I was surprised to read Dr. Andrew Weil’s comments about the fallacies of taking some natural remedies to alleviate menopausal symptoms in his “Dr. Debunker” column in the latest issue of AARP Magazine. After all, isn’t he known as a leading proponent of natural medicine?
In short, he says there’s little scientific evidence to support claims that common menopausal complaints, such as hot flashes, insomnia and low libido, can be helped by most herbal products. He also states that women should avoid all products that contain isolated soy isoflavones, such as red clover. Here is a list of other natural remedies that Dr. Weil says won’t do much to alleviate menopausal symptoms:
- Wild Yam
- Gotu Kola
- Saint Johns Wort
- High does of Vitamin E
What does he recommend? Black cohosh, ground flaxseed (see my earlier blogpost about Flax), a healthful diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids and regular physical activity and stress-reducing practices.
A good place to begin your research on the efficacy of any complementary or alternative medicine or therapy is rVita, a free website that evaluates claims based on available clinical data and users’ experiences.