Siberian Rhubarb for Menopause: Does it Really Work?

Siberian rhubarb root, scientifically known as Rheum rhaponticum, is a plant native to Northern and Central Asia. Unlike the garden rhubarb commonly used in cooking, Siberian rhubarb root is specifically cultivated for its medicinal properties. This plant has a long history of traditional use in Chinese medicine for the management of menopausal symptoms. However, it was in the 1990s that it gained recognition in Germany when a standardized extract called ERr 731™ became commercially available for the treatment of menopause-related discomforts. [1]

It should be noted that when we start looking at patented extracts, there is immediately the concern of bias around the supplement, as they are obviously trying to sell something, so we need to be sure that there are studies done on the unbranded ingredient as well, by neutral laboratories. And it is also worth noting that a lot of the studies done on this particular extract are on animal trials not humans.

Keep in mind in the case of ERr 731 the two main compound groups are rhaponticin and aglycones. In terms of Algycones, there are several unbranded studies of the largest in most blends which is emodin, and these have shown similar results in animal and human trials, although there aren't a huge number of studies. [2]

As for rhaponticin, which makes up 90% of the most popular and branded extract, there are limited human studies that weren't conducted specifically on the ERr 731 siberian rhubarb extract. Those that were conducted however, did also seem to be positive, but not as positive as the paid for studies, which should be relatively unsurprising. 

As a result it does seem that Siberian Rhubarb is effective for menopause relief to some extent, although not as significantly as supplement manufacturers would lead us to believe. There are also other menopause supplements that have better backing from specific priobiotic species through to vitamins and minerals. It also isn't essential to buy the branded version as long as the version you chose is standardized to a contain 3mg of rhaponticin and 1mg of algycones (like enodin) for the same effects.

The Benefits of Siberian Rhubarb for Menopause

Hot Flashes: Finding Relief from the Heat

One of the most common and bothersome symptoms of menopause is hot flashes. These sudden sensations of heat, often accompanied by sweating and flushing, can disrupt daily life and affect sleep quality. Estrogen, a hormone that declines during menopause, plays a crucial role in regulating body temperature through its influence on thermoregulation. Siberian rhubarb root extract has been shown to activate estrogen receptors, particularly the estrogen receptor subtype beta (ERβ), which is associated with reduced hot flashes and improved thermoregulation. 

There has been a clinical study which has demonstrated the effectiveness of Siberian rhubarb root extract in alleviating hot flashes. In a randomized controlled trial involving perimenopausal women, those who received a daily dose of 4 mg of Siberian rhubarb root extract experienced a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of hot flashes compared to those in the placebo group. [3] The trial was also over 10 months with the average being about 1.5 less hot flushes per day in the group taking siberian root extract.

Another study, conducted over a 12-week period, further confirmed the ability of Siberian rhubarb root extract to reduce hot flashes, including nighttime occurrences known as night sweats. [4]

Beyond that we only have animal models to look at.

A Holistic Approach to Menopause Symptoms

Menopause brings about a range of symptoms beyond hot flashes. Irritability, mood swings, sleep problems, exhaustion, vaginal dryness, and joint and muscle discomfort are among the many challenges women may face during this time. Siberian rhubarb root extract has shown promise in addressing these symptoms and improving overall well-being.

Observational studies have reported significant improvements in menopausal symptoms, as measured by the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS), in women taking Siberian rhubarb root extract. Participants experienced reductions in irritability, sleep problems, and physical and mental exhaustion. Furthermore, the extract has been associated with improvements in mood and overall quality of life, as assessed by the Hamilton Anxiety Scale. These findings suggest that Siberian rhubarb root extract can provide comprehensive relief for the diverse range of symptoms experienced during menopause. [5]

Who Can Benefit from Siberian Rhubarb Root Extract?

Siberian rhubarb root extract, is a suitable option for perimenopausal and menopausal women seeking relief from daily symptoms. Its efficacy has been demonstrated in various studies, and it has a favorable safety profile. However, as with any supplement, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating Siberian rhubarb root extract into your routine, especially if you are undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or taking other prescription medications.

Choosing a High-Quality Siberian Rhubarb Supplement

To ensure optimal results, it is essential to select a high-quality Siberian rhubarb root supplement that contains the bioactive compounds responsible for its benefits. The key bioactive compounds in Siberian rhubarb root extract are rhapontigenin and desoxyrhapontigenin, along with their metabolites resveratrol and piceatannol. Although, as most supplements deliver a relatively small amount, resveratrol and piceatennol aren't in a dosage that will be effective. 

As such you're looking for something with standardized rhaponticin, and sometimes emodin can be standardized as well, which also has proven benefits. Generally we recommend for menopause relief as it contains these ingredients in the effective ranges.

But, it is essential to look for a supplement that provides a standardized version of the extract, such as ERr 731™, which delivers the proven amount of rhaponticin (which is 90% of Err 731 (so at least 3mg) and whilst aglycones are standardized as well, they're not really doing much in this case as a lot of them have been studied individually and require larger dosages.

In terms of dosage, the clinically tested amount of Siberian rhubarb root extract is 4 mg per day. This dosage has been shown to provide meaningful relief from menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and mood disturbances. To ensure consistent and reliable results, follow the recommended dosage instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Final Thoughts of Siberian Rhubarb Extract for Menopause

There seems to be something to rhubarb extract, but the science isn't nearly as robust as a lot of claims currently available online, with most of the studies being done in rats, on a branded product. As such we have little unbiased information on the active ingredients. It is likely that as it takes up a relatively small amount of capsule space siberian rhubarb extract is a good ingredient for a combined menopause supplement, that contains other more well backed ingredients, but we wouldn't recommend it as a stand alone supplement. There are a lot of minerals and vitamins that women need more of during menopause, and probiotic strains can be more effective at treating vaginal health. As such, it's OK, but not the best.


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