* Gamma-oryzanol. This naturally occurring mixture of the plant chemicals sterols and ferulic acid esters has proved effective for reducing menopausal symptoms in 40 perimenopausal women, taken at a dose of 300 mg/day for four to eight weeks (Nippon Sanka Fujinka Gakkai Zasshi, 1982; 34: 243-51).
* Chasteberry (Vitex agnus castus). This non-oestrogenic herb works on the pituitary gland. It has been shown to stabilise hormone levels and proven helpful in controlling menopausal symptoms (Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery, 2003; 9: 157-60).
* Korean red ginseng. Panax ginseng can help with depression during menopause (Int J Gynaecol Obstet, 1999; 67: 169-74).
* Aniseed (anise) and Passiflora (passion flower; maracuja). Anecdotal evidence suggests these can help with menopausal symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) uses anise as a tea to treat hormonal imbalance and to promote oestrogen production. In Europe, passion flower has been used for nearly 200 years for menstrual problems as well as for muscle spasm, neurosis and general pain.