Queen bees have 10 times longer life expectancy than their workers as a result of an incredible nutrient in the milky liquid that they feed on exclusively, the royal jelly1. This property is at least in part due to royalactin found in royal jelly2. Royal jelly is functionally analogous to mammalian breast milk comprised of a complete diet and antioxidant, antimicrobial, and immunoregulatory properties3,4. The remarkable reproductivity and extended life-span of the queen, wholly fed on royal jelly, have suggestively led people to believe that royal jelly produces comparable effects in humans. Articles began to appear in the early 1950's, particularly in the French beekeeping press, in approval of the assets of royal jelly. One of the virtues of royal jelly is the estrogenic properties that makes it the unique lady favourite tonic especially in those difficult days.
Estrogen is the hormone responsible for sex characteristics and reproductive abilities in women. Your body's endocrine system is in charge of producing this hormone. However, there are few scenarios that your body may not produce enough, or has higher demand for the hormone, which cause the insufficiency symptoms to surface. This necessitates the oral consumption of phytoestrogens or dietary estrogens, which are naturally occurring compounds found in plants. When we eat phytoestrogens, our bodies may react as if our own estrogen were present.
In this article, we will discuss about the goodness of estrogenic supplements, that either directly support the synthesis of estrogen or replicate the activity of estrogen in the body, including the royal jelly, Pueraria mirifica, dong quai and kacip Fatimah.
Low Estrogen Levels Symptoms
Your natural estrogen production varies over time. As puberty kicks off, you will generate more estrogen. The hormone level remains high through your childbearing years. As menopause approaches, your estrogen levels will begin dropping. While you cannot avoid your body’s natural hormone fluctuations, you can help alleviate the symptoms of estrogen loss by supplementing with the following estrogenic supplements. Most frequently, the symptoms of estrogen insufficiency include:
- hot flashes
- vaginal dryness
- mood swing
- painful intercourse
- difficulty sleeping
- excessive sweating
- bone loss
It contains complete nutrient profile of fatty acids, unique proteins, phenols, flavonoids, vitamins and minerals5. The life-prolonging effect of royal jelly probably stems from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can foster healthy aging by enhancing glycemic status, lipid profiles, and oxidative stress—and hence can put off the occurrence of various debilitating metabolic diseases5. Royal jelly has estrogen-like effects, which in different studies have been ascribed to the ability of different lipids to act as weak activators of estrogen receptors2. These constituents include 10-HDA, trans-2-decenoic, 10-hydroxydecanoic, 3,10-dihydroxydecanoic, and sebacic acids, and in addition the steroid 24-methylenecholesterol2.
A human study supported royal jelly improved premenstrual symptoms after 2 months of consumption6.
An animal study proved royal jelly’s potential use in supporting fertility as it promoted follicular growth and development in ovaries through its antioxidant and estrogenic effects on the reproductive system to ameliorate the fertility parameters7.
Pueraria mirifica is a plant that grows in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia. It's also known as Kwao Krua. It is a naturally-occurring phytoestrogens which contains miroestrol, coumestrol, daidzein and genistein8, well known as a female hormone enhancer for breast enlargement.
Small human studies have demonstrated significant improvements in various menopausal symptoms — such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, irritability, and irregular or absent periods — after treatment with Kwao Krua9. The crude compound clearly improved the signs and symptoms related to menopause such as, hot flushes, frustration, sleep disorder, skin dryness, high blood cholesterol, oligomenorrhoea and amenorrhoea, with no change in the blood cells, liver and kidney functions, as well as other physiological status after four months of treatment9.
A 24-week study published in the journal Menopause in 2007 investigated the use of Pueraria mirifica in doses range from 10 milligrams (mg) to 50 mg and concluded that it was far more effective in reducing vaginal atrophy (wasting) and alleviating vaginal dryness and dyspareunia (pain during intercourse) than a placebo10.
Dong Quai (angelica sinensis) has been a popular herb for female, belonging to the family Apiaceae, is indigenous to China. People in China, Korea, and Japan dry its root for medicinal use. Dong quai root contains phytoestrogen, and has been demonstrated to impact estrogen and other hormones in animals. It has long been used as a ‘blood-nourishing’ herb for gynaecological conditions such as premenstrual syndrome11.
In one study, researchers examined the possible estrogenic compounds in 17 popular herbal supplements. They found two possible compounds in dong quai that exhibit estrogenic activity12.
A study conducted in 2004 showed that patients given a concentrated dose of Dong Quai reported improvement in abdominal pain and normalized menstrual cycle13.
Labisia pumila also known as Kacip Fatimah is a flowering plant in the family Primulaceae native to Malaysia and is a popular herb among woman population in Malaysia. The herb has been traditionally consumed by women for generations in traditional herbal preparation or jamus for afterbirth care. Kacip Fatimah is used to preserve a vigorous female reproductive system, to help tighten and lubricate, and to boost sexual function14. It is rich in phytoestrogen and isoflavones, that may ease menopausal symptoms and childbirth15.
A study demonstrated a positive effect of 6 months supplementation of Kacip Fatimah in reducing triglyceride values among postmenopausal women and suggested it to be a useful alternative way for maintaining cardiovascular health14. Besides, number of studies supported the use of Kacip Fatimah in the prevention of osteoporosis mainly due to its phytoestrogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties16-18.
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Scientists Explore Queen Bee Longevity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2007.
- Cornara L, Biagi M, Xiao J, Burlando B. Therapeutic Properties of Bioactive Compounds from Different Honeybee Products. Front Pharmacol. 2017; 8: 412.
- Buttstedt A, Moritz RF, Erler S. More than royal food—major royal jelly protein genes in sexuals and workers of the honeybee Apis mellifera. Front Zool. 2013;10:72.
- Vojvodic S, Rehan SM, Anderson KE. Microbial gut diversity of Africanized and European honey bee larval instars. PLoS One. 2013;8:e72106.
- Kunugi H, Ali AM. Royal jelly and its components promote healthy aging and longevity: from animal models to humans. International Journal of Molecular Science. 2019;20(4662):1-26.
- Taavoni S, Bakhordari F, Goushegir A, Haghani H. Effect of royal jelly on premenstrual syndrome among Iranian medical sciences students: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2014;22(4):601-606.
- Ghanbari E, Khazaei MR, Khazaei M, Nejati V. Royal jelly promotes ovarian follicles growth and increases steroid hormones in immature rats. International Journal of Fertility and Sterility. 2018;11(4):263-269.
- Malaivijitnond S. Medical applications of phytoestrogens from the Thai herb Pueraria mirifica. Front Med. 2012 Mar;6(1):8-21.
- Muangman V, Cherdshewasat W. Clinical Trial of the Phytoestrogen-rich Herb, Pueraria mirifica as a Crude Drug in the Treatment of Symptoms in Menopausal Women. Siriraj Medical Journal. Vol 53, No 5 (2001).
- Manonai J, Chittacharoen A, Theppisai U, et al. Effect of Pueraria mirifica on vaginal health. Menopause. 2007 Sep-Oct;14(5):919-24.
- Fung FY, Linn YC. Steroids in traditional chinese medicine: what is the evidence? Singapore Med. J. 2017;58(3):115-120.
- Power CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015; 3: 4.
- Dymowski W. Assessment report on angelica sinensis (oliv.) diels, radix. [Internet]. 2013 [cited 28 February 2020]. Available from: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/herbal-report/final-assessment-report-angelica-sinensis-oliv-diels-radix-first-version_en.pdf
- Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia. [Internet]. 2017 [cited 28 February 2021] Available from: https://www.forestry.gov.my/en/tumbuhan-ubatan/item/kacip-fatimah
- Kadir AA, Nik Hussain NH, Wan Bebakar WM, Mohd DM, Wan Mohammad WMZ, Hassan II, et al. The effect of labisia pumila var. alata on postmenopausal women: a pilot study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012.
- Nadia ME, Nazrun AS, Norazlina M, Isa NM, Norliza M, Ima Nirwana S. The anti-inflammatory, phytoestrogenic, and antioxidative role of labisia pumila in prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Advances in Pharmacological Sciences. 2012.
- Fathilah SN, Abdullah S, Mohamed N, Shuid AN. Labisia pumila prevents complications of osteoporosis by increasing bone strength in a rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012.
- Mohd Effendy N, Shuid AN. Time and dose-dependent effects of labisia pumila on bone oxidative status of postmenopausal osteoporosis rat model. Nutrients.