Food & Wine

Thai plant, Pueraria mirifica used in vaginal dryness

Updated: 21 Feb 2009
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Pueraria mirifica


Vaginal dryness is a feeling of dryness or lack of lubrication. This may cause pain with intercourse, chronic vaginal infections, or feelings of tingling or burning.

Changes in the vagina occur in response to a woman's hormonal cycle. Oestrogen causes the vagina to thicken. Blood vessels bring nutrients and oxygen to the vagina. These maintain vaginal flexibility and health. The amount of mucous and vaginal secretions produced is influenced by many factors. These factors include:


- - female hormones

- - exercise and sweating

- - sexual arousal

- - blood vessels and nerves

- - irritants or abnormal bacteria and viruses

- - genital pain, trauma, and stress


A special herb which contains much higher plant-based female sex hormone than soy does shows positive results in alleviating vaginal dryness in postmenopausal women, a new study finds.


The objective was to evaluate the effect of Pueraria mirifica (野葛) on vaginal symptoms, vaginal health index, vaginal pH, and vaginal cytology in healthy postmenopausal women with a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.


Pueraria mirifica is a plant native only to Thailand, although various species of the plant have been found in other Asian countries. It has a local name “White Kwao Krua”. Pueraria mirifica contains high levels of phytoestrogen, or plant-based female hormone estrogen. Because of its high phytoestrogenic levels, Pueraria mirifica has also been advertised as a breast enlarging agent, a claim still waiting to be verified scientifically.


The tuber of Pueraria mirific contains phytoestrogens such as miroestrol, deoxymiroestrol, and coumestans. Miroestrol and deoxymiroestrol are found only in Pueraria mirifica. They are much stronger than soy or red clover isoflavones, and are under investigation for possible use in hormone replacement therapy. 


The results from researchers shows that White Kwao Kreu promote estrogenic and mammogenic effects to various tissues and organs such as uterus, ovary and skin and breast.



Pueraria mirifica capsules used in breast enlargement


Soya and Alfalfa are the eastern and western health food products, respectively, to contain phytoestrogens. But both of them contain lower amount of phytoestrogens especially there is no miroestrol and its derivatives. Their benefit is thus far less than that of Pueraria mirifica.


Researches confirm that these chemicals prevent breast cancer, prostate hyperplasia, colon cancer, osteoporosis and also cardiovascular disease via the potent reduction of blood cholesterol and also anti-menopausal syndrome.


Isoflavones enriched in Pueraria mirifica also supports cardiovascular system, enhances breasts and skin appearance, supports healthy prostate function and healthy bone structure.

In the present study, healthy postmenopausal women, age 45 to 60 years old, were enrolled voluntarily and randomly received 20, 30, or 50 mg of Pueraria mirifica in capsules or placebo in identical capsules once daily for 24 weeks.


After 24 weeks of treatment, 71 women were evaluated. 51 of 71 randomly received one of the three doses of Pueraria mirifica, and the remaining 20 received placebo.


Vaginal dryness is often due to deficiency of the female hormone estrogen. Sometimes vaginal dryness is a result of skin conditions of the genital area. Often no specific cause of vaginal dryness can be identified.


The results of this study indicated that the mean vaginal dryness symptom in the Pueraria mirifica group decreased after 12 weeks of treatment. Pueraria mirifica increased vaginal maturation index (parabasal:intermediate:superficial cells) from 46:43:11 to 11:65:24 after 24 weeks of treatment. There was no significant difference of adverse effects between the Pueraria mirifica and placebo groups in this study.


The study concluded that Pueraria mirifica was proven to exhibit estrogenicity on vaginal tissue, to alleviate vaginal dryness symptoms and dyspareunia, to improve signs of vaginal atrophy, and to restore the atrophic vaginal epithelium in healthy postmenopausal women.




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