Q. I’ve read several suggestions for hot flashes. My chiropractor recommended a vegetarian supplement derived from rhapontic rhubarb. After the first month of taking it, my hot flashes decreased in severity, and shortly after that they disappeared altogether. So did the night sweats. I haven’t experienced either in months.
The brand I take, Estrovera, costs a dollar per tablet, but I feel it is worth it.
A. A standardized extract of rhapontic rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum) has been used in Germany to treat hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause for a couple of decades (Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Nov-Dec., 2008). A placebo-controlled trial of 112 women found that the botanical product reduced symptoms significantly more than placebo (Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Jan-Feb., 2009).
We discuss other ways to handle hot flashes in our Guide To Menopause. Some women find that vitamin E is helpful, while others prefer black cohosh and St. John’s wort extract together. Pycnogenol proved helpful in one study (Acta Obstet. Gynecol. Scand. 2007), and some women are enthusiastic about true yams. There are also prescription approaches that go beyond hormone replacement therapy, another tried-and-true treatment for hot flashes, but one that should be used at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.