If you are wanting some relief from the symptoms of the menopause, but do not want to use HRT, then this article outlines some herbal supplements as alternative. As well as advice on diet and exercise.
What Are The Natural Alternatives to HRT?
There are several herbal options for management of the menopause and its symptoms. “However, before you rush out to buy such medication it’s important to ensure that it is properly quality controlled and regulated,” says Dr David Edwards, a GP and specialist in female sexual dysfunction. “Make such that it has THR and a nine-figure number on the outside of the packet.”
Black cohosh is a traditional herbal medicine used for the relief of menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats and temporary changes in mood such as nervous irritability and restlessness.
“A six-month randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial in 48 postmenopausal women with sleep disturbance aged 45-60 years found that black cohosh effectively improved sleep compared with placebo ,” says Dr Edwards. In a further study, black cohosh was shown to reduce menopausal symptoms more than placebo but was devoid of oestrogenic adverse effects. 
St John's Wort
St John’s Wort is a natural remedy for low mood, mild depression and anxiety, which are often symptoms of the menopause.
“Black cohosh combined with St John’s Wort provides the benefits of black cohosh and the St John’s Wort is included for low mood and mild anxiety, which many menopausal women experience,” says Dr Edwards.
In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 301 women experiencing menopausal complaints with psychological complaints, the menopausal rating scale fell by 50 per cent in the group treated with black cohosh and St John’s Wort, and a depression rating scale fell by 41.6 per cent. Both these reductions were significant compared with placebo. 
“Another traditional herbal medicine used for temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress, including fatigue, exhaustion and mild anxiety all of which are common menopausal symptoms is Rhodiola rosea,” says Dr Edwards.
A multi-centre four-week trial in 101 people with life stress symptoms found that all measures of stress, both subjective and objective, improved with the herbal remedy. Improvement began after 1-3 days and continued over 1-4 weeks. 
“A recent review of this herbal remedy concluded that Rhodiola rosea influences the release of stress hormones to normal levels while boosting energy metabolism. 
I have had many positive outcomes following my research in recommending Rhodiola rosea to patients,” adds Dr Edwards.
Don’t forget that eating a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly broccoli, sprouts and carrots, is the cornerstone to maintaining healthy hormone balance. As important, is including soya lentils, chickpeas, flaxseeds, oats and wholegrain rice which all contain phytoestrogens. These are plant-based foods which help to balance hormones and provide oestrogenic ‘activity’ where required.
If you are suffering from anxiety, low mood or depression, an alternative method of lifting your mood is exercise. Exercise leads to the production of endorphins, or ‘feel good’ hormones, that lift your mood. Being outside when you exercise enhances this effect. Avoiding alcohol, which can trigger low mood, is another option.
Choose Quality Supplements
If you are considering an alternative method of treatment, make sure you choose a product which carries the THR kite mark as this guarantees quality, safety and includes approved dosage information in-pack. Ask your GP or pharmacist for advice if you're thinking about using a complementary therapy, to ensure any remedy you are trying doesn’t interact with medication you may already be on, causing side effects.
Below are some herbal supplements from Schwabe & Nature’s Way that may help relieve menopause symptoms.
MenoHerb Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh is found in MenoHerb Black Cohosh Menopause Relief, a traditional herbal medicine used for the relief of menopause symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats and temporary changes in mood such as nervous irritability and restlessness, exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy.
MenoHerb is suitable for vegetarians and free from gluten, wheat, sugar and soya. Always read the label.
The unique combination of Black Cohosh and St John’s Wort in MenoMood Menopause Mood Relief, is a traditional herbal medicine used for the relief of menopause symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, slightly low mood and mild anxiety, exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy.
MenoMood is suitable for vegetarians and free from gluten, wheat and soya. Always read the label.
Rhodiola rosea can be found in Vitano® Rhodiola tablets, a traditional herbal medicine used for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion and mild anxiety, exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy.
Vitano® is suitable for vegetarians and vegans and is free from lactose, gluten, wheat, soya, corn and sugar. Always read the label.
Understanding Your Changing Hormone Levels
The menopause is a challenging time for a lot of women, which is why it can be helpful to understand the hormonal changes that are happening in your body. This will help you better manage your symptoms.
Our menopause test is for women at various stages of the menopause and measures the key hormones associated with the symptoms of the menopause. It also measures biomarkers key to your bone and heart health – two areas that women going through the menopause need to manage to stay healthy in later life.