Menopause can be a real challenge. Many women struggle with symptoms around the time of their last period. The most common symptoms reported by women include depressive moods, irritability, hot flushes and sleep problems. However, hormone replacement therapy is not an option for many women for fear of an increased risk of breast cancer. Treatment with preparations made from Siberian rhubarb promises to be a gentle herbal alternative. But is it really true? Do these herbal products work without any side effects? Find out here!
Siberian Rhubarb - why it is used for menopause symptoms
The so-called Rhapontic rhubarb is mainly native to the southern parts of Norway and Siberia. It is closely related to the rhubarb that we know from our latitudes and like to use for cakes or jam. However, it has a special feature that makes it indispensable for herbal medicine. Its roots have a very high phytoestrogen content. These natural stilbenes are hormone-like substances that dock onto the estrogen receptors in the human brain. As a result, they help to alleviate the usual symptoms caused by a lack of estrogen during menopause. Numerous studies have already confirmed this effect and products containing Siberian rhubarb are increasingly being prescribed by gynecologists.
Hormones are hormones - or are they?
Now you might ask yourself, if you don't want to take hormones, why should you take plant hormones? Well, the unique thing about phytoestrogens from Siberian rhubarb is the following:
There are two types of receptors for estrogen in the female body - alpha and beta receptors. The alpha receptors stimulate cell growth. As a result, they can trigger the formation of hormone-dependent tumors. The beta receptors, on the other hand, have the opposite effect. They induce cell differentiation and have an antiproliferative effect, which prevents the formation of tumors. The plant-based oestrogens in Siberian rhubarb appear to target only the beta-receptors for oestrogen.
In contrast, classic hormone replacement therapy addresses both estrogen receptors. This means that although the unpleasant symptoms of the menopause are counteracted, the risk of breast cancer is also increased.
Choosing the herbal alternative therefore provides symptom relief without the negative side effects of hormone therapy.
The effects of phytohormones on a global scale
Siberian rhubarb is not the only plant that contains phytoestrogens. They can also be found in red clover, yam and soy, for example. The latter in particular is an integral part of the traditional diet in Asian countries. This is attributed to the fact that Asian women are statistically much less likely to complain of menopausal symptoms and are also less likely to develop breast cancer.
However, the increasing globalization and western orientation of Asian countries is further reducing this difference. Nevertheless, it has been found that isoflavones from soy help to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurring after treatment. This is attributed to the fact that they activate the oestrogen receptors. Increased iodine consumption in the form of fish in these countries is also thought to be a favorable factor.
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