Seems like I’ve heard a lot of talk about dong quai lately. This traditional Chinese herb is popular for treating menstrual and menopause problems… but does it work?
Doctors suspect that hot flashes are related to changes in circulation. Blood vessels near the skin’s surface dilate in an attempt to cool the body — that can create a flushed look in the face. Your body may turn on the sweat to help you cool down. Hot flashes may be triggered by caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, and spicy foods. Stress can also be a trigger for hot flashes.
A recent study in Israel says dong quai is a winner when it comes to treating hot flashes. Twenty-five women took an herbal supplement that contained dong quai; almost half of them said that their hot flashes disappeared! In the placebo group, only nineteen percent reported relief. But it wasn’t just dong quai that the women were taking. The herbal supplement also contained black cohosh.
Black cohosh is a member of the buttercup family common in North America. It is commonly known as black snakeroot, bugwort, rattletop, and rattleweed. A compound in black cohosh seems to have estrogenic activity — that means it acts like estrogen does in the body. If black cohosh acts like estrogen does, it can help relieve menopause symptoms caused by hormonal fluctuations without forcing you to resort to hormone replacement therapy.
Was it the black cohosh or the dong quai that quelled hot flashes? Or was it both?
If you’d like to try a natural supplement to relieve hot flashes, look for a multi-herb blend. Try to find a supplement that includes both black cohosh and dong quai. Other herbs that may be helpful include red clover, American ginseng, milk thistle, flaxseed, and evening primrose oil.