Pueraria mirifica is a plant which belongs to the family Papilionaceae (Leguminosae.) The Pueraria mirifica plant grows only in the forest regions of northern Thailand. Although though there have been reports of findings of plants in the same family of “Pueraria” in other Asian countries, these plants are of different species and possess different qualities from Pueraria mirifica.
Pueraria mirifica is a climbing plant, and typically grows in a mountainous area by tiding with trees. There are three small leaves on each branch and purple blooms on the top. The tubers on its root are round, and stay underground. When cut, a white liquid (like skim milk) comes out. The active ingredients of the plant are found at the roots from which extracts are made.
The root of the plant has been used in Thailand for more than 700 years, and has also been called Kwao Krua and Thai Kudzu. Legend has touted the anti-aging properties of using this plant medicine for centuries.
Pueraria Mirifica Health Benefits
About Pueraria Mirifica Health Benefits, Folklore goes on to say that the root is a “fountain of youth” for aged men and women. It helps to smooth wrinkled skin, supports healthy hair growth, improves eye health, sharpens the memory, increases energy and vigor, and supports restful sleep. It is no wonder that the Latin name of the plant, “Mirifica” means miracle!
Pueraria mirifica belongs to the same family as soy, and contains similar estrogen-like compounds, including genistein and daidzein. Modern scientific studies have further elucidated chemical components found in Pueraria, including phytoestrogens which are more potent than those found in soy, such as Miroestrol and Deoxymiroestrol. These natural agents function like estrogen in the body.
Pueraria plays a valuable role in helping to maintain a healthy hormone balance in menopausal women, when estrogen levels drop, and women experience changes in mood, hot flashes, lower libido, sleep interruption and other health issues.
Pueraria has earned a reputation for its support effects for breast health and protecting breast tissue. In addition, its substances have a high level of antioxidant activity, probably due to their ability to increase the cell protective substance called superoxide dismutase (SOD).
In Thailand, the Ministry of Public Health is similar to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the U.S. The Thailand Ministry of Public Health officially endorses Pueraria, due to the long history of safe use, along with modern scientific data that supports its safety and efficacy. Safety studies show that the normal therapeutic dose provides a wide margin of safety.
The Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research published a study in September 2009, entitled “The mutagenic and antimutagenic effects of the traditional phytoestrogen-rich herbs, Pueraria mirifica and Pueraria lobata.” Their conclusion was “The tests confirmed the non-mutagenic but reasonably antimutagenic activities of the two plant extracts, supporting their current use as safe dietary supplements and cosmetics.”