oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - Use of alternative medicine by menopausal women : clinical

Volume 73, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2221-5875
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1017



Many users of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) also use conventional medicine. <br>Botanical therapies, which are mostly herbs, are used to treat menopausal conditions. The most studied of the botanicals for menopause related conditions are phyto-oestrogens. Phyto-oestrogens are non-steroidal diphenolic plant compounds that have oestrogen-like biological activity or are metabolised into compounds with oestrogenic activity. Phyto-oestrogens have a high affinity to bind with the betaoestrogen receptor but a low affinity for the alpha receptor. They can act like a selective oestrogen receptor modulator (SERM). <br>Isoflavones, found especially in soy beans and red clover, are the main class of phyto-oestrogens used to treat menopausal conditions. <br>Randomised controlled trials considered in this article show that generally results are mixed. The mode of action of preparations made from black cohosh appears to be dopaminergic rather than oestrogenic. <br>Wild yam creams, marketed as progesterone precursors or balancing formulas, only have progestogenic effects if their diosgenin has been hemisynthetically converted to progesterone or the latter has been added. Although they are absorbed, these creams do not provide endometrial protection. <br>Health practitioners need to be knowledgeable about CAM and must question their patients about the use of herbal preparations because of possible interactions and side-effects outlined in this article.

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