Wednesday Bubble

Posted by on Aug 6, 2008 in herbal medicine, hot flash, nightsweats | 0 comments

I’m starting a new feature on Flashfree called the Wednesday Bubble. Every Wednesday, I plan to shed light on a popular misconception about a menopausal treatment or symptom, discuss research that proves or disproves a theory or simply highlight an important thought for hump day.

Onto today’s bubble!

In a recent post, I posted evidence debunking the beneficial effects of HRT with regard to pain during intercourse. Now, a Chinese herbal preparation has been shown to be ineffective.

Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong have confirmed that the Chinese medicine herbal preparation, Dang Gui Buxue Tang (which contains the herbs Dang Gui and Huang Qi), has little effect on menopausal vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.

Chinese herbal medicines containing Dang Gui and Huang Qi are commonly used in China for menopausal symptoms.  Neither preparation has undergone rigorous Western testing for efficacy or safety.

Over a 6-month period, 100 women with acute menopausal symptoms took either Dang Gui Buxue Tang or placebo.  The researchers found no difference in the frequency of mild, moderate or severe hot flashes between the study groups. In fact, Dang Gui Buxue Tang was found to be superior to placebo only for mild hot flashes. The researchers concluded that while Dang Gui Buxue Tang may be perceived as being beneficial for treating vasomotor symptoms, it is actually no better than placebo.

The placebo effect has been studied far and wide. Recently, it was attributed to the brain’s expectation of a future reward, meaning that if you think it, it will be. The findings of this particular study were interesting because the researchers actually expected these results. Keep in mind, however, that there are plenty of Chinese herbal medicine preparations that proving to be useful for menopausal symptoms. The most important consideration is that if you are considering using Chinese herbal medicine, consider the source. This means that you should consult a licensed practitioner and be sure any preparation you use is targeted for you and not simply purchased off the shelf or online without some sort of directive.

I want to hear from you. Let me know how you feel about the Wednesday Bubble. And if you have an idea for one, be sure to email me and let me know!

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