Women entering menopause often experience discomfort caused by various symptoms as their estrogen levels decrease. These symptoms are sometimes so severe that a woman will visit her doctor to seek relief. Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) was the treatment of choice for many women until studies showed that ERT increased their chances for getting breast or endometrial cancer. Many women now turn to herbal estrogen replacement therapy. Some of the herbs commonly used for this therapy include dong quai, black cohosh, vitex chasteberry, and red clover.
These herbs contain phytoestrogens and isoflavones, which are naturally occurring hormones in some plants. Ingesting these herbs helps to replenish the estrogen that is lost during menopause. This is turn can ease the discomfort of hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, and the myriad other symptoms that a woman undergoing menopause may experience. Phytoestrogens can reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes and night sweats. They can also strengthen the heart and reduce the chances that a woman will develop osteoporosis.
Dong quai has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years to treat health disorders in women. It is frequently used as an herbal estrogen replacement because it reduces hot flashes and lubricates the vagina, which can become dry during menopause. Dong quai also has a sedative effect, which is beneficial for women undergoing mood swings. It contains vitamins A, B12, and E, which can boost the immune system. A strong immune system can minimize menopausal symptoms.
Black cohosh is another popular herbal estrogen replacement because it contains a high amount of isoflavones, compounds that mimic estrogen in the body when ingested. This herb has been used for many years to treat both menstrual and menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh can help regulate the body temperature to reduce hot flashes and night sweats, and is also effective for decreasing the mood swings, heart palpitations, insomnia, and depression that afflict some women during menopause.
Vitex chasteberry is often used as an estrogen replacement. Unlike dong quai and black cohosh, vitex doesn’t provide plant estrogens. Instead, it stimulates the pituitary gland to bring female hormones into balance, reducing or eliminating menopausal discomfort.
Red clover is another popular ingredient in herbal estrogen replacement formulas that has been used for hundreds of years for menopausal symptoms. Its high content of phytoestrogens and isoflavones helps reduce hot flashes, mood swings, depression, and vaginal dryness. Herbal estrogen formulas containing these and others herbs can be found in capsules, extracts, and teas, offering women many options to choose from.