Herbal treatments can have unpredictable doses and purity as well as significant drug interactions. Guidelines therefore recommend to look out for the THR logo (Traditional Herbal Registration granted by the MHRA) as these products have been approved and you can be assured that the product has the correct dosage, is of high quality and and has suitable product information.
Few complementary and alternative treatment options have proven evidence of effectiveness, but there will be individual women who benefit from some. It is therefore important to have an individualised approach as you might be the one or two percent who responds extremely well to CAM’s (Complementary and Alternative medicines) . We are also realising more and more that there is a powerful placebo effect from almost every menopause intervention (up to 50-60%) and this may be due to improved chemical messengers that are created because you believe in the treatment option.
Black Cohosh is a North American traditional herb and can help with hot flushes although never as well as HRT. It does not help with anxiety or with low mood. Black Cohosh can interact with other medicines, has serious side effects and there are unknown risks regarding safety.
St John’s Wort was shown to have benefits in relieving vasomotor symptoms. However, it interacts with other drugs which causes concerns about its reliability regarding dose effectiveness and safety profile. Women on Tamoxifen are recommended not to take St John's Wort as it makes Tamoxifen ineffective.
Other herbal remedies including Ginseng and Chinese herbal medicines are not shown to improve hot flushes, anxiety or low mood other than through a placebo effect.