Uses and Pharmacology
Review of the medical literature primarily documents animal research on the potential clinical use of kacip fatimah in women’s health.
In vitro and animal data
Kacip fatimah maintained the integrity and morphology of the aortic wall of ovariectomized rats. The cardioprotective effects were similar to estrogen.The same study found estrogen activity similar to estrone and estradiol by a water extract of kacip fatimah in an immunoassay for estradiol binding to antibodies raised against estradiol. The effect was dose dependent on estradiol and free testosterone levels in female rats. Estrogen receptor modulation may be a potential mechanism of the herb.
In rats, kacip fatimah may modulate postmenopausal adiposity similar to estrogen by initiating lipolysis in adipose tissue. The herb’s mechanism of action is associated with a uterotrophic effect and regulating body weight gain by changing the expression and secretion of adipokines, leptin, and resistin in adipose tissue. In a rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome, oral treatment with kacip fatimah increased insulin sensitivity, reduced triglyceride and total cholesterol levels, increased circulating resistin levels, and decreased leptin mRNA expression. Body weight development was not affected, but uterine weight was increased, indicating potential estrogenic effects.
Other pharmacologic activity
The antioxidant activities of the leaf extracts are well documented.
A kacip fatimah extract protected against the effects of ultraviolet radiation by: (1) protecting dermal fibroblasts from cell death; (2) reducing expression of inflammatory mediators tumor necrosis factor-alpha and cyclo-oxygenase-2; (3) increasing expression of type 1 procollagen; and (4) reducing expression of inflammatory cytokines.
Pretreatment with an aqueous extract of kacip fatimah in experimental animals reversed behavioral, biochemical, and immunological changes produced by stressful stimuli and restored homeostasis