Thursday, 15 May 2014

Angelica for Alleviating Menopausal Symptoms?

Kyle J. Norton

Most women living in West entering the stage of peri menopause onward, may experience certain menopausal symptoms due to the reduced production of certain steroid hormones because of aging.
According to the statistic, approximately 70% of menopausal women are experience some kinds of symptoms such as hot flash, vaginal dryness, problem sleeping, mood swing, etc. but only 10% in the East. Some researchers suggested that this may be resulted of social and cultural structure difference and dietary habits.

The Good
Dang Qui or Chinese Angelica, the Queen of all herbs, according to Chinese medical literature, may be the next single herb or used conjunction with other herbs which may be comparable to hormonal therapies in alleviating the symptoms of menopause with little or no adverse effects, through its effectiveness in balancing the body hormones, even in case of depletion(1).

According to the University of Messina, in ovariectomized rats study, Dang Qui extract exhibited estrogenic activity in relieving climacteric symptoms through stimulation of the uterine histoarchitecture, a significant cornification in the vaginal epithelium and a reduction of serum LH concentration(2).

Danggui Buxue Tang (DBT) containing Radix Astragali (Huangqi) and Radix Angelicae Sinensis (Danggui) is a simple decoction, having about 800 years of usage in China to treat menopausal irregularity in women, suggested that the effectiveness of the formula may be depended on the crucial factors of extraction time and number of repeats of the extraction(6).

EstroG-100, a herbal extract containing Cynanchum wilfordii, Phlomis umbrosa and Angelica gigas has shown to alleviate the symptoms of vasomotor, paresthesia, insomnia, nervousness, melancholia, vertigo, fatigue and rheumatic pain in 12 weeks with 64 pre-, peri- and postmenopausal White Hispanic, White non-Hispanic and African American women(3).

The bad and Ugly
Unfortunately, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, in the testing of the effectiveness of Dang Qui used for peri- or postmenopausal relief, on the proliferation of estrogen receptor-positive (MCF-7) and negative (BT-20) breast cancer cells in vitro, suggested that the water extract of dong quai stimulated the growth of MCF-7 cells, possibly dependent of weak estrogen-agonistic activity, and augmented the BT-20 cell proliferation independent of estrogen receptor-mediated pathway(4) and the ferulic acid (FA), an active compound derived from Angelica sinensis may cause human breast cancer cell proliferation by up-regulation of HER2 and ERalpha expression(9).
Conflict to the above, the Chung Shan Medical University Hospital study, indicated that A. sinensis, can improve the immune cell count of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy to prevent leucopenia and immune impairment(8).

 Dr. Low Dog T., told PubMed "Dang Qai, extract, showed insignificant effective in ameliorating menopausal symptoms in dose depending manner", in the review of total of 19 studies met the inclusion criteria(5), and Dong quai [Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels] showed only weak ER binding and PR, according to the University of Illinois at Chicago(6).

Taken altogether, without going into reviews, Dang Qui and herbal formula containing the herb may be effective in relieving menopausal symptoms. Menopausal women with history of breast cancer or carried gene mutation Her2, should not take the herb without consulting to their doctors & Related field specialist. As always, all articles written by Kyle J. Norton are for information & education only.

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(1) Popular #Herbs - #Dang Qui (Angelica sinensis)
(2) Estrogenic activity of standardized extract of Angelica sinensis by Circosta C1, Pasquale RD, Palumbo DR, Samperi S, Occhiuto F.(PubMed)
(3) The effect of herbal extract (EstroG-100) on pre-, peri- and post-menopausal women: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study by Chang A1, Kwak BY, Yi K, Kim JS.(PubMed)
(4) Use of dong quai (Angelica sinensis) to treat peri- or postmenopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer: is it appropriate? by Lau CB1, Ho TC, Chan TW, Kim SC.(PubMed)
(5) Menopause: a review of botanical dietary supplements by Low Dog T.(PubMed)
(6) Chemical and biological assessment of a traditional chinese herbal decoction prepared from Radix Astragali and Radix Angelicae Sinensis: orthogonal array design to optimize the extraction of chemical constituents by Song ZH1, Ji ZN, Lo CK, Dong TT, Zhao KJ, Li OT, Haines CJ, Kung SD, Tsim KW.(PubMed)
(7) Evaluation of estrogenic activity of plant extracts for the potential treatment of menopausal symptoms by Liu J 1, Burdette JE, Xu H, Gu C, van Breemen RB, Bhat KP, Booth N, Constantinou AI, Pezzuto JM, Fong HH, Farnsworth NR, Bolton JL.(PubMed)
(8) Effects of a Chinese medical herbs complex on cellular immunity and toxicity-related conditions of breast cancer patients by Zhuang SR1, Chiu HF, Chen SL, Tsai JH, Lee MY, Lee HS, Shen YC, Yan YY, Shane GT, Wang CK.(PubMed)
(9) Modulation of HER2 expression by ferulic acid on human breast cancer MCF7 cells by Chang CJ1, Chiu JH, Tseng LM, Chang CH, Chien TM, Wu CW, Lui WY.(PubMed)