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Testosterone booster Basella alba also activates aromatase

In African and Asian countries Basella alba and the cultivar Basella alba rubra are popular green leafy vegetables. Herbal healers in Cameroon use extracts from the plant to enhance libido and as a remedy for infertility. Researchers at the University of Yaounde have now discovered that the extract may well be effective.

Basella alba is an ingredient used in some testosterone-boosting supplements. The researchers don't have hard proof of the effectiveness of these products, but their research does show that it is plausible that the supplements do have some effect. The researchers did experiments using cells from the testes of rats, not humans, and methanol-based extracts of the plants.

First of all the researchers discovered that the extracts were safe. The cells did not die when given concentrations of 10 and 100 microgram/ml.

Secondly the researchers discovered that the Basella alba extracts contributed relatively less to the rise in testosterone level, the higher the concentration of hCG. In the table immediately below you see the effect on the cells' testosterone production, and in the lower table the effect on estradiol production.

The effective concentration was 10-microgram/ml extract. At this concentration the cells' aromatase production also rose.

This is good news for an extract that's intended to increase interest in sex, say the researchers. Sexual arousal increases the more androgen hormones are aromatised.

"The traditional use of Basella alba in the treatment of male infertility and sexual asthenia could be due to its capacity to stimulate not only androgens production, but also estrogens, thus maintaining the androgen estrogen balance necessary for normal male reproductive function", the researchers conclude.

We don't think that Basella alba extracts taken in real life are capable of boosting estradiol production so much that this would cause side effects. The effective concentration, 10 microgram/ml, is high for plant components which, by the way, the body probably doesn't absorb too well. We think it's unlikely that human supplement users are capable of ingesting such high concentrations.

Int J Mol Sci. 2011 Jan 14; 12(1): 376-84.

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