The use of herbs and dietary supplements in gynecology: an evidence-based review

J Midwifery Womens Health. Nov-Dec 2006;51(6):402-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2006.01.004.


Consumers frequently use herbs and dietary supplements to treat chronic conditions that are poorly responsive to prescription drugs or when prescription drugs carry a high side effect burden. Women may use herbs and supplements for chronic gynecologic conditions, such as menopause, premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrhea, cyclic mastalgia, and infertility. This review is an evidence-based evaluation of herbs and supplements for these conditions. Therapies that carry a higher level of support from randomized controlled trial evidence include black cohosh for menopause; vitamins B(1) and E for dysmenorrhea; calcium, vitamin B(6), and chasteberry for premenstrual syndrome; and chasteberry for cyclic mastalgia. There were too few trials involving herbs and supplements in infertility to warrant a solid recommendation, but chasteberry, antioxidants, and Fertility Blend have some preliminary support. Midwives may want to consider these alternatives in addition to more traditional treatment options when meeting with patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dysmenorrhea / therapy
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / therapy
  • Life Style
  • Menopause
  • Menorrhagia / therapy
  • Menstruation Disturbances / therapy
  • Midwifery / organization & administration*
  • Phytotherapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Women's Health*