Study: Benefits of Phytoestrogens on Menopausal Depression and Anxiety

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By Menopause Now Editorial Team | Updated: Jul 13, 2021


Potential therapeutic benefits of phytoestrogenic herbs are a popular topic of various scientific studies. While safety and efficacy for menopause relief have already been validated for many herbs, their effects on mid-life depression and anxiety remain largely inconclusive.1

As such, this systematic review was conducted to bring more clarity on the effectiveness of phytoestrogenic herbs on relieving depression and anxiety in menopausal women.

Study: Benefits of phytoestrogens on menopausal depression and anxiety

Study Design

This scientific review considered 1,786 randomized clinical trials, out of which nine met the criteria to be selected for final analysis. The results were published in the Journal of Menopausal Medicine.

All of the trials were performed on the effects of herbal medicines on depression and anxiety. The studied populations consisted of perimenopause and postmenopausal women suffering from depression or anxiety.

Phytoestrogenic herbs used across the trials included St. John's wort, soy, hops, red clover, fennel, and kava, among others.

Study Findings

Herbs that have shown benefits in terms of improving both anxiety and depression in multiple trials were soy, fennel, and kava (most significantly when taken at a 200 mg daily dosage).

Only one trial showed positive effects of hops on anxiety and depression. Studies on red clover's effects on depression and anxiety showed inconclusive results.

What Does It Mean?

As evident in the findings of this review, phytoestrogenic herbs can improve anxiety and depression in menopausal women.

These discoveries add to the body of evidence on the therapeutic applications of phytoestrogens for menopause symptoms, which allow women find relief naturally, without using hormonal treatments.

Nevertheless, authors emphasize the need for larger and better structured clinical trials on phytoestrogens. 

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