Q. Help! My menopausal hot flashes are becoming unbearable and debilitating. I have tried many remedies. Some helped a little (like cutting down on caffeine), but others, like soy, did nothing.
I work with liver transplant patients, and the specialists say that the herb black cohosh can damage the liver. That’s why I’m afraid to try it. I finally broke down and tried an estrogen patch my doctor prescribed. I had an adverse reaction to it in less than a week. What can you recommend?
A. Although there are reports of liver problems associated with black cohosh, this appears to be an uncommon complication. A new study suggests that a patented pine bark extract can help ease hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. The compound is Pycnogenol, derived from the French maritime pine.
The study included 155 women aged 45 to 55. After six months of treatment with Pycnogenol or placebo, those treated with the pine bark extract had significantly fewer symptoms and lower cholesterol levels than those taking placebo (Acta Obstet. Gynecol. Scand. Aug. 2007). It may be worth a try.