Herbs used for menopause can act like estrogen

June 13, 2000 in Menopause, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Herbs used for menopause can act like estrogen

An animal study shows that herbal compounds frequently used by women during menopause are estrogenic in activity--meaning that they mimic the hormone estrogen.

Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, examined several herbal botanicals suggested to treat menopause symptoms including dong quai, vitex, Chinese ginseng, American ginseng, black cohosh, red raspberry leaf, blue cohosh, licorice root, squaw vine, milk thistle, hops, and wild yam root. The researchers found the extracts to be estrogenic which can be useful for women who prefer to take these as a substitute synthetic estrogen. But they also reported that women who are advised not to take estrogen (due to a high risk of breast cancer for example) should not take these herbs. Rather women who use medicinal herbs should discuss their regime with their physicians and determine if in fact these estrogenic properties are appropriate for their situation.

The researchers looked at how extracts from whole apples affected cancer cells of the colon and liver growing in the laboratory. They found that the extracts, especially those from apples with the skin left on, slowed the growth of cancer cells. Naturally occurring compounds in apples called phenolic acids and flavonoids are likely responsible for antioxidant and possible cancer fighting effects. Sounds like itís time to include an apple as one of your daily 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables.

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