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Fiber and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have at least modestwhole and crushed flax seeds antihypertensive benefits but research on flax seeds for this purpose have been conflicting. Flax seed constituents include fiber, an omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the peptide KCI-F1, and perhaps its most well-known component, the lignans. The purpose of this research was to do a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of flaxseed on blood pressure in humans.

Databases were searched for randomized trials and blood pressure, using flaxseeds. Studies that were selected for inclusion in the review and meta-analysis were those that had a flaxseed and a control group, a duration of at least 2 weeks and those with a case-control or crossover design.

Out of the 622 studies that the search yielded, 15 studies met the inclusion criteria and were thus included in the meta-analysis which then had a total of 1302 subjects. A total of 618 were treated with flaxseed, 140 were treated with other therapies and 544 with placebo. Studies included spanned Canada, Brazil, China, India, Australia, Denmark, Finland and Greece.

The formulas used in these 15 trials were either 1.2-15 gm/day of alpha linoleic acid (ALA) flaxseed oil, 360-600 mg/day of flax lignan extract or 28-60 gm/day of flaxseed powder and studies ranged from 4 to 12 weeks.

Commentary: This meta-analysis showed that only the flaxseed powder treatment had a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and that the flaxseed powder and flax oil had a significant effect on reducing diastolic blood pressure. Lignan extract therefore had no effect on either systolic or diastolic blood pressure and that the flax oil only had an effect on reducing diastolic blood pressure.

Some of the studies had a small number of individuals in the studies, a lack of homogeneity in the study subjects, and the variety of doses and forms and even kind of flax seeds used (brown or golden seeds)

In this meta-analysis, there was a decrease of 2.85 systolic pressure and 2.39 diastolic pressure with the flax seeds. A decrease of 3.3/1.4 mmHg has been associated with a 22% decline of relative risk of cardiovascular mortality and this meta-analysis is showing the flax seeds could be meaningful in reducing death from cardiovascular disease.

There are many reasons to include flaxseed powder in the diet (ex/constipation, irritable bowel, breast health, cardiovascular mortality, polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin resistance), and specifically a small but meaningful effect on lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. An easy method of delivery is to add 30 gm-60 gm/day(2-4 Tablespoons) to your smoothie.

Ursoniu S, Sahebkar A, Andrica F, Serban C, Banach M; Lipid and Blood Pressure Meta-analysis Collaboration (LBPMC) Group. Effects of flaxseed supplements on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trial. Clin Nutr. May 29, 2015; [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2015.05.012.

stomach discomfortThe term functional dyspepsia refers to indigestion problems that are unrelated to esophageal reflux, heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome. Symptoms typically occur with eating and include upper abdominal discomfort or pains, bloating, nausea, lack of appetite and feeling full quickly when eating. Ginger and artichoke have a long traditional history of being used to treat these kinds of complaints. The current randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial was done to investigate this botanical combination in men and women with functional dyspepsia.

This study, conducted in Italy, assured that the participants did not have heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome, were not taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, had no history of gastrointestinal surgery, gastrointestinal ulcers, Helicobacter pylori nor were pregnant. The treatment protocol included 100 mg of artichoke and 20 mg of ginger in a gelatin capsule. Each participant took 1 capsule before lunch and one before dinner or placebo for 4 weeks. Patients rated their symptoms as no improvement or worse, slight improvement, marked improvement or completely improved, and they noted changes in stomach fullness, bloating, feeling full easily, nausea, vomiting and upper stomach pain. They had 4 clinic visits over a period of 4 weeks.
A total of 126 met the entrance criteria including 19 men and 46 women in the treatment group and 20 men and 41 women in the placebo group. All participants completed the study. The placebo group did have higher ratings of bloating, easy satiety and stomach pain scores before the study started.
Results: After 4 weeks of treatment, 63.1% in the ginger-artichoke group showed functional dyspepsia scores of marked or complete improvement compared with 24.6% of participants in the placebo group. After 2 weeks, the herbal group showed a significant improvement in the overall functional dyspepsia score and there was no improvement in any of those in the placebo group. There was also a significant reduction specifically in both nausea and stomach pain scores in the botanical group while symptoms actually increased in the placebo group, and especially for vomiting.

Commentary: The study results clearly show the effectiveness of the combination of ginger and artichoke in alleviating symptoms of functional dyspepsia, and those symptoms improved after 2 weeks and continued to the end of the 4 week study. It is thought that these herbs improve motility in the digestive tract, improve the emptying of the stomach and decrease nausea/vomiting. The gingerol compounds in ginger have previously shown to have this effect on nausea and vomiting— due to multiple causes (dyspepsia, pregnancy, motion sickness, medications and post-surgery). My clinical experience with these two herbs, and often in combination with broad spectrum digestive enzymes in combination with other traditional gastrointestinal herbs such as milk thistle, gentian, dandelion root, yellow dock root, burdock root, fennel, chamomile and cardamom holds a lot of relief and treatment for most individuals when functional dyspepsia is the accurate diagnosis.

Giacosa A, Guido D, Grassi M, et al. The effect of ginger (Zingiber officinalis [sic]) and artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) extract supplementation on functional dyspepsia: a randomised, double-blind, and placebo-controlled clinical trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:915087

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is defined as the cyclic physical symptoms andGround turmeric and rhizomes mood change which start sometime from mid-cycle to the end of the menses but then ends either with the onset of menses or by the end of menses. Changes in neurotransmitters and prostaglandins are the primary physiological issues of PMS. Curcumin studies demonstrate its ability to reduce prostaglandin synthesis and animal studies demonstrate an action of curcumin in modulating serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine thus exerting an antidepressant effect. Based on these observations of curcumin and the role of prostaglandins and neurotransmitters in the etiology of PMS, a study on curcumin was conducted to evaluate the effects on the severity of premenstrual mood, behavior and physical symptoms.

This randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study was in healthy 21-35 years old women with regular menstrual cycles who had at least 5 symptoms of 19 on a PMS questionnaire. The women who met the criteria for a PMS diagnosis, were then randomly assigned to two groups with 35 in each. Group one received curcumin 100 mg every 12 hours from 7 days before and until 3 days after the onset of menstrual bleeding and for 3 consecutive menstrual cycles. Group two received placebo in the same regimen. Four women in the placebo group and 3 in the curcumin group did not complete the study.

Total severity of PMS score reduced from 102.6 to 42.47 with a mean change of 59.59 in the curcumin group. In the placebo group, the total severity of PMS score changed from 106.06 to 91.60 with a mean change of 14.45. The difference between the two was significant.

Commentary: PMS is one of the most common health problems in women of reproductive age. Premenstrual mental/emotional symptoms of irritability, anxiety, aggression, depression and changes in concentration and are thought to be primarily due to the central role of serotonin changes in PMS. The normal progesterone and estradiol decline in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle result in withdrawal of the hormonal effects on serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Laboratory studies and animal studies have confirmed that curcumin is able to modulate norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin and affect the inflammatory pathways. In addition to the neurotransmitters, the production of prostaglandin E2 is likely involved in some of the physical PMS symptoms such as pain, swelling and inflammation such as breast pain and engorgement, headaches, extremity edema and others. It is the understanding of the role of neurotransmitters and prostaglandins in PMS, and the observation of the influence of curcumin on neurotransmitters and prostaglandins that led to the theory that curcumin could be helpful in treating PMS.

Curcumin has not been on my treatment option list for PMS. We have many excellent natural therapies that have been researched with good effects in PMS including calcium, vitamin B6, St. John’s Wort, Chaste tree berry, evening primrose oil, and tryptophan. I will now be thinking of PMS cases in which I might add curcumin to my use of the other nutrients and herbs. I will likely start with cases in which there is significant premenstrual physical pains.

One of the disappointments of this study was that no information was given as to the amount of curcuminoids in the product, only that it was 100 mg of curcumin.


Khayat S, Fanaei H, Kheirkhah M, et al. Curcumin attenuates severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2015; 23: 318-324

clip_image002Simple respiratory infections include sinus infections and the common cold and up to about 80% of the time they are self-limiting. Up to 20% are complicated and lead to bronchitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, conjunctivitis, otitis, pharyngitis or bacterial sinusitis. Prevention of respiratory tract infections is a desired goal of course but often frequent hand washing, healthy eating, regular exercise and fresh air and not smoking are not enough. Here is where one of the valued aspects of Echinacea comes in. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) is used for the prevention and treatment of respiratory tract infections, as well as some other uses, and previous published studies have shown that Echinacea has anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immunomodulatory effects.

The purpose of this current meta-analysis was to evaluate the efficacy of Echinacea on respiratory tract recurrent and complications from these infections and specifically to see if 2-4 months of Echinacea products could prevent recurrent respiratory tract infections which of course then also prevents complications.

A comprehensive literature search was done and specifically randomized, placebo-controlled trials using Echinacea preparations in healthy individuals over 2-4 months for prevention of respiratory tract infections. Of the 101 clinical trials that were found, 89 did not meet the full inclusion criteria. Of the 12 remaining, 6 were eliminated due to methodology or test materials. Two of these 6 studies reported significant benefits of Echinacea treatment, with a relative risk of 0.663 and 0.734 (a relative risk of < 1 means that a respiratory tract infection is less likely to recur in those taking Echinacea vs. those taking placebo). In four studies that included cases and data on those having at least one recurrent respiratory tract infection, the relative risk was also < 1. When comparing the alcohol extracts with the pressed Echinacea juices, there was a more pronounced effect from the alcohol extracts. In the largest study, there was not only a reduction in respiratory tract infections, there were less viral infections in the nasal passages and corresponded to a 58% reduction in the risk of viral re-infection. In individuals with recurrent respiratory tract infections and who had risk factors such as stress, poor sleep and were active smokers, the benefits were even greater. Data from 3 of the studies also demonstrated that there was a statistically significant relative risk for complications such as conjunctivitis, otitis media, tonsillitis and sinusitis and even a 64.9% reduction in pneumonia in those taking Echinacea products. Of additional importance, antibiotic use declined in three studies in those using Echinacea compared with control groups or standard treatments.

In summary, this meta-analysis demonstrates that Echinacea containing products significantly reduce the risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections in healthy individuals and in those with risk factors.

Reference: Schapowal A, Klein P, Johnston S. Echinacea reduces the risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections and complications: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Adv Ther. 2015;32(3):187-200.

Gingivitis (a reversible inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (a gumsdestructive non reversible condition resulting in loss of the connective tissue attachment of the tooth to the bone) are oral inflammatory infections. Periodontitis is thought to be caused by an immune response stimulated by plaque around the margins of the gingiva. One way that the white blood cells contribute to the periodontitis is likely by releasing proteolytic enzymes and reactive oxygen species (ROS). There is also some suggestion that the periodontal inflammation might be associated with oxidative stress as well. Other research has shown that CoQ10 is an antioxidant and that there is a deficiency of CoQ10 in the gingiva of individuals with periodontitis.

The current study was a randomized, double-blind, controlled, parallel group clinical trial. A total of 30 non-smokers (14 women and 16 men), who had a plaque index score of > 2 and a gingival index score of > 2 with at least three non-adjacent interproximal sites with a pocket depth of > 5 were enrolled in the study. Individuals were randomized into the test group in which they took oral CoQ10 120 mg/day after scaling and root planing and the control group, in which patients received an oral placebo after scaling and root planing. The oral supplement or placebo was given for 3 months and did not use any mouthwash. The plaque index, gingival index and probing were done at baseline, one month and 3 months of the study period.

Results: Both groups showed marked reduction of the periodontal parameters at one month and three months. There was no significant difference in plaque index and pocket depth between the two groups. However, in the CoQ10 group, there was a significant difference in gingival inflammation at one month and 3 months compared to the placebo group.

Commentary: Bacterial plaque is the primary cause of periodontal disease and it is currently thought that the majority of periodontal tissue destruction is caused by an insufficient host response to the plaque bacteria and their products. Responsible mechanisms include an imbalance between proteolytic enzymes and their inhibitors, and an insufficient antioxidant defense to reactive oxygen species. Past research on CoQ10 has included improved oral hygiene plus CoQ10 and topical application of CoQ10 to periodontal pockets. Past research demonstrated that CoQ10 had anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects as well as reduced bleeding of the gums. It may in fact be the anti-inflammatory properties of CoQ10 rather than the anti-oxidant properties. The current study supports that point of view and/or a possible deficiency of gingival CoQ10 in that while there was no difference in the plaque index and pocket depth between the oral CoQ10 group and placebo, there was a significant reduction in gingival inflammation in the oral CoQ10 group.

Reference: Manthena S, Venkata M, Rao R, et al. Effectiveness of CoQ10 oral supplements as an adjunct to scaling and root planning in improving periodontal health. J Clinical and Diagnostic Research 2015; 9(8): 26-28

This study included 45 women with ages 18-65 and a mean age of 41.5 yearselderly woman sad, anxious, who were in remission from their depression but who suffered from antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction (AISD). Patients received either 1500 mg Maca root or placebo twice daily for 12 weeks. Sexual function was evaluated using common research questionnaires and scales.

These women met the criteria for depression/anxiety and were in remission. These were patients on current and stable doses of venlafaxine or a tri-heterocyclic antidepressant for depression for at least 4 weeks. They also had clinically significant arousal dysfunction or orgasmic dysfunction of 4 weeks or less and the onset of these symptoms had to coincide with the subsequent use of their anti-depressant. In addition, they participated in regular sexual activity at least twice monthly prior to anti-depressant use and needed to be open to continued sexual activity at least once weekly during the study.

The main goal of the study was to see if there were improvements in sexual function using the questionnaires and scales to evaluate.

The mean change in questionnaires and scales for Maca vs. placebo was not statistically significant overall, whether premenopausal or postmenopausal women. The remission rates however were higher for the Maca group than the placebo group for those who had started with less severe sexual dysfunction issues. The higher remission rates occurred in postmenopausal women and the premenopausal women had no significant difference in remission rates between treatment groups on both of the sexual function questionnaires.

It was only the postmenopausal women who were taking the Maca who had an improvement in orgasm compared with placebo and only premenopausal women taking the Maca who had an improvement in arousal disorder compared with placebo. On one questionnaire, there was also a significant correlation between the testosterone levels and reported sexual functioning with a trend toward a significant effect on the second evaluation scale. No other significant differences were seen in the other hormones that were tested, including estrogen.

Commentary: This is good news….. Maca root, in this dose of 1,500 mg twice daily may alleviate antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction specifically in postmenopausal women. It appears that the explanation for this, at least in part, is due to the Maca root altering testosterone levels.

Reference: Dording C, Schettler P, Dalton E, et al. A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of maca root as treatment for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in women. Evid Based Complment Altern Med 2015;Article ID 949036 9 pages

Prevention of falling is one of the main ways of preventing fractures related to osteoporosis. And, it makes sense that exercise programs that support muscle strength and balance, would lower the risk for a fall in elderly individuals. Improving eyesight helps too. There have been randomized trials that have shown that an exercise program that emphasizes balance does indeed lower the risk for falls in elderly housing, but these studies have not had some of the statistical strength that is often desired as a gold standard. In this current study, done at multiple centers in France, 706 women ages 75-85 who had decreased balance or compromised gait and were still living in their own homes, were randomly assigned to a 2 year balance training program or no such program. The balance training program consisted of a weekly supervised group session which was then augmented with an individual home exercise program.

Senior woman sitting on ball and exercising with dumbbellsIn the balance training program group, there were significantly fewer injurious falls than in the control group. In those women who had a serious fall (fracture or head injury and hospitalization, joint dislocation or laceration and surgical repair), 68 occurred in the treatment group and 87 in the non-treatment group. After 2 years, women in the balance training program had significantly better balance and gait testing than women in the no treatment group.

Commentary: Having a fall that causes a fracture and especially a hip fracture, is one of those life-changing events for a high percentage of elderly women. Not only is there a risk of dying due to the fall and associated complications, there is often a health decline and premature need to be in a nursing home situation. This study confirms and encourages us as to the importance of balance training programs to reduce the incidence of falls in elderly women who are at risk for falls.

Reference: El-Khoury F, et al. Effectiveness of two year balance training program on prevention of fall induced injuries in at risk women aged 75-85 living in community: Ossebo randomized controlled trial. BMJ 2015;July 22; h3830.

There is a robust amount of published research, including major clinical trials, on the ability of the Mediterranean diet (MeDiet) to protect against cardiovascular disease —now, according to results from the PREDIMED trial, it might also prevent breast cancer. One can easily read the specifics of the MeDiet on the internet and some excellent books, but this diet is basically an abundance of plant foods, fish, and olive oil. The PREDIMED study —was stopped early in 2009, due to the cardiovascular benefits of the MeDiet compared with a low-fat diet. A secondary outcome on breast cancer incidence how now been released. The results suggest that a benefit of the MeDiet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil provides primary prevention of breast cancer. This is the first randomized trial to see the effect of a long-term dietary regimen on breast cancer incidence. In 4282 postmenopausal women, and with a follow-up of 4.8Olive oil years, the observed rates for breast cancer were 1.1 for those on the MeDiet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (1 liter per week for the woman and her family), 1.8 for MeDiet with supplemented nuts (mixed nuts=walnuts 15 g, hazelnuts 7.5 g, and almonds 7.5 g), and 2.9 for those women on a low-fat diet. The risk for a malignant breast cancer was significantly 62% lower in women randomized to the MeDiet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil compared to those randomized to the low-fat diet. The MeDiet supplemented with nuts was also associated with a lower risk, but it was not statistically significant, as was the diet with the extra virgin olive oil. While the number of breast cancer cases was small (35 confirmed cases out of those 4282 women, the results are statistically significant.

While the study has multiple limitations such as the women were not all screened for breast cancer with mammography, they were all Caucasian and postmenopausal, and they had to be at high risk for cardiovascular disease in order to be enrolled in the trial.

All types of olive oil contain a high supply of monounsaturated fatty acids, mainly oleic acid, as well as squalene, but extra virgin is a thinner, more viscous oil, and contains active compounds such as several polyphenols. It is thought that the olive oil is antiproliferative against cancer cells by affecting the expression of human oncogenes, and the MeDiet with its high amount of plant foods and fish oils, is anti-inflammatory and reduces DNA oxidative damage.

Reference: Toledo E, Salas-Salvado J, Donat-Vargas C, et al. Mediterranean Diet and Invasive Breast Cancer Risk Among Women at High Cardiovascular Risk in the PREDIMED Trial, :  A Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 14, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4838

IMG_24243245lavanderLavender flower essential oil has a long traditional history of use for anxiety and stress, but also some modern meaningful scientific research confirming its excellent effectiveness in treating general anxiety disorders. Here is yet another recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study comparing the effects of a lavender cream and foot bathing on anxiety, stress and even depression, in pregnant women.

A group of 141 healthy pregnant women who were 25-28 weeks pregnant were randomly assigned to 3 groups: 1) placebo 2) lavender cream 3) lavender cream plus a foot bath. The lavender cream contained 1.25% lavender essential oil and the women applied 2 gm of lavender or placebo cream on their legs for 10-20 minutes in the evening, 1.5 hours before bedtime. In those women who were in the lavender plus the foot bath, they soaked their feet in 40-42 degree centigrade water at a depth of just above the ankle, for 30 minutes, after they applied the cream.

The women completed a questionnaire for anxiety, stress and depression at baseline, week 4 and week 8. After 4 weeks, there was a significant improvement in stress and anxiety in the lavender cream compared to placebo. In the lavender cream plus foot bath group, they had a significant improvement in stress scores compared to placebo. After 8 weeks, there were significant improvements in all parameters of anxiety, stress and depress the lavender cream group and in the lavender plus foot bath group, when compared to the placebo. The improvement in just the lavender cream and the cream plus foot bath were similar.

Commentary: While this study excluded women with severe depression, severe anxiety or severe stress, this simple safe treatment approach during pregnancy is worth noting, as mild to moderate symptoms are common during pregnancy. It is appealing to have a pregnancy safe topical treatment. Given the similar results between the cream and the cream plus foot bath, and the more cumbersome nature of instituting a nightly foot bath, I will likely just recommend the lavender cream. I will also think of this treatment for mild to moderate anxiety, depression and stress in non-pregnant women and add this to my lavender delivery options, that include an oral essential oil of lavender product ( called “Lavela”for the professional market from Integrative Therapeutics, and “ Calm-Aid” in the retail setting from Nature’s Way)- an impressively proven product for general anxiety disorder comparable to prescription anti-anxiety medications and a prescription SSRI, a topical essential oil for aroma therapy and (I usually use doTERRA products), and a lavender flower pillow.


Effati-Daryani F, Mohammed-Alizaeh-Charandabi S, Mirghafouvand M, et al. Topical lavender cream alleviates anxiety, stress and depression in pregnant women. J Caring Sci 2015;4(1):63-73.

hop conesThe use of herbal medicines, including those with phytoestrogen (weak estrogen-like, but not estrogen) compounds have gained an important place in the management of menopause symptoms.

Phytoestrogens are classified in 3 main categories of flavonoids, coumestans and lignans. The hop plant contains phytoestrogens including prenylnaringenin and is thought to be the most potent of all the phytoestrogen compounds.

The current study was a double-blind controlled randomized clinical trial performed in Iran in 2013. Women enrolled were postmenopausal women aged 40-60 years, with at least 12 months since their last menstrual period, and premenopausal women who were still having menses, but less than one per month in the last 12 months, had hot flashes and had a significant Greene scale score. A total of 120 participants were divided into two groups, with one group receiving a hops tablet that contains 500 mg of the flowering part of the hop plant and 100mcg of the prenylnaringenin active ingredient and the other group placebo. Each group received one pill daily for 90 days.

Menopause symptoms were assessed using the Greene scale and hot flash diary before study medicine was given and at 4, 8 and 12 weeks of intervention. The mean Greene score was significantly lower in the hops group than the placebo group at the end of weeks 4, 8 and 12. The number of hot flashes was significantly lower in the hops group than the control group during weeks 4, 8 and 12. The hops tablet reduced the total score of the Greene Scale in premenopausal and postmenopausal women at weeks 4, 8 and 12 as 38%, 69.5% and 90% respectively compared with placebo of 1.2%, 2.6% and 3.6% respectively. The number of hot flashes in premenopausal and postmenopausal women was reduced in the hops group by 35.5%, 70.5% and 94.5% respectively and in the placebo group by 1.1%, 0.4% and 0.8% respectively.

Commentary: This is the third study using a hops tablet or hops capsule for relief of hot flashes, and other menopause symptoms. In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 67 menopausal women were given either a placebo, 100 mg, or 250 mg standardized hops extract for 12 weeks (Heyerick A, Vervarcke S, Depypere H, et al. A first prospective, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study on the use of a standardized hops extract to alleviate menopausal discomforts. Maturitas 2006;54:164-175). At 6 weeks, the 100 and 250 mg doses were significantly superior to placebo, but not after 12 weeks. Even so, there was a more rapid decrease in menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes, for both doses of hops extract.

A 2010 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over pilot study was done to examine the efficacy of a hop extract for relief of menopausal symptoms. (Erkkola R, Vervarcke S, Vansteelandt S, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over pilot study on the use of a standardized hops extract to alleviate menopausal discomforts. Phytomedicine 2010;17:389-396.)

Thirty six menopausal women were randomized to take either a placebo or the hops extract for a period of eight weeks and then they were switched to the opposite group for another 8 weeks. Common menopause research reporting forms were used including the Kummperman Index (KI), the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) and a multifactorial Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). These reporting forms were used prior to starting the study, after 8 weeks and 16 weeks. After 8 weeks, both the hops group and the placebo group had significant improvement in outcome measures compared to the baseline and actually higher average reductions in the placebo group. After 16 weeks however, only the group that was on the hops extract in the second 8 weeks had a reduction in all outcome measures whereas the placebo group in the second 8 weeks had an increase for all outcome measures. Although the overall treatment efficacy of the hops treatment compared with the placebo did not show a significant effect, the time specific uses did indicate significant reductions in the KI and the VAS for the hops group, and a marginal reduction in symptoms for the MRS after 16 weeks.

Of these 3 studies, I would conclude that this current, 2015 study is the most positive report to date, on the use of an oral hop tablet or capsule for reducing menopause symptoms, and in particular, hot flashes.

Reference: Aghamiri V, Mirghafourvand M, Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi S, Nazemiyeh H. The effect of Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) on early menopause symptoms and hot flashes: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (2015),

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