Side Effects of Herbs for Menopause?
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Barbara
Posted on: December 8, 1998

I wonder about a vitamin formula for menopause that is fortified with herbs. This product is vitamins, minerals, and has added to it Siberian Ginseng Powder 10 mg, Dong Quai Powder 200mg, in a base of black Cohosh root, Damiana Leaves, and Licorice Root. I have never taken herbs and don’t know what these particular herbs do, or whether they have any side affects. Also wondering if they would intervene with over the counter pain relievers and sinus medications, etc.

Over the counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofin and Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatories can cause intestinal bleeding if taken regularly. Over the counter sinus medications may have serious side effects as well.

It is possible for an individual to have minor side effects with herbs, even when there are no contraindications listed for the herb. If unwanted side effects are experienced, you should stop taking the medication.

Because of its stimulating properties, Siberian Ginseng should not be taken in high blood pressure and should not be taken with coffee. The usual recommended dosage is 250-400 mg daily. Its stimulating properties may be used in menopause to increase energy and to couteract vaginal dryness and thinning.

Dong Quai is used in menopause for its hormone regulating properties. The recommended dosage is 250-500 mg, three times a day. It is safe and non-toxic, but because of the strength of its action it can cause gastric upset. This is unlikely in your case because you are taking it in combination with other herbs.

Black Cohosh is used in menopause as a hormone regulator, as a nervine for tension or depression and an anti-inflammatory for arthritis. It is contraindicated only in pregnancy as it causes uterine contractions. The dosage is 0.3 to 2.0 grams of dried root three times a day.

Damiana is used to lift the spirits. There are no contraindications. The dosage is 1 - 2 teaspoons of an alcoholic tincture, three times a day.

Licorice may be used to regulate hormones. It may cause water retention and increased blood pressure, and should not be used in cases of heart or kidney disease or high blood pressure. The dosage may be up to 750 milligrams of powdered root three times a day.

Excellent books that will provide you with information on menopause are "The Herbal Menopause Book, Herbs, Nutrition and other Natural Therapies" by Amanda McQuade Crawford, "Herbal Healing for Women" by Rosemary Gladstar, both available at Richters, and Susun Weed’s "Menopausal Years", The Wise Woman Way" (Ash Tree Publishing, Woodstock, New York). From these books you will learn why menopausal symptoms occur and how you can deal with them using natural methods.

Please see other answers to questions relating to menopause on our website at http://www.richters.com. Choose "Q&A", then choose "Search Richters Q and A" and enter "menopaus" for the search.

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