See the peer-reviewed article summary below of Dr. Zava's research. Note that
estrogen-like effects can occur in the tissue --without a measurable effect
in the blood. Some women have taken licorice and other herbs as an HRT
"substitute" and wound up with spotting and breast cysts.
I guess herbs can
be very unpredictable. --Lynne (knowledgeable patient/activist)
Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1998 Mar;217(3):369-78
Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices.
by Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M
Aeron Biotechnology, San Leandro, California 94577, USA.
In this study we report on the content and bioactivity of plant (phyto)
estrogens and progestins in various foods, herbs, and spices, before and
after human consumption.
Over 150 herbs traditionally used by herbalists for
treating a variety of health problems were extracted and tested for their
relative capacity to compete with estradiol and progesterone binding to
intracellular receptors for progesterone (PR) and estradiol (ER) in intact
human breast cancer cells.
The six highest ER-binding herbs that are commonly
consumed were soy, licorice, red clover, thyme, tumeric, hops, and verbena.
The six highest PR-binding herbs and spices commonly consumed were oregano,
verbena, tumeric, thyme, red clover and damiana.
Some of the herbs and spices
found to contain high phytoestrogens and phytoprogestins were further tested
for bioactivity based on their ability to regulate cell growth rate in ER (+)
and ER (-) breast cancer cell lines and to induce or inhibit the synthesis of
alkaline phosphatase, an end product of progesterone action, in PR (+) cells.
In general, we found that ER-binding herbal extracts were agonists, much like
estradiol, whereas PR-binding extracts, were neutral or antagonists.
The bioavailability of phytoestrogens and phytoprogestins in vivo were
studied by quantitating the ER-binding and PR-binding capacity of saliva
following consumption of soy milk, exogenous progesterone,
medroxyprogesterone acetate, or wild mexican yam products containing
Soy milk caused a dramatic increase in saliva ER-binding
components without a concomitant rise in estradiol.
Consumption of PR-binding
herbs increased the progestin activity of saliva, but there were marked
differences in bioactivity. In summary, we have demonstrated that many of the
commonly consumed foods, herbs, and spices contain phytoestrogens and
phytoprogestins that act as agonists and antagonists in vivo.
For a complete look at this paper see: http://www.cancersupportivecare.com/estrogenherb.html
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