Herbs with Estrogenic (Oestrogenic) Properties


The following is from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5360864/

It lists 3 herbs – Yin Yang Huo (Xian Ling Pi), Dang Gui and Ren Shen (Ginseng).

Epimedium (Herba epimedii, Yin Yang Huo 淫羊藿)

Epimedium is classified as a ‘kidney-yang tonifying’ herb that is frequently used to treat disorders such as impotence, premature ejaculation and infertility, in combination with other herbs. Various preclinical studies have found that epimedium extract or its specific constituents (e.g. icaritin and icariside) have a selective oestrogen receptor modulator effect on breast cancer and uterine growth in nude mice.() Icariin, the major compound in epimedium, promotes oestrogen biosynthesis in human ovarian granulosa cells through aromatase, which converts androgens to oestrogens.() Another animal study found that icariin could exert anabolic effects on bone by activating oestrogen receptors (ER) and prevent ovariectomy-induced bone loss without inducing uterotrophic effects.()

These oestrogenic activities led to clinical studies using epimedium for menopausal symptoms. A randomised, placebo-controlled trial on 90 postmenopausal women, who consumed either 300 mL of aqueous herb extract or water daily for six months, reported significantly increased serum levels of oestradiol in the herbal group compared to the group that consumed only water. However, no recurrence of menstruation was reported in any of the subjects.() Another clinical trial on 50 late postmenopausal women, who were randomised to take either herb-derived phyto-oestrogen flavonoids (60 mg icariin, 15 mg genistein and 3 mg daidzein) or a placebo daily for 24 months, reported no significant increase in the treatment group’s serum oestradiol level. Interestingly, as with animal data, bone mineral density was maintained in the treatment group but was significantly reduced in the placebo group, without a concurrent hyperplasia effect on endometrium thickness.()

Ginseng (Radix Panax ginseng, Ren Shen 人参)

Ginseng is capable of restoring the oestrus cycle, interfering with the atrophy of reproductive target tissues caused by ovariectomy. These oestrogenic effects may be mediated by stimulating the biosynthesis of oestrogen in circulation and increasing the quantity of ER in the target organs.() It has also been suggested that the structural similarity between ginsenosides and oestradiol could be a contributing factor to the oestrogenic activity of ginseng.() An animal study reported the oestrogenic activity of ginseng on reproductive tissues in ovariectomised mice.() In a case report, a 12-year-old Korean-Japanese boy was diagnosed with gynaecomastia after taking 500 mg/day of red ginseng extract for one month for its strengthening effect; the gynaecomastia resolved upon cessation of the ginseng supplement. However, the boy’s oestradiol and testosterone levels were within normal levels.() A small number of case reports also showed an association between ginseng and postmenopausal vaginal bleeding and mastalgia. However, the exact source and ingredients consumed by the case subjects were not specified in these reports.(,)

In a placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial conducted in 72 postmenopausal women who were randomised to take either 3 g of red ginseng (including ginsenosides 60 mg/day) or a placebo daily for 12 weeks, no significant difference in serum oestradiol level was found between the treatment and placebo groups. However, subjects in the treatment group showed a significant improvement in menopausal symptoms, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein.()

Chinese angelica (Radix Angelicae sinensis, Dang Gui 当归)

Chinese angelica is a ‘blood-nourishing’ herb often used in gynaecological conditions such as perimenopausal syndrome and menstrual disorders. Chinese angelica extract or its constituent, ferulic acid, exhibits oestrogenic activity via various mechanisms: it stimulates the growth of both ER-positive and ER-negative breast cancer cells in vitro; competitively inhibits binding of oestradiol to ER in vitro; induces transcription activity in oestrogen-responsive cells in vitro; suppresses luteinising hormone (LH) secretion; and influences uterine growth and vaginal cytology in ovariectomised rats.(,) Its oestrogenic activity in humans is implicated by a case report of a 35-year-old man who developed gynaecomastia after ingesting ‘Dong Quai’ pills daily for a month (specific dosage unknown). His hormonal results (oestradiol, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone and LH levels) were all within normal range. His gynaecomastia regressed completely three months after he discontinued the pills.() However, this oestrogenic activity was not demonstrated in a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial in which 71 postmenopausal women were randomised to take either 4.5 g Chinese angelica or a placebo daily for 24 weeks. The study showed that the herb did not significantly increase the serum oestradiol level compared with the placebo, nor did it promote endometrial proliferation or increase the maturation of vaginal epithelial cells.()

Table I summarises the aforementioned herbs, the steroidal compounds identified in these herbs, and the highest level of evidence supporting or refuting their steroidal activities.

Cause of RLS and PLMD by Al Stone

RLS and PMLD and Chinese Medicine and herbs:

Years ago, back when he founded the website “Beyond Well Being” Al wrote these pages about RLS and PLMD.

Of course, we don’t cure or even treat diseases at Eagleherbs – only support body structures and help with symptoms. We leave the curing to the doctors.


According to traditional Chinese medicine, it all comes down too much heat in your body. Heat can originate from a variety of issues, but they all lead to restlessness. Our treatment principle then is to cool off that internal heat. Restless legs is only a superficial symptom of the more systemic restlessness caused by heat disturbing the spirit of the heart. Sound unscientific? You bet. Fortunately, there is nothing more scientific than an herbal medicine that has been getting the job done for hundreds of years. “YEAH, BUT WHERE DOES THIS PERIODIC LIMB DISORDER COME FROM?”

As described above, RLS is due to heat. However periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is due to wind. In TCM, our goal is to calm or extinguish it. Wind in the body is commonly associated with neurologic movement disorders. Any tic, tremor, spasm or convulsion is considered wind blowing around inside the body. Does your wind kick up when you’re falling asleep?


For a small bottle (100 capsules) at its highest dosage enough for one week. You can also get a large bottle which gives you twice as much (200 capsules). This bottle should last two weeks at its highest dosage.

Get the small size if you’re unsure as to how you’re going to respond to the herbal formula. If you have a history of having allergic reactions to botanical products, this is a safe choice. Get the large size if you know what you want and you want it now. :)

It may (actually probably) take longer than one week to see results from this particular product if its cause is due to a yin deficiency. Herbs have been added to this formula that also address the more quickly treated causes of these problems as well. This formula may be perfect for you, but it simply takes up to a month before you really see improvement. You may have had this problem for ten years, so don’t expect an herbal formula to take it away in a week. This is not a reasonable expectation. For more on how long it will take for your condition to resolve, please see the Eagle Herbs Prognosis-O-Rama.


According to traditional Chinese medicine, the cause of restless leg syndrome is heat in the Heart causing your spirit to become agitated. The end result is that you experience restlessness when trying to sleep.

The following “statements of fact” support this idea. All of the big words on this page come from one of a few classic texts in Chinese medicine that date back to the time of Christ. Perhaps that’s why some of us call the “Huang Di Nei Jing” the “bible” of traditional Chinese medicine.


In TCM, certain organs store stuff. In biomedicine things like nutrients are stored in fat cells. In Chinese medicine the Shen is stored in the Heart. The Shen is the Spirit. That can suggest something holy and eternal, but clinically speaking it also applies to your personality, demeanor, memories and certain cognitive functions. This spirit is stored in the Heart. In biomedicine, they’d put most of these “spirit” functions into the brain and/or central nervous system.


In TCM, each organ is hypersensitive to one unique type of weather. In the case of the Heart, it loves to feel warm, but hates to feel hot. When it feels hot, the spirit that it stores can become restless. “Five element theory” describes the different environmental factors that effect the organs in the body according to this theoretical tradition.


According to the theory of Zang-Fu (which essentially translates to “internal organs”) the Kidneys are the source of yin and yang in the body. Yin is body fluids and cooling mechanisms in this context. Yang is metabolic heat for this discussion. When Kidney yin is deficient, the body can get hot giving rise to hot flashes and night sweats. This is something like when your car’s radiator is low on fluid, the car can overheat. This doesn’t happen because the engine is running too hot, but because the radiator yin, or fluid is deficient.


Because the Kidneys are the source of Yin, when the Kidneys get dry, the Heart gets dry also. When the Heart gets dry, the spirit that is stored in the Heart has nothing to anchor it down as the Heart yin generally does. I can’t quite think of a good analogy for this. Needless to say, the spirit as a substance is light and airy. One of the jobs of the yin of the Heart is to give the spirit a nice moist place to reside. When that moisture is deficient, the spirit becomes flighty, fidgety, and a little bit over dramatic. Other symptoms of Heart yin deficiency include panic attacks, heart palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia.


Back to the radiator fluid causing the car to overheat. When the body gets hot because of its lack of cooling mechanisms, that heat will rise in the body to the Heart where it agitates the spirit and causes restlessness. Between this mechanism and the Heart yin unable to anchor the spirit, it can become a real problem emotionally and physically.


When the Kidney yin is deficient all the other organs that rely on body fluids for their balanced function become dry. Most often, it is the Liver that suffers first from the Kidney yin deficiency.


Just like the Heart can get too hot when there aren’t enough fluids to cool it, the Liver too can generate some problems when it gets dry. The problem it causes is called internal wind. Internal wind makes our hands, feet, or other structures shake and tremble. Biomedicine would described these things mostly in neurological terms (nocturnal myoclonus). Internal wind can look like anything from a tic in your eyelid, to periodic limb movement disorder (which often arises with restless legs), to some forms of epileptic seizures.

Please do not assume that if you have PLMD that you need to be treated for epilepsy. This is wrong even though there are some similarities according to TCM theory. Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is characterized by involuntary leg twitching or jerking movements during sleep that typically occur every 10 to 60 seconds, sometimes throughout the night.


So why does Kidney yin become deficient? There are a few causes. If you recently had a high fever and your urine is now looking darker than usual, you’re dehydrated. Drink more fluids, take some herbs if you want for your yin, you’ll get over it. However there is another cause for a Kidney yin deficiency. This cause is called Kidney jing deficiency. Jing is sometimes translated as “essence”. You may recall that the Heart stores the shen. Well, the Kidneys store the jing. Jing has a number of functions. One of which is to stimulate periods of growth in our lives. For instance, when your reproductive organs start to mature this is moderated by the Kidney jing. Menopause is timed by the jing too. This jing is also the precursor to Kidney yin. So, a jing deficiency can cause a yin deficiency.


This is why restless leg syndrome has a tendency to effect the elderly more than the young. It is because their jing is naturally being used up, so they develop a deficiency of yin causing all of the issues that have been described above.


Kidney jing comes mostly from our parents, and it is passed on to our children. If our parents have a tendency toward jing deficiency, it is likely that we will too. Because as we get older we have less jing, the issue of children with a jing deficiency increases with age. According to TCM, this is why some birth defects favor the children of parents who are older such as Down’s syndrome.

family history of RLS is seen in approximately 50 percent of such cases, suggesting a genetic form of the disorder. People with familial RLS tend to be younger when symptoms start and have a slower progression of the condition. This supports the idea that RLS comes due to a jing deficiency. If you get it from your parents, it will arise earlier in life. If you are just naturally running out of jing (as we all do) it’ll show up later in life.


We have two herbal formulas that are modified slightly to achieve these aims of nourishing Yin, cooling heat, and extinguishing wind.

RopinoHerb RLS for restless leg syndrome is based on Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan (Heavenly Emperor’s Nourish the Heart Pills). This formula first appeared in the text “Secret Investigation into Obtaining Health” published in the year 1638. This formula nourishes the Kidney yin to cool the heat in the Heart causing restlessness.

RopinoHerb PLMD for periodic limb movement disorder. This formula is based on Da Ding Feng Zhu (Major Arrest Wind Pearl). This formula appeared originally in the book “Systemic Differentiation of Warm Disease” which was first published in 1798. This formula nourishes Yin and sedates wind to address the jerky movements associated with this “internal wind”.

Click her for a fact filled page from the NIH.

Huang Lian Jie Du San discussion

Huang Lian Jie Du San (Coptis and Scute Combination) is one of the most commonly and strongest formulas for clearing “heat” from the body. It uses just four herbs: the “three Huangs” (Bai, Qin and Lian). Huang Lian is one of the nastiest tasting things in the world and I LOVE it! There is a Chinese saying that “My life is more bitter than Huang Lian”. The fourth herb, Zhi Zi helps drain the heat that the “huangs” have dislodged.

However, Huang Lian Jie Du San (Coptis and Scute Combination) is so bitter that it shouldn’t be used for too long. All that bitterness can dry out the stomach and otherwise damage it. I would say if you are unsupervised by someone a week on Huang Lian Jie Du San is enough. Not everything can be cured and if need be anti-biotics might be needed. Sorry to say but sometimes thats how it goes.

Take care,