The use of herbs for menopause is a popular practice, albeit a bit controversial within the medical community. Patient education and clear communication with a doctor are essential when considering this treatment option. Some of the most commonly used herbs for menopause symptoms include black cohosh, dong quai, and macafem. Additional herbs that may be used include red clover and ginseng. There are potential side effects associated with each of these herbs, and some may not be appropriate for all women. Any specific questions or concerns about the use of herbs for menopause in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.
Black cohosh is arguably the most popular of all of the herbs for menopause. This herb is thought to help regulate hormone levels and reduce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with menopause, particularly hot flashes. Unlike some of the other herbal choices, black cohosh may be safe for those who need to avoid products that alter estrogen levels, especially those who have a history of breast cancer. Possible side effects of black cohosh include stomach upset, vaginal bleeding, or weight gain.
Dong quai is among the most commonly used herbs for menopause. This herb is believed to help restore and maintain natural hormone balance but should not be used by women who experience heavy bleeding. Side effects may include increased sensitivity to the sun or blood clots. Some studies suggest that prolonged usage of this herb may increase the risks of developing some forms of cancer.
Macafem is one of the most frequently preferred herbs for menopause symptoms. This supplement may help to regulate metabolism, improve energy levels, and increase sexual desire. Macafem is typically considered a safe alternative to hormone replacement therapy and does not have any reported negative side effects, although a doctor should still be consulted before use.
Ginseng and red clover may sometimes be used as herbs for menopause. Benefits of ginseng may include a reduction in hot flashes and improved sleep. Negative side effects may include high blood pressure, skin rash, or diarrhea. Red clover is thought to have an estrogen-like effect on the body and may help to reduce menopausal symptoms, although the results of several studies have been mixed as to the actual effectiveness of this herb. Side effects such as muscle pain, headache, or nausea have been reported by those taking red clover supplements.