An Associated Press article released today in national US newspapers confirms what I have been saying for years: Herbs don’t work.
A study published yesterday in the Annals of Internal Mediciine, funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, proved that black cohosh, one of the favorite herbal remedies for menopausal symptoms, just didn’t work and was unable to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
A second cocktail of herbs, consisting of black cohosh, alfalfa, licorice and ginseng also failed to have any effects on the symptoms of menopause.
Menopausal symptoms primarily consist of hot flashes and night sweats.
Only the group that took hormones (which were undefined in the AP article) demonstrated an improvement in their menopausal symptoms.
So what does this mean? Herbal remedies do not work and will never work for any condition that is caused by a hormone deficiency. Menopause is caused by a hormone deficiency. Most doctors believe that menopause is caused by a deficiency in estrogen alone.
However, our experience shows that menopausal symptoms are caused by more than one hormone. Both estrogen and progesterone appear to have a role in this.
The correct way to treat a condition that is caused by a hormone deficiency is to replenish the particular hormone that is deficient. This is no different, for example, than for migraine headaches, another condition that is caused by a deficiency of hormones.
What mainstream medicine has not figured out, however, is that a hormone deficiency must be treated with the exact, bio-identical hormone in order to properly replenish it. Unfortunately, the modern medical world usually prescribes synthetic hormone drugs that are chemically altered substitutes instead of the natural hormone.
Major side effects occur whenever synthetic hormone substitutes are used instead of the natural hormone alternative. This is why traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been a miserable failure and may have actually caused or promoted possibly millions of cases of breast, uterine and ovarian cancers over the last 50 years.
The symptoms of menopause are actually quite simple to treat through natural or bio-identical hormones. Mainstream medicine will have to catch up with the pioneers of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy which is already curing maladies like uterine fibroids, PMS, migraine headaches, ovarian cysts and menopause.
Andrew Jones, M.D.
Medical Director, Women’s Health Institute of Texas