Herbal treatments for menopause symptoms are becoming increasingly popular, especially with the potential risks of conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
In a preliminary study, it was shown that the herbs black cohosh* and St John's wort could dramatically relieve menopause symptoms. In this trial, these ingredients were combined with another herb - wild yam - in a treatment doctors hope will be even more effective. "The idea is that by combining herbs with proven efficacy, we might get an additive effect and that's what we are hoping for with this study," associate professor John Eden, head of the Sydney Menopause Clinic, said.
* It was shown in an American study that black cohosh might not be safe for women with breast cancer. Researchers suggest that women who may be at high risk of undetected breast tumours and those who do have breast cancer should avoid taking the herb.
Treat the symptoms
- Take vitamin E for hot flushes and vitamin B2 for headaches.
- Use St John's wort for mild depression and anxiety.
- Liquorice can help with hot flushes, but it can increase blood pressure, so avoid it if you're inclined to high blood pressure already.
- Soya beans and soya milk are high in phytoestrogens, which relieve symptoms of perimenopause by acting on oestrogen receptors.
- Yoga and the Alexander technique reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats, while relaxation techniques such as meditation and visualisation may relieve mental and physical stress.