Research Article| Volume 55, SUPPLEMENT 1, S3-S13, November 01, 2006

Contemporary alternatives to plant estrogens for menopause

  • Stacie E. Geller
    Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 312 355 0467; fax: +1 312 996 4238.
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, University of Illinois, 820 S. Wood Street (MC 808) Chicago, IL 60612, United States
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  • Laura Studee
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, University of Illinois, 820 S. Wood Street (MC 808) Chicago, IL 60612, United States
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      Every year, millions of women begin the peri-menopause and may experience a number of symptoms related to this transition. Many women are reluctant to use exogenous hormone therapy for treatment of menopausal symptoms and are turning to botanical and dietary supplements (BDS) for relief. This paper reviews the literature on alternatives to plant estrogens for relief of menopausal symptoms.


      The MEDLINE database was searched for clinical trials of non-estrogenic plant extracts for menopausal symptoms. To be included, studies had to include peri- or postmenopausal women as subjects. All clinical trials (randomized-controlled trials, open trials, and comparison group studies) were included for this review.


      Black cohosh appears to be one of the most effective botanicals for relief of vasomotor symptoms, while St. John's wort can improve mood disorders related to the menopausal transition. Many other botanicals have limited evidence to demonstrate safety and efficacy for relief of symptoms related to menopause.


      A growing body of evidence suggests that some botanicals and dietary supplements could result in improved clinical outcomes. Health care providers should discuss these issues with their patients so they can assist them in managing these alternative therapies through an evidence-based approach.


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