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Feature

Herbs--Japanese hot flash remedy

Japanese women have been using an herbal remedy, keishi bukuryo gan, above, for nearly 2,000 years to treat hot flashes. University researchers are testing its effectiveness in American women.

Help for hot flashes

Study investigates ancient Japanese herbal remedy

From M, fall 2005

Call them power surges or "your inner child playing with matches," menopausal hot flashes can be debilitating, or at best, a nuisance. Conventional medicine often prescribes hormone therapy to help women cope, but it puts them at risk for cancer, heart disease, dementia, and blood clots.

When Greg Plotnikoff, associate professor of medicine at the University's Center for Spirituality and Healing, was a visiting professor at Keio University in Tokyo, he learned that for the past nearly 2,000 years Japanese women have been controlling their hot flashes with keishi bukuryo gan--a concoction of four herbs, along with a kind of mushroom, drunk as a tea.

Keishi bukuryo gan is an approved and tightly regulated prescription medication in Japan and covered under the national health plan. Unlike hormone replacement therapy, the Japanese medication seems to have few side effects.

Plotnikoff is the lead researcher on a double-blind FDA-approved study to see how keishi bukuryo gan can work in American women.

If this study produces favorable results, Plotnikoff hopes to explore keishi bukuryo gan's effectiveness in helping people use hot-flash producing drugs to treat prostate cancer and breast cancer.

If you're a woman between the ages of 45 and 58, suffer from hot flashes, and would like to be part of the study, please call 612-625-8487.