Hot flashes and sweats are common for postmenopausal women. While hormone therapy and antidepressants may be used to treat symptoms, Chinese herbs may offer another approach.
Dang Gui Buxue Tang (DBT) is a traditional Chinese medicine herbal formula that has been used for centuries to treat ailments in women.
New Chinese research has confirmed that DBT may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats without any noticeable side effects.
Made from just two herbs, DBT is combination of ingredients extracted from the Astragalus and Angelica roots. In Chinese medicine, DBT is believed to replenish blood. It has been used to treat menses symptoms and anemia.
Chi Chiu Wang, MD, with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and fellow researchers studied the effects of the herbal remedy on 60 postmenopausal women experiencing severe hot flashes and night sweats.
Over the course of 12 weeks, patients either received 1.5, 3 or 6 grams of DBT per day.
The frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats were significantly reduced for patients who were taking either 3 grams or 6 grams of Dang Gui Buxue Tang per day.
Those taking 3 grams had a 15 percent to 21 percent reduction in hot flashes and 29 percent to 40 percent reduction in night sweats, while those taking 6 grams had a 35 percent to 37 percent reduction in hot flashes and 10 percent to 13 percent reduction in night sweats.
There were no differences observed in hormones and lipid profiles among the patients, and no serious adverse events were noted.
“It makes sense that the combination of the two herbs in this study help with menopausal symptoms, as Astragalus stimulates the adrenal glands (a secondary source of sex hormones) and Angelica is highly anti inflammatory,” said Alexandra Reimann, ND, a naturopathic doctor at the Valhalla Wellness and Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. “This study gives merit to what the Chinese have been doing for thousands of years.”
Many natural remedies are available on the market that are said to help menopausal symptoms. For example, some believe the phytoestrogens in soy and soy products could provide a beneficial hormonal boost to postmenopausal women.
Scientific studies about herbal remedy use for menopause have been limited. The American College of Obstetricians (ACOG), however, does have guidelines about the most popular “alternative” medicines for menopause, including St. John’s wort, black cohosh, chasteberry, evening primrose, valerian root, ginseng, wild and Mexican yam, and red clover.
The study was in September in the journal Menopause, the journal of the North American Journal Society. No conflicts of interest were noted.