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Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2008 Jan;25(1):75-82. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2007.09.002. Epub 2007 Sep 14.

Screening of estrogenic and antiestrogenic activities from medicinal plants.

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Department of Radiation Biology, Environment Radiation Research Group, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.


The medicinal plant extracts commercially used in Asia were screened for their estrogenic and antiestrogenic activities in a recombinant yeast system featuring both a human estrogen receptor (ER) expression plasmid and a reporter plasmid. Pueraria lobata (flower) had the highest estrogenic relative potency (RP, 7.75×10(-3); RP of 17β-estradiol=1), followed by Amomum xanthioides (1.25×10(-3)). Next potent were a group consisting of Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Zingiber officinale, Rheum undulatum, Curcuma aromatica, Eriobotrya japonica, Sophora flavescens, Anemarrhena asphodeloides, Polygonum multiflorum, and Pueraria lobata (root) (ranging from 9.5×10(-4) to 1.0×10(-4)). Least potent were Prunus persica, Lycoppus lucidus, and Adenophora stricta (ranging from 9.0×10(-5) to 8.0×10(-5)). The extracts exerting antiestrogenic effects, Cinnamomum cassia and Prunus persica, had relative potencies of 1.14×10(-3) and 7.4×10(-4), respectively (RP of tamoxifen=1). The solvent fractions from selected estrogenic or antiestrogenic herbs had higher estrogenic relative potencies, with their RP ranging from 9.3×10(-1) to 2.7×10(-4) and from 8.2×10(-1) to 9.1×10(-3), respectively. These results support previous reports on the efficacy of Oriental medicinal plants used or not used as phytoestrogens for hormone replacement therapy.


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