“Herbal medicine is the use of medicine made exclusively from plants. This is the oldest and most widely used system of medicine in the world”.1

Umbrella
What may the Herbs for Menopause Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Botanical Products
  • Botanicals
  • Chinese Medicine
  • Herbal Medicines/Products/Remedies/Supplements/Therapies/Treatments
  • Herbs
  • Medicinal Herbs
  • Phytomedicines
  • Phytotherapy
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Botanical

What is a botanical?

DotS the definition of a botanical may vary. The (United States) Office of Dietary Supplement’s (ODS) definition is:

“A botanical is a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal or therapeutic properties, flavor, and/or scent”.2

Herbs

What are herbs?

DotS the definition of herbs may vary. In Botanical Dietary Supplements: What Is A Botanical? the ODS’s definition is:

“Herbs are a subset of botanicals”.3

Different Herbs

What are some different herbs?

DotS different herbs may include:

  • Black Cohosh (Actaea Racemosa, Cimicifuga Racemosa)
  • Dong Quai (Angelica Sinensis)
  • Evening Primrose/Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis)
  • Flaxseed/Flaxseed Oil
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Ginseng (Panax Ginseng or Panax Quinquefolius)
  • Kava/Kava Kava (Piper Methysticum)
  • Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense)
  • Soy
  • St John’s Wort

Herbal Products

What are herbal products?

DotS the definition of herbal products may vary. The ODS’s definition is:

“Products made from botanicals that are used to maintain or improve health may be called herbal products, botanical products, or phytomedicines”.4

Herbal Medicine

What is herbal medicine?

DotS the definition of herbal medicine may vary. On page one in Natural Therapies & Supplements: Common Natural and Complementary Therapies – Herbal Medicine the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s (JH) definition is:

“Herbal medicine is the use of medicine made exclusively from plants. This is the oldest and most widely used system of medicine in the world. In Australia the most common types of herbal medicine are Western, Chinese, Ayurvedic (Indian) and Australian Aboriginal”.5

In Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine: About Us – Definitions: Herbal Medicines the World Health Organization elaborate on:

“Herbal medicines include herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations and finished herbal products, that contain as active ingredients parts of plants, or other plant materials, or combinations”.6

The JH also explain:

“Herbal medicines are available in various forms. These include herbal teas, alcoholic extracts, non alcoholic glycerine extracts, powders, tablets, capsules and topical creams”.7

Traditional Chinese Medicine

What is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)?

DotS the definition of TCM may vary. In Traditional Chinese Medicine: What You Need To Know – What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine? the (United States) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) explain:

“Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has evolved over thousands of years. TCM practitioners use various mind and body practices (such as acupuncture and tai chi) as well as herbal products to address health problems”.8

In Natural Therapies & Supplements: Common Natural and Complementary Therapies – Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture the JH’s definition is:

“Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a system of healthcare that includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, remedial massage (anmo tuina), exercise and breathing therapy (qigong), and diet and lifestyle advice. It is one of the oldest healthcare systems in the world”.9

Menopause Symptoms

Do herbs relieve menopause symptoms?

In 4 Things To Know About Menopausal Symptoms and Complementary Health Practices the NCCIH include:

“2. Many natural products, such as black cohosh, soy isoflavone supplements, and DHEA, have been studied for their effects on menopausal symptoms, but scientists have found little evidence that they are helpful. There is also no conclusive evidence that the herbs red clover, kava, or dong quai reduce hot flashes”.10

Hot Flushes

Do herbs relieve hot flushes?

In Menopause & Herbs: Over the Counter Herbal Products the JH elaborate on:

“We know that about 13% of Australian women use CAM therapies for managing hot flushes, and that the three most commonly used CAM therapies are phytoestrogens (plant-based female hormones), evening primrose oil and ginseng. We know that these are not necessarily the most effective remedies, and we also know that only about 25% of these women consult an expert for advice about these therapies. Therefore, many women may be making inappropriate – or indeed, ineffective – choices”.11

Elephants

What may be some elephants in the herbs for menopause room?Herbal Medicine

DotS  elephants in the herbal medicine room may vary. In Herbal Medicine: Summary the (United States) MedlinePlus explain:

“Many people believe that products labeled “natural” are always safe and good for them. This is not necessarily true. Herbal medicines do not have to go through the testing that drugs do. Some herbs, such as comfrey and ephedra, can cause serious harm. Some herbs can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medicines”.12

In Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes: Do Mother Nature’s Treatments Help Hot Flashes? Use With Caution the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) also note:

“Of course, as with all therapies, there are some risks involved. The public usually takes herbal therapies in the form of supplement pills, not as a preparation made directly from the herb by a trained herbalist. Keep in mind that herbal supplements are not as closely regulated as prescription drugs. The amount of herbal product, quality, safety, and purity may vary between brands or even between batches of the same brand. Herbal therapies may also interact with prescription drugs, resulting in dramatic changes in the effect of the botanical, the drug, or both”.13

Health Care Provider

What if I choose to use herbs for menopause?

If you choose to use herbs for menopause it may also be in your best interest to choose to tell all your health care providers you are doing this.

In Are You Considering A Complementary Health Approach? Take Charge of Your Health the NCCIH note:

Herbal Medicine “Tell all your health care providers—complementary and conventional—about all the health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care”.14

In Drug Interactions: Understanding the Risk – Understand Your Drug and Possible Side Effects the (United States) Food and Drug Administration also note:

“Talk to your health care providers and pharmacist about all the drugs that you take. Discuss all OTC and prescription drugs, dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals and herbals you take, as well as the foods you eat”.15

In Safe Use of Medicines for Older Adults: What Are Medicines? What Are Drugs? the (United States) National Institute on Aging agree:

“Make sure your doctor knows about ALL the medicines you take. This includes those prescribed by other doctors, as well as vitamins, supplements, herbal remedies, and over-the-counter drugs you use every now and then”.16

In Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes: Do Mother Nature’s Treatments Help Hot Flashes? Black Cohosh the NAMS also caution:

“To be safe, tell your healthcare provider about all botanical therapies you are considering and always stop all herbal treatments at least 2 weeks before any planned surgery”.17

Health Topics A-Z

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Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted above?

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Sources

  1. Natural Therapies & Supplements: Common Natural and Complementary Therapies – Herbal Medicine. Updated January 2017:1. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Natural_therapies.pdf Accessed: 12 January 2020
  2. Botanical Dietary Supplements: What Is A Botanical? Reviewed: 24 June 2011. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BotanicalBackground-HealthProfessional/ Accessed: 12 January 2020
  3. Botanical Dietary Supplements: What Is A Botanical? Reviewed: 24 June 2011. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BotanicalBackground-HealthProfessional/ Accessed: 12 January 2020
  4. Botanical Dietary Supplements: What Is A Botanical? Reviewed: 24 June 2011. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BotanicalBackground-HealthProfessional/ Accessed: 12 January 2020
  5. Natural Therapies & Supplements: Common Natural and Complementary Therapies – Herbal Medicine. Updated January 2017:1. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Natural_therapies.pdf Accessed: 12 January 2020
  6. Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine: About Us – Definitions: Herbal Medicines. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/traditional-complementary-integrative-medicine/about/en/ Accessed: 12 January 2020
  7. Natural Therapies & Supplements: Common Natural and Complementary Therapies – Herbal Medicine. Updated January 2017:1. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Natural_therapies.pdf Accessed: 12 January 2020
  8. Traditional Chinese Medicine: What You Need To Know – What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine? Last Updated: October 2013. This Page Last Modified: 29 April 2019. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/chinesemed.htm Accessed: 12 January 2020
  9. Natural Therapies & Supplements: Common Natural and Complementary Therapies – Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. Updated January 2017:2. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Natural_therapies.pdf Accessed: 12 January 2020
  10. 4 Things To Know About Menopausal Symptoms and Complementary Health Practices. Last Modified: 09 October 2019. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/menopause Accessed: 12 January 2020
  11. Menopause & Herbs: Over the Counter Herbal Products.  Page Last Updated 09 May 2019. Topic Last Reviewed: 20 October 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/natural-therapies-supplements/menopause-herbs Accessed: 12 January 2020
  12. Herbal Medicine: Summary. Page Last Updated on 09 January 2020. Topic Last Reviewed: 21 September 2017. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/herbalmedicine.html Accessed: 12 January 2020
  13. Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes: Do Mother Nature’s Treatments Help Hot Flashes? Use With Caution. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/natural-remedies-for-hot-flashes Accessed: 12 January 2020
  14. Are You Considering A Complementary Health Approach? Take Charge of Your Health. Last Updated: September 2016. This Page Last Modified: 06 December 2019. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://nccih.nih.gov/health/decisions/consideringcam.htm Accessed: 12 January 2020
  15. Drug Interactions: Understanding the Risk – Understand Your Drug and Possible Side Effects. Page Last Updated: 27 July 2017. Food and Drug Administration https://www.fda.gov/drugs/special-features/drug-interactions-understanding-risk Accessed: 12 January 2020
  16. Safe Use of Medicines for Older Adults. What Are Medicines? What Are Drugs? Content Reviewed: 26 June 2019. National Institute on Aging https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/safe-use-medicines-older-adults Accessed: 12 January 2020
  17. Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes: Do Mother Nature’s Treatments Help Hot Flashes? Black Cohosh. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/natural-remedies-for-hot-flashes Accessed: 12 January 2020
Topic Last Updated: 19 January 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 12 January 2020
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