March 31, 2013
Chinese Herbs Found To Be Effective In Reducing Hot Flashes
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
A Chinese herbal formula reduced the number of menopausal hot flashes experienced by women by more than half, claims a new study published in the latest edition of Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society.
Matthew Mientka of Medical Daily, University of Hong Kong professor Yao Tong and colleagues report that the frequency of daily hot flashes fell by 62 percent amongst women taking the herbal mix Er-xian decoction (EXD). In comparison, women taking a placebo reported a 52 percent drop in daily hot flashes.
In order to test the effectiveness of EXD — which is a blend of the roots, stems or leaves of six different Chinese herbs — Tong and colleagues administered it as a tea mixture to 101 menopausal women in their 40s and 50s. Each study participant drank the formula twice a day for 12 weeks, Mientka said. Half of them consumed a 15 gram dose while the others drank a blend of tea, caramel and gardenin.
“During the two weeks prior to treatment, the women recorded their hot flashes, with the study group reporting an average of 5.8 compared to the control group's five per day. Following treatment, the number of incidences dropped to 2.2 among those receiving EXD and 2.5 among those receiving placebo,” the Medical Daily reporter explained. “Yet, the more dramatic difference came three months after cessation of treatment, with rate of hot flashes staying at 2.2 per day for the study group and rising slightly for the control group to 2.9 per day.”
Researcher Katherine Newton, who has studied herbal menopause therapies at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, told Kerry Grens of Reuters Health that the effect was “modest” and that she wanted to see more studies, especially long-term ones, to prove that the herbs were safe to use before recommending them. However, she did note that the study makes EXD seem like a promising possible alternative to hormone replacement therapy, which carries with it other health risks.
In an email, Tong told Grens that research has shown that EXD can increase a person´s hormonal and anti-oxidant functions. The herbal substances can be purchased online in a package of 42 two-gram packets for approximately $30, the news organization said, and the researchers have reportedly expressed interest in developing and marketing the exact formula used for the study in order to eliminate possible variables.