A Answers (4)
Wendy Warner, MD, OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology), answered
Riverside Women's Health answered
Some women try herbal or other plant-based products to help relieve hot flashes. Some of the most common ones are:Soy. Soy contains phytoestrogens (estrogen-like substances from a plant). But, there is no proof that soy — or other sources of phytoestrogens — really do make hot flashes better. And the risks of taking soy — mainly soy pills and powders — are not known. The best sources of soy are foods such as tofu, tempeh, soymilk, and soy nuts. Other sources of phytoestrogens. These include herbs such as black cohosh, wild yam, dong quai, and valerian root. Again, there is no proof that these herbs (or pills or creams containing these herbs) help with hot flashes.
Products that come from plants may sound like they are safe, but there is no proof that they really are. There also is no proof that they are helpful at easing symptoms of menopause. Make sure to discuss these types of products with your doctor before taking them. You also should tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking, since some plant products can be harmful when combined with other drugs.
This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.
Sage: Sage (Salvia officinalis) may contain compounds with mild estrogenic activity. In theory, estrogenic compounds may decrease menopausal symptoms. Sage has been tested against menopausal symptoms with promising results. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to sage species, their constituents, or to members of the Lamiaceae family. Use cautiously with hypertension (high blood pressure). Use the essential oil or tinctures cautiously in patients with epilepsy. Avoid with previous anaphylactic reactions to sage species, their constituents, or to members of the Lamiaceae family. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Vitamin D: Without sufficient vitamin D, inadequate calcium is absorbed and the resulting elevated parathyroid (PTH) secretion causes increased bone resorption. This may weaken bones and increase the risk of fracture. Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to slow osteoporosis and reduce fracture, particularly when taken with calcium. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to vitamin D or any of its components. Vitamin D is generally well-tolerated in recommended doses; doses higher than recommended may cause toxic effects. Use cautiously with hyperparathyroidism (overactive thyroid), kidney disease, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, and histoplasmosis. Vitamin D is safe in pregnant and breastfeeding women when taken in recommended doses.
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Marjorie Nolan Cohn, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Eating plant-based foods that contain isoflavones (plant estrogens) work in the body like a weak form of estrogen. For this reason, soy may help relieve menopause symptoms, although research results are contradictory. Some may help lower cholesterol levels and have been suggested to relieve hot flashes and night sweats. Isoflavones can be found in foods such as tofu and soy milk.