(NaturalNews) Phytoestrogens contained in the Siberian rhubarb plant may help ease the symptoms of menopause, according to a company that markets an extract derived from the plant.
Phytoestrogens are marketed as alternatives for women who seek to ease the symptoms of menopause but who are wary of equine-derived hormone replacement therapy, which has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke and death.
Citing a 2009 study published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, the manufacturer of the product Estrovera claims that it can reduce the severity of hot flashes and night sweats just as effectively as low doses of estrogen. The company claims that Estrovera also reduces the severity of other symptoms of menopause, including mood changes, musculoskeletal problems, sleep disruption and vaginal dryness.
The 2009 study measured symptoms in 112 women between the ages of 45 and 55 who were undergoing menopause and were experiencing moderate or severe symptoms. Half the women were assigned to take one tablet per day containing ERr 731, the active ingredient in Estrovera, while the other half were assigned to take a placebo. Within one week, symptoms had improved in the ERr 731 group, and improvement continued over the entire 12-week study. No significant side effects were noted in that time period.
Although the 2009 study was of relatively short duration, other studies of ERr 731 have showed similar results for periods as long as nearly two years.
Nevertheless, adverse effects associated with hormone replacement therapy often do not emerge until women had been using the therapy for significantly longer. And while no changes in vaginal or uterine tissue have been detected in women taking Estrovera, no long-term studies have been conducted on any breast- or uterine cancer risk associated with the supplement.
ERr 731 has been available in Germany since 1993. It is now available in the United States from distributor Metagenics. Women should consult a doctor before beginning any form of hormone replacement therapy.