Ginseng and Other Alternatives Popular Among Menopausal Women

With baby boomers aging, alternative therapies for menopause are a hot topic in the popular media. The coverage includes therapies to replace or supplement hormone replacement therapy, as well as herbal and other remedies to combat the symptoms of menopause. Ginseng is commonly featured as offering potential symptomatic relief.

Prevention classified ginseng as "possibly helpful" for menopause symptoms in a September 1997 article reviewing all the herbs used for menopause. The article rated black cohosh as the only herb that was "often helpful." Ginseng, chasteberry, and vitamin E were given the "possibly helpful" rating. The article did warn readers that ginseng could cause sleeplessness. The article also warned that licorice root should be approached cautiously, while it classified dong quai as "probably not helpful" for menopause symptoms.

In the January-February issue of Natural Health, ginseng is among the many remedies listed for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. The magazine also lists other herbs and describes various acupressure techniques that can ease hot flashes. Other herbs mentioned as helpful for various menopause symptoms include dong quai, chasteberry, fenugreek, cypress, fennel, clary sage, and St. John's wort.

In December 1997, Better Nutrition highlighted evening primrose oil as "a woman's best friend" because of its many uses, including its potential to help some menopause symptoms. A companion article also noted that ginseng could be beneficial for menopausal symptoms.

Ginseng and other herbs are also part of the regimens recommended in several popular books on menopause. These include: Estrogen-The Natural Way: Over 250 Recipes Using Natural Plant Estrogens for Women by Nina Shandler (Villard Books, 1997); Dr. Susan Love's Hormone Book: Making Informed Choices About Menopause by Susan M. Love and Karen Lindsey (Random House, 1998); and What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause: The Breakthrough Book on Natural Progesterone by Virginia Hopkins and John R. Lee, MD.

All of these books focus on alternatives to hormone replacement therapy as well as highlighting alternative therapies for menopause symptoms.