Herbal Drug to Relieve Symptoms of Menopause
Published December 17, 2013
Suffering from menopausal symptoms, and worried about the side effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)? Here is some good news for you. A new study conducted in China reports efficacy and safety of an herbal formulation that can be used in the treatment of climacteric complaints.
Menopause, the cessation of menses, brings with it a variety of bothersome symptoms, which are considered to be difficult and controversial area of care for postmenopausal women and their doctors. Menopausal symptoms referred to as climacteric symptoms mainly include, hot flushes and night sweats (vasomotor), insomnia and cognitive impairment (psychosocial), vaginal dryness, and long-term symptoms, such as osteoporosis (physical) and sexual dysfunction (sexual). Although HRT can be used to relieve menopausal symptoms and improve the quality of life, most women are worried about the side effects associated with it. Few studies have reported that HRT increases the risk of suffering from breast cancer. As a result, many women demand for non-hormonal options, such as herbal drugs.
Cimicifuga foetida, a herb commonly known as ‘Foetid Bugbane’ has been used in China for relief of menopausal symptoms. Recently some scientist from China conducted a study and compared the effects of HRT and Cimicifuga extract on menopausal symptoms in 96 early postmenopausal women.All the participants were randomly treated withCimicifuga foetida extract daily (group A), estradiol valerate and progesterone capsule (group B) or estradiol valerate and medroxyprogesterone acetate (group C).
On examining the effects of the treatments using Kupperman Menopausal Index (KMI), scientists found that symptoms of menopause decreased in all three groups. Cimicifuga extract could ease vasomotor symptoms, psychosocial symptoms, and physical symptoms; however, it failed to improve sexual symptoms.
Interestingly the incidence of breast tenderness in group treated with Cimifuga extract was lower than the HRT groups. In addition, the incidence of vaginal bleeding was significantly lower in Cimifuga group.
The authors of the suggested that three months treatment with Cimicifuga foetida extract can effectively reduce the menopausal symptoms. However, it cannot be considered to be as efficacious as HRT. More studies are needed to elucidate the mechanism of cimifuga extract in treating postmenopausal syndrome. Therefore, its recommended to consult the healthcare professional before considering this herbal drug.
- Zheng TP, Sun AJ, Xue W, et al. Efficacy and safety of Cimicifugafoetida extract on menopausal syndrome in Chinese women. Chin Med J (Engl). 2013;126(11):2034-8.
- Baber R, Hickey M, Kwik et al. Therapy for Menopausal Symptoms During and After Treatment for Breast Cancer Safety Considerations. Drug Safety 2005; 28 (12): 1085-1100.