Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Botanical Products Act Like Estrogen In Animals, Finds University Of Pittsburgh Team

Date:
April 13, 1999
Source:
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Summary:
A University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh VA Medical Center team has provided new evidence that certain botanical products act like estrogen in animals. The findings indicate how these agents may work to relieve menopausal symptoms but suggest their potential danger for women who should not take estrogen.

PITTSBURGH, April 11 -- A University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh VA Medical Center team has provided new evidence that certain botanical products act like estrogen in animals. The findings indicate how these agents may work to relieve menopausal symptoms but suggest their potential danger for women who should not take estrogen. The scientists are reporting their findings April 11 at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Philadelphia.

"Of the plant products we examined, we found that vitex, dang gui, American ginseng and cohosh produced estrogen-like effects in animals," remarked Patricia Eagon, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and principal investigator on the study. "These findings confirm reports that these plants relieve menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes. However, we still need to conduct further pre-clinical tests with these substances to study their long-term effects and to ensure that they are safe to use."

"Our results should signal a strong note of caution to women who want to relieve menopausal symptoms but who have a family or personal history of breast or uterine cancer," added Dr. Eagon. Estrogen is known to fuel the growth of these cancers.

Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate these botanical products, many women who should not take them could end up using them, remarked Dr. Eagon. Moreover, overuse of these remedies or impurities in the products can lead to liver problems and blood clotting disorders, she added.

The Pittsburgh research team found that extracts of vitex, dang gui, American ginseng and cohosh bound directly to estrogen receptors, just as natural estrogen would. The investigators next tested these compounds in rats whose ovaries were removed so they could not produce significant levels of natural estrogen. After 30 days of treatment, the researchers found that the uterus in each rat grew heavier, an indication that this organ had an estrogen-like response to the extracts. In addition, the scientists found that blood levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) decreased in these animals. Produced by the pituitary, LH triggers other organs to make estrogen. Naturally high levels of estrogen turn off LH production. In the treated animals, the plant extracts similarly reduced LH production, according to the investigators.

"It appears as though these extracts work through several biological pathways," added Dr. Eagon.

Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to relieve various gynecological symptoms, including absent periods, painful periods and symptoms of menopause. Vitex, or chaste berry, is a Mediterranean plant traditionally used to relieve menopausal symptoms. Dang gui and ginseng are traditional Chinese remedies for a variety of gynecological problems. Cohosh is a traditional American Indian cure for menstrual pain and menopausal discomfort. Black cohosh has been shown to relieve hot flashes in European clinical trials.

Dr. Eagon's research is supported by a breast cancer research grant from the U.S. Army.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Botanical Products Act Like Estrogen In Animals, Finds University Of Pittsburgh Team." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990413064628.htm>.
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (1999, April 13). Botanical Products Act Like Estrogen In Animals, Finds University Of Pittsburgh Team. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990413064628.htm
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Botanical Products Act Like Estrogen In Animals, Finds University Of Pittsburgh Team." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990413064628.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins