Menopause is a natural phase of a woman’s life that marks the end of her menstrual cycle. It’s officially diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period, usually happening sometime in your 40s or 50s—the average age in the United States is 51. While it’s a normal transition for your body, the physical menopausal symptoms that accompany this time can be challenging and disruptive. From hot flashes to insomnia, many women will tell you that some parts of menopause are no fun.
Thankfully, there are several effective treatments out there for menopause relief that can help you feel like your best self, including natural remedies like Siberian Rhubarb. Read on to discover what’s so special about this plant extract, how it works to balance your hormones, and some of the menopausal symptoms it can help you address.
What is Siberian Rhubarb?
Siberian rhubarb refers to a dry extract from the roots of rhapontic rhubarb, also known as Rheum rhaponticum. This plant species is different from the rhubarb used in cooking and baking, although related. It is the only Rheum species found exclusively in Europe, was first described in 1753, and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine combinations.
Siberian rhubarb extract is also sometimes referred to as ERr 731, a patented formula, with Siberian rhubarb as its active ingredient, that has been in widespread use in Germany since 1993 to treat menopausal symptoms. Today you can find siberian rhubarb in dietary supplements if you’re looking for a nonhormonal way to address the discomfort caused by menopause.
How Does Siberian Rhubarb Work to Balance Hormones?
During menopause, estrogen levels drop. This can affect lots of different processes in the body that rely on estrogen receptors in the brain, leading to some of the uncomfortable menopause symptoms.
Siberian rhubarb extract contains bioactive compounds, including stilbenes and flavonoids, which have been found to have estrogenic activity. These compounds act as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), which means they can bind to estrogen receptors in the body and exert estrogen-like effects in specific tissues, such as the brain, bones, and vagina.
So Siberian rhubarb helps balance hormone levels by providing the body with plant-based estrogens, or phytoestrogens, that can bind to estrogen receptors and mimic the effects of natural estrogen. This can help alleviate symptoms caused by estrogen deficiency. One study demonstrated the efficacy of Siberian rhubarb (in ERr 731 form) in decreasing the frequency of several different menopausal symptoms in women, including hot flashes, over the course of 12 weeks.
In order to achieve the best results, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking a supplement with the right dosage. The clinically effective dosage for Siberian rhubarb is a 4 mg daily dose.
Precautions of Siberian Rhubarb
Clinical studies show that the use of ERr 731 is safe and effective for treating menopausal symptoms, with no adverse events reported in relation to long-term use. That said, it is still worthwhile to exercise caution and consult your healthcare provider when introducing a new supplement into your routine. Especially if you have any allergies or are taking any other medications the siberian rhubarb could interact with, such as blood thinners or hormone therapy, talk to your doctor before you start taking it.
Common Symptoms of Menopause
The process of menopause is a gradual transition. It starts with perimenopause, which refers to the period of time before menopause when your ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. It can start 8-10 years before menopause, and in its last 1-2 years, the drop in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many perimenopausal women start having a more irregular period and experience menopause symptoms.
One of the most common symptoms of menopause is experiencing hot flashes. Hot flashes (or hot flushes) are a sudden wave of heat, often paired with sweating, flushed skin, and discomfort. The length and intensity of hot flashes varies between women.
Similar to hot flashes, another common menopausal symptom is the occurrence of night sweats. Normally, sweating is a healthy response that helps your body cool down to a comfortable level. But night sweats are very uncomfortable, and often lead to sweating through your clothes or bedding and disturbing your sleep. The severity of hot flashes and night sweats can both vary widely among menopausal women.
There are other physical symptoms of menopause you might experience, too. They include:
- Vaginal dryness that makes sex more uncomfortable
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Needing to pee more frequently and urgently
- Dry skin, eyes, or mouth
- Hair loss or thinning
- Joint and muscle discomfort
In addition to the physical symptoms of menopause, there are some common mental and emotional symptoms, as well. You may experience:
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Mental exhaustion and low energy
After you’ve gone more than 12 months without a period, you are considered to be in postmenopause for the rest of your life. While some women’s menopause symptoms become milder or go away at this point, others continue to experience symptoms for a decade or longer after menopause.
Who Could Benefit from Siberian Rhubarb
Perimenopausal and menopausal women who experience frequent menopausal discomforts could benefit from trying Siberian Rhubarb as a treatment option. It may be an attractive option to you if you would rather try a natural treatment over hormone therapy. Hormone therapy boosts your hormone levels and can help alleviate menopause symptoms, but there are also risks, including endometrial cancer, gallstones and gallbladder issues, blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and stroke.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms frequently, you could benefit from integrating Siberian Rhubarb into your supplement routine:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Sleep problems
- Vaginal dryness
- Joint and muscle discomfort
Don’t Suffer Through Menopause Alone
Whether it’s trying Siberian Rhubarb, hormone therapy, lifestyle changes, or simply connecting with other women also going through menopause, remember that you don’t have to suffer through menopause alone. It can be an unsettling new phase of life, as with anything new, but support is out there in many forms, including in other women who understand what you’re going through. Take solace in the fact that this is a natural phase of womanhood, and consult your doctor to talk through your options for making it a more comfortable experience and improving your quality of life.
Disclaimer: All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any health or nutritional information obtained is accurate.