Managing menopause with: Botanical therapies

If you’re interested in trying botanical options for managing menopause, phytoestrogens and black cohosh may be your best bets.

Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens that act like natural estrogen in the body. They help relieve hot flashes in some women, and may lower your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. Natural soy foods like tofu are the best source of phytoestrogens. However, isoflavone and soy capsules, as well as red clover and wild yam preparations, also may offer benefit.

Despite common concerns, phytoestrogens from natural food sources appear to be safe for breast cancer survivors, but the safety of soy extracts is less clear. Find out more about this issue

The plant black cohosh is proven to help alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal symptoms, and, in some women, mood swings. Black cohosh preparations can effectively relieve menopause symptoms, but won’t help prevent the diseases associated with menopause, such as osteoporosis.

All of these therapies can be found with the menopause remedies in the natural foods section of your grocery store. “These botanicals are very safe and don’t interact with many medications,” Dr. Ferrier says. “They can help alleviate mild to moderate symptoms, but they may be too weak for women with severe symptoms.”

Talk to your doctor before starting any of these botanical therapies.

Managing menopause with: