Herbs for Menopause

Herbs for menopause.
If you have to ask why,
you wouldn’t understand anyway


Hot flashes? Excess bleeding during the transition to menopause? Herbs for menopause in many cases should be your first choice for safe and effective medical treatment. I believe that hormone replacement should be considered the “alternative medicine” to be used only when herbal remedies fail. Adding hormones after menopause is just too risky in my medical opinion, and raises the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. Let’s talk about common problems and their herbal medications.

What about those hot flashes? While these tend to diminish over time for most women, and remain severe only in early menopause, they can remain severe for many years for some women. And even the early months and years when they are more intense make a normal home and work life almost impossible for many. Among all the herbal medications I recommend at menopause, black cohosh is the one I most trust to diminish hot flashes. This herbal medication has been studied for years and found to be effective in relieving symptoms. I recommend a dose of 40 mg daily, either single or divided, of a standardized extract. For most women, a six month duration of treatment is sufficient.

Excess vaginal bleeding around the time of early menopause can be quite a problem. First let me emphasize the importance of a proper diagnosis with unexplained vaginal bleeding in mid-life. Your gynecologist or family physician needs to know about this and may recommend an examination or tests. Unexplained bleeding could represent something as serious as uterine cancer, so do not ignore this sign or take herbal remedies without a medical consult. After serious causes have been ruled out, then herbs are appropriate to consider. The best one I know of for excess vaginal bleeding is shepherds purse (bursa pastoris). This can stop (or slow) excess bleeding in just a few days or less. The usual recommended dose is around 500 mg of extract 2 or 3 times daily until bleeding is relieved.

There are other herbs for menopause, but are generally remedies which could be used by females in other stages of life or men also, so I include them only as a brief mention. Ginseng (Asian or American) and Eleuthero can both address fatigue and stress, common at this time of life. And valerian, passion flower and chamomile can address insomnia. Learn more about herbal medications for insomnia. 

So at midlife, herbs for menopause are often your first and best choice. Reach for prescriptions only as a last resort if these effective natural remedies do not succeed.

for your health and wellness,


Robert Pendergrast, M.D.

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