Melissa Zack is one of millions of women who suffer from hot flashes.
"The first thing that happens is you start to feel warm. The next thing that happens is you start to perspire. Then you start to sweat. It's quite embarrassing."
Many women like Melissa are turning to herbal supplements for relief. In fact, more than 126 million dollars of these supplements were sold in the last year according to Spins, a market research firm for the natural product industry.
Consumer Reports On Health Marvin Lipman says many of these supplements contain substances called isoflavones.
"Isoflavones are natural compounds that have potential estrogen-like effects. They're found in soy, flaxseed, and red clover. Supplements made from these are essentially isoflavone pills.
The latest studies on isoflavone pills have turned up disappointing results.
"A study of women who took Promensil and Rimostil, two leading brands of red clover extract, found that by the third month neither one of these supplements was any better than a placebo at relieving hot flashes.?
Black cohosh (PRON: COE?hosh), a different type of herb, also claims to ease hot flashes. While clinical trials have been mixed, the best designed study to date shows it's no more effective than a placebo either.
"And in a recent study of mice, preliminary evidence shows black cohosh increased the aggressiveness of breast cancer. Women at high risk for the disease probably shouldn't take black cohosh supplements."
Consumer Reports On Health says women like Melissa may want to trying eating two to three servings of soy a day to see if this eases their symptoms.
Consumer Reports on Health says other studies on herbal menopause therapies such as chasteberry, dong quai (PRON: QWAY) and evening primrose oil have also been inconclusive. Consumer Reports on Health says if you are experiencing uncomfortable menopausal symptoms, be sure to discuss your symptoms with a doctor.