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Menopause and Rhubarb

Written by Olivia Cerf, FoundHealth.

Effect of Rhubarb on Menopause

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Rhubarb roots - also available in pill form.

Rhubarb root contains lindleyin, a substance with estrogen-like properties. On this basis, extracts of rhubarb have been tried for control of menopausal symptoms.

Read more details about Rhubarb.

Research Evidence on Rhubarb

In a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 109 women with menopause-related problems, use of a standardized rhubarb extract significantly improved symptoms as compared to placebo. Improvements were particularly seen in rate and severity of hot flashes.

How to Use Rhubarb

A typical dosage of rhubarb root is ½ to l teaspoonful of the root boiled for 10 minutes in a cup of water, three times daily.

In the menopause study mentioned above, a standardized extract was used. Such extracts should be used according to label instructions.

Safety Issues

As a widely consumed food, rhubarb is thought to be relatively safe if consumed in moderation. However, the plant contains high levels of oxalic acid, and rhubarb consumption can markedly increase oxalic acid levels in the urine. 1 2 3 This could lead to increased risk of kidney stones , as well as other problems. Rhubarb leaf contains the highest oxalic acid content. The roots and stems contain less oxalic acid, but higher levels of anthraquinones, laxative substances similar to those found in senna or cascara. It is safest to use rhubarb standardized extracts processed to removed oxalic acid.

Contrary to some reports, consumption of rhubarb probably does not impair calcium absorption. 4 Very weak evidence hints that excessive consumption of rhubarb could increase risk of stomach and/or colon cancer. 5 Maximum safe doses in pregnant or nursing women, young children, or people with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.

References

  1. Finch AM, Kasidas GP, Rose GA. Urine composition in normal subjects after oral ingestion of oxalate-rich foods. Clin Sci (Lond). 60(4):411-8.
  2. Vahlensieck EW, Bach D, Hesse A, Strenge A. Epidemiology, Pathogenesis and diagnosis of calcium oxalate urolithiasis. Int Urol Nephrol. 14(4):333-47.
  3. Massey LK, Roman-Smith H, Sutton RA. Effect of dietary oxalate and calcium on urinary oxalate and risk of formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. J Am Diet Assoc. 93(8):901-6.
  4. Goel V, Ooraikul B, Basu TK. Effect of dietary rhubarb stalk fiber on the bioavailability of calcium in rats. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 47(2):159-63.
  5. Mantani N, Sekiya N, Sakai S, Kogure T, Shimada Y, Terasawa K. Rhubarb use in patients treated with Kampo medicines--a risk for gastric cancer? Yakugaku Zasshi. 122(6):403-5.

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