Menopause is often accompanied by unpleasant symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vagina dryness, depression, insomnia, fatigue, joint pain, anxiety, decreased libido, mood swings and forgetfulness. These symptoms can occur before, during and after the onset of menopause. For some women, menopausal symptoms can have a negative impact on quality of life.
While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is effective in reducing menopausal symptoms, there is the increased risk of breast cancer and heart diseases. Due to concerns about the safety and side effect of HRT, many women seek complementary and alternative treatment for menopausal symptoms.
Here are 5 herbal remedies that may be helpful in managing menopausal symptoms and improving quality of life….
1. Black Cohosh
Black cohosh root extracts is a widely studied herbal substance for treatment of menopausal symptoms. The first medicinal product from black cohosh (Remifemin) has been in use for more than 60 years since it became available in Germany in 1956.
Numerous clinical studies with black cohosh confirm its safety and efficacy for menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes, sweating, anxiety and insomnia.
In terms of safety, studies found that black cohosh – has no estrogenic effects on breast, uterus or tumours. – did not interfere with tamoxifen therapy in breast cancer survivors. – has no adverse effect on liver function.
The above findings involved 89% of patients who used Remifemin. For best results, choose a black cohosh medicinal product such as Remifemin for menopausal symptom relief.
2. Siberian Rhubarb
The special extract of the root of Siberian rhubarb is known as ERr 731. It is a phytoestrogen that has been used in Germany since 1950s as a herbal medicine for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. It was in 1993 that a standardized version of the extract, ERr 731 was introduced for treating peri- and postmenopausal symptoms.
Clinical studies have shown that ERr 731 effectively relieves 11 menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, sweating, heart complaints, sleep disturbances, poor mood, anxiety, sexual problems, urinary tract complaints, vaginal dryness, joint/muscle complaints and physical/mental exhaustion.
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Traditionally, sage has been used for relieving menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and sweating.
In an 8-week clinical trial, 71 menopausal women were treated with a once-a-day tablet of fresh sage leaves. The average total number of hot flashes per day decreased significantly, each week from week 1 to week 8. The average number of mild, moderate, severe, and very severe flashes decreased by 46%, 62%, 79%, and 100% over 8 weeks, respectively. It also improved psychological symptoms of menopause.
The study results demonstrated the potential use of sage as an alternative treatment for hot flashes and associated menopausal symptoms.
For thousand of years, the Peruvians have used maca as food and medicine. Some of its traditional uses are for increasing energy, enhancing fertility, relieving menstrual disorders and menopausal symptoms, and as an aphrodisiac.
Clinical studies found that maca reduced psychological symptoms (anxiety and depression) and improved sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women.
5. St John’s Wort
St John’s wort is a common herb used for treating mild to moderate depression.
It can alleviate mood and anxiety changes associated with menopause, and reduce hot flashes.
One study in 111 women experiencing menopausal symptoms found that 900mg of St John’s wort taken daily for 12 weeks, significantly improved psychological and psychosomatic symptoms. Menopausal complaints diminished or disappeared completely in the majority of women. Sexual well-being was also improved.
In another study, 100 women were treated with St John’s wort extract or placebo for 8 weeks. Frequency, duration and severity of hot flashes significantly decreased in the treated group compared to the placebo group at 8th week.
St John’s wort is often combined with black cohosh for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. A study found that the combination of St John’s wort and black cohosh was superior to black cohosh alone in alleviating menopausal mood symptoms. The combination of both botanicals could benefit certain menopausal women who suffer from more prominent psychological symptoms.
Be aware that St John’s wort has many drug interactions.
It is advisable to discuss with your doctor before using St John’s wort or any herbal supplements while on conventional medications.
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409920/ 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21630133 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21630133 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17590291 (wort+bc) 5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20216274 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10623319 7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20216274