Evaluation of oriental medicinal herbs for estrogenic and antiproliferative activities

Phytother Res. 2006 Nov;20(11):1017-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1987.


Herb extracts commercially used in Asia were screened for their estrogenic activity with a recombinant yeast system with both a human estrogen receptor (ER) expression plasmid and a reporter plasmid. Pueraria lobata (flower) had the highest estrogenic relative potency (RP, 17-estradiol = 1.00) (7.8e-3) (RP for + control), followed by Amomum xanthioides (1.3e-3), Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Zingiber officinale, Rheum palmatum, Curcuma aromatica, Eriobotrya japonica, Sophora flavescens, Anemarrhena asphodeloides, Polygonum multiflorum and Pueraria lobata (root) (9.5e-4-1.0e-4), and Prunus persica, Lycoppus lucidus and Adenophora stricta (9.0e-5-8.0e-5). In the antiproliferative assay, five human cancer cell lines representing different tissues (breast, lung and ovary) were used. Eriobotrya japonica showed strong cytotoxicity in ER-negative breast cancer (MDA-MB-231), cervix epitheloid (HeLa) and lung (A549) carcinoma cell lines.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Estrogens / toxicity*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Methanol / chemistry
  • Organisms, Genetically Modified / physiology
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Plants, Medicinal / toxicity*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / drug effects
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Toxicity Tests / methods
  • beta-Galactosidase / analysis
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Estrogens
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Methanol