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Women have been experiencing painful symptoms due to their menstrual cycle for centuries. Some would say the most extreme changes take place while women go through menopause.

Menopause occurs when women stop producing estrogen. This drop can be physiologically seen through hot flashes, night sweats, mood imbalances, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Hormone therapy is often used to alleviate these symptoms; however, there are risks to this therapy. Natural alternatives such as the medicinal ingredients in Meno Joy have been used to alleviate symptoms with fewer risks.

To help women through this difficult time, MapleLife has created Meno Joy with the five active ingredients Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Soy isoflavones, Licorice and Vitex.

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is an herb that is part of the buttercup family in North America. It has been used for hundreds of years by Native Americans for inflammatory conditions, stimulation of menstrual flow, menstrual cramps, cough suppression, diarrhea, rheumatism, arthritis, and muscle pain. It was introduced to European colonizers and became popular in Europe in the mid-1950s.

Research suggests that Black cohosh is effective in lessening the frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women (1-6). However, the chemical effects of black cohosh have not been fully elucidated as yet. It is unknown whether it is effective through increasing levels of estrogen or whether it affects other hormones (7,8).

Dong Quai

The Dong Quai root, which is native to China, Japan and Korea, is said to have medicinal properties. It is commonly taken for menopausal symptoms, menstrual cycle, allergies, constipation, fibroids, high blood pressure, nasal congestion, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. There is research showing Dong Quai can improve symptoms of hot flashes as well as sleep disturbance and fatigue when taken in combination with chamomile (9). More research is required to understand the mechanism of how it works.

Dong Quai should not be taken by women with breast cancer. Dong Quai should also not be taken by people who have bleeding disorders or are taking blood thinning medications. Pregnant women should also avoid it.

Soy isoflavones

The medicinal ingredients in soy are isoflavones. These are plant-based chemicals which in this case act like a weaker form of estrogen in the body. The main isoflavones in soy are genistein and daidzein. In their active form, these isoflavones can bind to estrogen receptors in the body and can either mimic or block estrogen’s effects.

Soy isoflavones have been shown to improve physiological symptoms among women going through menopause (10). A 2015 meta-analysis also found that plant isoflavones reduced hot flashes (11). While shown to be effective, the effect of soy isoflavones can be slower than hormone therapy (12). One would have to take this for weeks before seeing an improvement.

The recommended dose for soy by the North American Menopause Society is 50 mg per day. People with breast cancer should not take soy supplements.

Vitex

Vitex agnus-castus refers to a small deciduous tree whose fruits have been used in Egypt, Greece, Iran, and Rome for gynecological problems for thousands of years. A recent review has discussed the pharmaceutical effects including antioxidant, chemopreventative, immunomodulatory and cytotoxicity, tumoricidal, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, antifungal, insect repellant, larvicidal, fracture healing, osteopenic, antinociceptive, opioidergic, antiepileptic, preventing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory activities (13). The recommended dose for this is 30 – 40 mg per day. Research has shown Vitex is effective in improving menopausal symptoms (14,15).

Licorice

Licorice is an herb found in various regions of Asia and Europe. Licorice is often taken for digestive system problems such as ulcers, heartburn, colic, and gastritis. Some people take it for sore throat, bronchitis, cough, and infections. Licorice is thought to decrease swelling, thin mucus secretions, improve cough and heal ulcers. Meta-analyses have shown that licorice is effective in alleviating menopause symptoms (14,16). Licorice should not be taken with warfarin.

Meno Joy for Menopause

These ingredients in combination promise to improve the quality of life of people dealing with menopause symptoms. It is recommended that one starts with one pill per day as this is within the tested ranges in the articles cited and has shown to be beneficial. In Canada, millions of women suffer through menopause symptoms daily. These natural active ingredients provide a solution aside from hormone therapy that is beneficial. This should not be taken by women who have breast cancer or are taking blood medication such as warfarin or other thinning agents.

REFERENCES

  1. Fugate, S.E., Church, C.O. Nonestrogen treatment modalities for vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. Ann Pharmacother. 2004;38:1482–1499.
  2. Huntley, A.L., Ernst, E. A systematic review of herbal medicinal products for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Menopause. 2003;10:465–476.
  3. Kligler, B. Black cohosh. Am Fam Physician. 2003;68:114–116.
  4. Taylor, M. Alternatives to HRT (an evidence-based review) . Int J Fertil Womens Med. 2003;48:64–68.
  5. Kronenberg, F., Fugh-Berman, A. Complementary and alternative medicine for menopausal symptoms (a review of randomized, controlled trials) . Ann Intern Med. 2002;137:805–813.
  6. Borrelli, F., Ernst, E. Cimicifuga racemosa (a systematic review of its clinical efficacy) . Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2002;58:235–241.
  7. Raus K, Brucker C, Gorkow C, Wuttke W. First-time proof of endometrial safety of the special black cohosh extract (Actaea or Cimicifuga racemosa extract) CR BNO 1055. Menopause 2006;13:678-91. [PubMed abstract]
  8. Liske E, Hanggi W, Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, Boblitz N, Wustenberg P, Rahlfs VW. Physiological investigation of a unique extract of black cohosh (Cimicifugae racemosae rhizoma): a 6-month clinical study demonstrates no systemic estrogenic effect. J Womens Health Gend Based Med 2002;11:163-74. [PubMed abstract]
  9. Kupfersztain C, Rotem C, Fagot R, Kaplan B. The immediate effect of natural plant extract, Angelica sinensis and Matricaria chamomilla (Climex) for the treatment of hot flushes during menopause. A preliminary report Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2003;30:203–6. 
  10. Ahsan, M., & Mallick, A. K. (2017). The Effect of Soy Isoflavones on the Menopause Rating Scale Scoring in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women: A Pilot Study. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, 11(9), FC13-FC16. https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2017/26034.10654
  11. Chen, M.-N., Lin, C.-C., & Liu, C.-F. (2015). Efficacy of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Climacteric : The Journal of the International Menopause Society, 18(2), 260–269. https://doi.org/10.3109/13697137.2014.966241
  12. Li, L., Lv, Y., Xu, L., & Zheng, Q. (2015). Quantitative efficacy of soy isoflavones on menopausal hot flashes. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 79(4), 593–604. https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.12533
  13. Niroumand MC, Heydarpour F, Farzaei MH. Pharmacological and therapeutic effects of Vitex agnus-castus L.: A review. Phcog Rev 2018;12:103-14
  14. Kargozar, R., Azizi, H., & Salari, R. (2017). A review of effective herbal medicines in controlling menopausal symptoms. Electronic Physician, 9(11), 5826–5833. https://doi.org/10.19082/5826
  15. Leo VD, Cappelli V, Sabatino AD, Morgante G (2014) Phyto-Oestrogens and Chaste Tree Berry: A New Option in the Treatment of Menopausal Disorders. J Women’s Health Care 3:182. doi:10.4172/2167-0420.1000182
  16. Nahidi, F., Zare, E., Mojab, F., & Alavi-Majd, H. (2012). Effects of licorice on relief and recurrence of menopausal hot flashes. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research : IJPR, 11(2), 541–548. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24250477