Herbal preparations for the menopause: beyond isoflavones and black cohosh

Maturitas. 2014 Feb;77(2):191-4. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.11.001. Epub 2013 Nov 19.


Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) such as isoflavones and black cohosh are commonly used to deal with menopausal symptoms, but benefit a limited proportion of women. The aim of this minireview is to summarize the evidence of the efficacy and safety of other herbal preparations. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) find that the extracts of Mediterranean pine bark (Pycnogenol(®)), linseed, and Lepididium meyenii (Maca) reduce vasomotor symptoms. The results of RCTs of the hop flavonoid 8-prenylnaringenin are conflicting. Animal and human studies suggest that Dioscorea villosa (Wild yam),and Broccoli may protect against osteoporosis and breast and gynecological cancers but further evidence is required. Linseed may protect against breast cancer but the results are conflicting.

Keywords: Herbal medicine; Menopause; Nutraceutical; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brassicaceae
  • Cimicifuga
  • Dioscorea
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use
  • Flax
  • Hot Flashes / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Humulus
  • Isoflavones
  • Lepidium
  • Menopause*
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vitex


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Flavonoids
  • Isoflavones
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Preparations
  • Vitex agnus castus extract
  • pycnogenols