Get dramatic relief from the symptoms of menopause naturally
(NaturalHealth365) Up to 80 percent of all menopausal women suffer from an array of distressing physical and psychological symptoms, including “hot flashes,” sweating, mood swings, anxiety and fatigue. Today, we’ll focus on how to feel better.
As you know, Western medicine typically attempts to address menopausal symptoms with synthetic hormone replacement “therapy,” this treatment is associated with an increased risk of potentially life-threatening conditions such as breast cancer, heart attacks and blood clots. So, what’s a (menopausal) woman to do?
Fortunately, clinical studies have shown that Siberian rhubarb extract can dramatically improve menopause symptoms, helping to banish hot flashes, soothe anxiety and bolster mood. In a series of clinical studies, this beneficial herb was shown to decrease symptoms by an astonishing 83 percent – and to do so safely.
First, the bad news: Menopause symptoms can persist for a decade
Unfortunately, menopause discomfort may not resolve quickly. In fact, it can be quite long-lived. Perimenopause (the transition into menopause, in which the production of estrogen by the ovaries begins to slow down) can last for several years.
In addition, many women find that menopausal symptoms can persist for several years after menopause is complete. Researchers have identified 11 different symptoms which can plague menopausal women.
“Hot flashes” – sudden, intense sensations of heat – and excessive sweating are among the most common complaints.
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Depressed mood, feelings of anxiety, sleep disturbances and fatigue are also frequently reported – along with sexual problems (such as lack of desire), vaginal dryness and bladder problems.
Finally, discomfort in the area of the heart, and pain in the joints (and muscles) round out the list.
While some women perceive their menopause symptoms as merely annoying, others experience discomfort and distress so pronounced that the symptoms significantly impact quality of life.
The disturbing truth is: for about ten percent of women, menopausal symptoms can persist for ten years – or more! But, there is hope.
The good news: Multiple clinical studies demonstrate the efficacy of Siberian rhubarb
Used in Germany for over a quarter of a century to treat menopause symptoms, Siberian rhubarb extract is derived from the rhizomes (or underground stems) of rhapontic rhubarb, which is botanically known as Rheum rhaponticum.
In a landmark study published in Menopause, researchers gave either a placebo or 4 mg of Siberian rhubarb extract a day to a group of 109 women suffering from symptoms of perimenopause. And, the results were dramatic!
The rhubarb group experienced a 54 percent decrease in total symptom scores, as measured by the Menopause Rating Scale (since 2004, the MRS has been acknowledged as the gold standard for evaluating menopausal symptoms).
In addition, there were “significant improvements” in all 11 menopause symptoms. In other words, there was no symptom that did not respond to the therapy – truly encouraging news!
No adverse effects were reported, leading the team to conclude that the extract was well tolerated and safe.
Follow-up study: Siberian root extract led to an 83 percent reduction in total symptom scores, along with improved mood
In an additional six-month study – this one involving 252 women, ranging from perimenopausal to postmenopausal – the results almost exactly duplicated those of the first study. Hot flashes, sweating, sleep problems, irritability and depressed mood were the symptoms most commonly reported as improved.
In fact, all symptoms showed improvement, with a 52 percent decrease in MRS scores. Significantly, participants who reported the most severe symptoms also reported the most relief.
The rhubarb group reported that their quality of life improved markedly – with the majority of women rating their results and symptom relief as either “good” or “very good.” And, long-term results were even more impressive.
In a follow-up study, the participants who had been given 4 mg of Siberian rhubarb extract continued taking it for 96 weeks – while women who had been in the placebo group were asked to begin supplementing. The researchers found that members of the group that had started out with placebo rapidly “caught up” to the rhubarb group.
At the end of 96 weeks, participants experienced an 83 percent decrease in total MRS scores. And, the incidence of hot flashes plummeted sharply – dropping from 15 a day to less than 1.4 a day.
As if this weren’t impressive enough, Siberian rhubarb extract caused resolution or improvement in depressed mood in a stunning 90 percent of the women – along with a 66 percent reduction in anxiety.
Siberian rhubarb’s ability to ease mood-related symptoms stands in sharp contrast to conventional hormone treatments – which do nothing to address symptoms like depression, anxiety and irritability. In fact, some experts believe that they may worsen these mood disturbances – a far-from-desirable effect.
Siberian rhubarb extract mimics the effects of estrogen – without raising cancer risk
Menopause symptoms are caused by dropping levels of estrogen. Siberian rhubarb extract helps to alleviate symptoms because it binds to the cell receptors that bind to estrogen, thereby triggering estrogen-like effects.
And, unlike conventional hormones, Siberian rhubarb compounds bind selectively to cell receptors, making them safer to use. Studies have shown that Siberian rhubarb compounds bind to – and activate – estrogen receptor-beta, causing beneficial estrogenic effects on the heart, brain and bone.
Conventional hormones, on the other hand, bind more strongly to estrogen receptor-alpha cells. These alpha receptors, when activated, can initiate and promote cancer in reproductive tissues. Fortunately, Siberian rhubarb extract binds only weakly to ER-alpha.
As a result, Siberian rhubarb has an excellent safety profile. In studies of over 400 women, researchers noted no safety issues related to the extract, and found no changes in breast, vaginal or endometrial tissue.
Ease menopause symptoms with natural techniques
Siberian rhubarb extract is available in capsule or powdered form, with natural health experts typically advising dosages of 4 mg a day. However, check with your own integrative doctor before trying Siberian rhubarb for menopausal symptoms.
Other natural techniques to alleviate menopause symptoms include eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D (such as cage-free eggs, canned sardines with the bones included and organic dairy products) while limiting or eliminating consumption of “trigger” substances such as caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar.
Some natural health experts advise eating foods high in phytoestrogen – such as miso soup, soy, sesame seeds and beans – along with high-quality protein, such as grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, legumes and beans.
And getting sufficient exercise and maintaining a healthy weight may help ease menopause symptoms. Please note: one study of over 17,000 postmenopausal women showed that losing ten pounds of body weight in the course of a year helped to reduce sweats and hot flashes.
Sources for this article include: