Menopause-related symptoms: traditional Chinese medicine vs hormone therapy

Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 Jul-Aug;17(4):48-53.


Objective: To compare the therapeutic effect of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM), acupuncture, and hormone therapy on menopause- related symptoms of peri- and postmenopausal women.

Study design: Fifty-seven Chinese women completed 2 months of treatment with either CHM (5 g twice daily, n = 22), acupuncture plus CHM (Kun Bao Wan) 5 g twice daily plus sessions of acupuncture, n = 20), or hormone therapy (n = 15).

Main outcome measures: Kupperman index score, levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol, and the number of symptoms before and after treatment were the main outcome measures.

Results: CHM, acupuncture plus CHM, and hormone therapy significantly decreased Kupperman score (P < .001 in each group) and number of symptoms (P < .05). The mean difference in Kupperman score between baseline and 2 months among the three groups was significantly varied (P = .02). The difference was only between acupuncture plus CHM and CHM with significantly better results by acupuncture plus CHM. Acupuncture plus CHM, as well as hormone therapy, significantly reduced the level of FSH (P < .05), but CHM alone didn't cause any significant decrease in FSH levels (P > .05). The mean difference in the level of FSH between baseline and 2 months among the three groups was significantly different (P = .02). This difference was only between CHM and hormone therapy with significantly better results by hormone therapy. The three treatments didn't make any significant increase in the level of E2 (P > .05).

Conclusion: application of the combination of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture proved as effective as hormone therapy in the treatment of menopause-related symptoms, and it achieved better outcomes than herbal medicine alone.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Adult
  • China
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / administration & dosage*
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / methods*
  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP) / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Hot Flashes / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Menopause*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Women's Health


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP)