are contraindicated.
- Medicine and Medical Research