Phytotherapy as Alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy

Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2011 Jan 1;3:191-204. doi: 10.2741/s144.


Phytoestrogens are a group of non-steroidal compounds of plant origin that present structural and functional similarities with estradiol. Isoflavones are their most widely known category. There are different mechanisms of action of isoflavones accepted, although they may be considered as selective modulators of estrogen receptors. On the other hand, Cimicifuga Racemosa is a perennial plant used traditionally for problems related to menstruation. Its action mechanisms have not been totally identified. There is a growing interest in the usefulness of phytotherapy in the treatment of symptoms and menopause-related diseases. Isoflavones and Cimicifuga Racemosa moderately improve vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women, particularly in those who have a greater number of hot flushes. Furthermore, trials performed with soy isoflavones have observed a reduction of the loss of bone mineral density in postmenopausal women and a slight decrease in LDL cholesterol. In short, phytotherapy will constitute a therapeutic option that can offer assistance to women who want to improve their quality of life through relief of vasomotor symptoms or benefit from other effects for their health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cimicifuga / chemistry*
  • Endometrium / drug effects
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology
  • Isoflavones / therapeutic use*
  • Menopause / drug effects*
  • Phytoestrogens / pharmacology
  • Phytoestrogens / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vasomotor System / drug effects


  • Isoflavones
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Plant Extracts