Hot flashes are by far the most common menopause symptom, affecting up to 80% of all middle-aged women.1 While they do not endanger their health per se, they can drastically reduce women's quality of life.
Phytoestrogenic herbs have long been studied for their effects on hormonal balance in middle-aged women. Known for its sedative effects, valerian is commonly used to treat anxiety and sleep problems, but its phytoestrogenic content could also potentially be used for relieving hot flashes.
As such, this trial was conducted to assess the effects of valerian on hot flashes in women going through the midlife transition.
There were 68 menopausal women with hot flashes participating in this clinical trial. Once researchers assigned to two groups, women were given two different regimens.
The intervention group was taking 255 mg valerian capsules three times a week. The control group, on the other hand, was taking capsules containing starch. The intervention lasted for eight weeks.
Using a variety of questionnaires, researchers assessed women's hot flash frequency and severity two weeks before the trial as well as four and eight weeks after its completion.
Women treated with valerian showed a statistically meaningful decrease (46%) in the severity of hot flashes, whereas as those taking placebo capsules had no significant changes (1%).
In terms of hot flash frequency, women in the valerian group saw a substantial reduction four and eight weeks after treatment (29% and 39%, respectively)
What Does this Mean?
As can be seen in the results of this trial, valerian can alleviate hot flashes in menopausal women by decreasing their frequency and severity.
Since hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is associated with potentially serious side effects, many menopausal women prefer not to use it for symptom relief. Using pPytoestrogenic herbs, such as valerian, for hot flashes offers them a chance to reduce their symptoms safely and naturally.
Other herbs that may be beneficial for menopausal women are maca, dong quai, black cohosh, and fennel.
- Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, The Effects of Valerian Root on Hot Flashes in Menopausal Women, 2013
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2020). Menopause-related hot flashes and night sweats can last for years. Retrieved February 16, 2022 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/menopause-related-hot-flashes-night-sweats-can-last-years-201502237745