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Rhodiola & Menopause

iStock-906631792Results of a randomized and controlled trial suggest that Rhodiola rosea may be able to reduce menopausal symptoms, at least in combination with black cohosh (BC, Actaea racemosa). Published in Pharmaceuticals, this placebo-controlled 4-arm parallel-group study enrolled 220 women experiencing symptoms of menopause (confirmed with low estradiol and elevated FSH levels) and randomly assigned them to one of 4 arms; low dose BC (13 mg), high dose BC (1000 mg), low dose BC and 400 mg rhodiola, or placebo (all dosages are daily totals).

Several indices were used to assess menopausal symptoms, evaluated at both 6 weeks and 12 weeks, including the Kupperman Menopausal Index (KMI), Menopause Relief Score (MRS), and menopause Utian Quality of Life (UQOL) index. By 12 weeks all groups had significant improvements compared to placebo; the largest improvement was in the group receiving both botanicals, which had a reduction in the KMI score of 71.2% compared to baseline. The groups receiving low and high-dose BC had reductions of 50.5% and 59.1%, respectively, and the placebo group had a 26.3% reduction. No significant difference was observed between the two doses of BC. Similar treatment effects were found using each menopausal index, with the combination clearly having the greatest effect on reducing menopausal symptoms and improving quality of life (QOL). The subdomains of QOL related to emotional health and sexual activity were particularly improved by the botanical combination.

This study was consistent with an adaptogenic stress-relieving effect of rhodiola, as well as experimental data suggesting it may have specific benefits for menopausal symptoms. Whether it has this effect alone or only in combination with BC remains to be seen.

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