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Herbs for Menopause

Menopause is a time of transition. This transition is marked by changes in hormone levels. As hormone levels decline many women experience symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes and fatigue. Based on preliminary research, some herbs may be helpful for women going through menopause. Among the most popular natural remedies is black cohosh. Some research suggests black cohosh may modestly reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes in women undergoing menopause. It may also help to relieve other menopausal symptoms including night sweats and mood changes. Some women experience feelings of sadness and depression during menopause. One study showed a combination of black cohosh and St. John's wort was helpful for relieving these symptoms. More research is needed in order to determine with certainty that black cohosh is effective for menopausal symptoms. Many women taking black cohosh experience few or no side effects. The most common ones are nausea or headache. A very small number of people have developed liver problems while taking black cohosh. Therefore, you shouldn't take it if you have a history of liver disease. Soy isoflavones, compounds derived from soy, may also improve menopausal symptoms in some women although this has not been proven. Soy isoflavones or genestein is an ingredient in some herbal supplements for women. Soy can also be consumed in foods.

What Else Should You Know about Herbs for Menopause

Herbal supplements for menopause usually contain a variety of herbs that are thought to work together to restore balance. Some also contain vitamin and minerals that may support heart, eye and bone health. Women may need more of certain vitamins and minerals after menopause including calcium for healthy bones. The ingredients in herbal supplements for menopause vary. Read the label carefully so you know what each one contains. Then discuss them with your doctor to make sure you're choosing the best supplement for your needs. Even herbs and natural supplements can interact with prescription medications and other supplements. Let your doctor know about other supplements or medications you're taking to reduce the risk of interactions.

This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider if you experience side effects.