A mix of traditional Chinese herbs called Jiawei Qing'e Fang helps relieve menopausal symptoms, researchers say.
The three herbs used in the mixture -- cortex eucommia, fructus psoraleae, and Salvia miltiorrhiza -- have estrogen-like activity, according to earlier research.
For the current study, 72 women in China took the herbs or a placebo every day for eight weeks. The women were between the ages of 45 and 55 and reported a minimum of 14 hot flashes per week. Each received a score that ranked the intensity and severity of their hot flashes.
Those who took the herbal mix had their hot flash score drop by 70 percent. Those who took the placebo saw a 56 percent drop.
The small size of the study and the high response rate to the placebo raises questions and limits the research findings, said Dr. Gregory A. Plotnikoff at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.
In addition, Plotnikoff said, women may not want therapy that utilizes estrogen-like activity -- especially after a 2002 U.S. study of over 16,000 women tied hormone treatments to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, and blood clots.
The herbal mix is not widely available in the U.S.