Effects of extracts from Cimicifuga racemosa on gonadotropin release in menopausal women and ovariectomized rats.


Duker EM, Kopanski L, Jarry H, Wuttke W




Planta Med


Remifemin is an ethanolic extract of the rhizome of Cimicifuga racemosa (C.r.) and is used to relieve climacteric hot flushes. In the present study the effects of this preparation on LH and FSH secretion of menopausal women were investigated. After an 8 weeks treatment, LH but not FSH levels were significantly reduced in patients receiving the Cimicifuga extract. To further characterize the endocrinologically active principles of this plant extract, a lipophilic extract of C.r. was prepared and subjected to Sephadex chromatography. Fractions obtained were tested for their ability to reduce LH secretion in ovariectomized (ovx) rats and to compete in vitro with 17 beta-estradiol for estrogen receptor binding sites. Three types of endocrinologically active compounds were obtained: (1) Constituents which were not ligands for the estrogen receptor but suppress LH release after chronic treatment, (2) constituents binding to the estrogen receptor and also suppressing LH release, and (3) compounds which are ligands for the estrogen receptor but without an effect of LH release. It is concluded that the LH suppressive effect of C.r. extracts observed in menopausal women and ovx rats is caused by at least three different synergistically acting compounds.