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.

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  1. Renee

    The week after I turned 50, I started having problems with hot flashes, and I would also wake up 5-8 times a night, just in time to have a hot flash! I began to notice that after eating my husband’s homemade guacamole, I would feel cooler and more like my old self for several hours. Since then, I eat a small slice (1/8) of an average sized avocado every day, either with my egg whites at breakfast or with my salad at lunch. If I’m traveling and don’t have access to avocado, I take 400IU vitamin E (mixed tocopherols only) once or twice a day as I feel the need to, but avocado works better for me. I only occasionally feel a little warm here and there, and I sleep much better now – I can live with this. Hope this info helps someone else!

  2. PR

    I think I will try Vitamin E and of course mention it to my Dr. when I have my check up. Thanks for the information

  3. Rose

    I’ve tried Black Cohosh and it brought my blood pressure up so I had to get off of it. Should I try Vit. E at night or St John Wort?
    People’s Pharmacy response: You’ll have to experiment to see which works best for YOU.

  4. linda

    your hot flashes may be due to other issues, maybe your medications, high blood pressure, etc. You should probably see your doctor.

  5. Jesse

    Better to see a primary care doctor first before trying herbs, find a Dr. who will listen to you and do blood work and other tests. A 74 year old friend started having night sweats and didn’t go to the Dr. and after a year it was too late when it was learned the night sweats were caused by non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

  6. PR

    I am an 86 year old female who had hot flashes when I was in my 40’s or 50’s, and now for more than a year I am having them again and they are worse than ever. It is so bad that it is embarrassing when I am around other people. Do you think this would help me and if so where do I buy it.
    vegetarian supplement derived from rhapontic rhubarb?

  7. RLH

    I had a terrible problem with night sweats and hot flashes. I started taking 400 mg of vitamin E at bedtime and they went totally away. If I forgot to take the Vitamin E they would come right back.

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