Bastyr Center for Natural Health, Seattle, Washington
Health Information
Overview Health Conditions and Concerns Conditions A-M Conditions N-Z Healthy Lifestyle Tips Bastyr Health-E News News and Events Recommended Reading List Recipes National and Community Resources
Schedule an appointment today
Menopausal/Post-menopausal | Natural Relief for Menopause Symptoms
Lady in Sun Hat

Pycnogenol relieved several perimenopausal symptoms in women who took the supplement for six months.

Natural Relief for Menopause Symptoms

An extract of the French maritime pine called pycnogenol could help relieve night sweats and insomnia in perimenopausal women, according to a study in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

Menopause, in a nutshell

Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for one year. For most women, menopause usually happens somewhere between the ages of 40 and 58. The period leading up to this is called perimenopause, which may be accompanied by symptoms such as the following due to changes in hormone levels, as the ovaries begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone:

  • Mood changes, including irritability, mood swings, depression, and anxiety
  • Hot flashes and night sweats (vasomotor symptoms)
  • Heavier-than-normal periods
  • Abnormal perceptions/sensations (like heavy/numb limbs or insects crawling on the skin)
  • Memory, concentration, and sleep problems
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Urinary incontinence or urgency

Making the change easier

Pycnogenol is a mixture of flavonoids with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Its effects appear to include relaxing blood vessels, thinning blood, relieving pain, and strengthening connective tissue.

In a previous study, high dosages (200 mg per day) of pycnogenol relieved several perimenopausal symptoms in women who took the supplement for six months. The current study aimed to identify which symptoms might respond to a lower dose of pycnogenol.

For three months, 156 perimenopausal women took 60 mg of pycnogenol per day (standardized to contain about 70% procyanidins) or placebo. At baseline and at 4 and 12 weeks, their blood pressure, blood fats, and hormone levels were measured. Weekly telephone calls recorded the women’s symptoms, including vasomotor symptoms, numbness, insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, dizziness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, abnormal sensations, sexual problems, headache, memory and concentration, menstrual problems, and urinary problems.

After 4 and 12 weeks of treatment, women in the pycnogenol group had significant improvements in all symptoms except numbness and abnormal sensations compared with baseline values. Pycnogenol significantly reduced vasomotor symptoms and insomnia compared with placebo.

Hormone levels, blood pressure, and blood fats remained similar between the two groups and no adverse effects were noted in either group.

“Pycnogenol may arguably represent a daily dietary supplement for menopausal women due to its extended range of health benefits,” the researchers said. “Menopausal women are at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease, and the [benefits of] pycnogenol may prove helpful for women at this stage in life.”

Staying healthy during menopause

Menopause doesn’t have to be riddled with complications. In fact, there are lots of things you can do to help make the transition easier.

Give these tips a try:

  • Quit smoking. Women who smoke are more likely to go through menopause earlier and to have hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
  • Go phyto: Foods that are rich in phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen-like compounds) like soy and flaxseeds may help relieve menopausal symptoms in many women. If you’ve had a hormone-sensitive cancer, ask your doctor if these foods are right for you.
  • Get active: Aerobic exercise may decrease the likelihood of hot flashes. Plus it’s good for your heart, which is especially important as estrogen’s protective effects diminish during menopause.
  • Give acupuncture a try: This time-tested therapy may help relieve hot flashes and improve memory and mood.

(J Reprod Med 2013;58:39-46)

Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her doctoral degree from Bastyr University, the nation’s premier academic institution for science-based natural medicine. She co-founded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, where she practiced whole family care with an emphasis on nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, detoxification, and food allergy identification and treatment. Her blog, Eat Happy, helps take the drama out of healthy eating with real food recipes and nutrition news that you can use. Dr. Beauchamp is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Learn More About It

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

Find a Provider

Want to find the provider that's right for you? Learn more about our health care providers.  »

Bastyr Center Disclaimer

The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.


Appointments: 206.834.4100
Bastyr Center clinic appointments

Submit a contact request or call us to schedule an appointment »

Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego

Are you looking for Bastyr University Clinic, our new teaching clinic in San Diego? More »

Learn More About Our Services

Natural medicine can treat many types of conditions including:

More treatable health conditions »

Bastyr Center healthcare providers

Interested in finding a provider who's right for you? We recommend that your first visit at BCNH be with a Naturopathic Medicine Provider. »

Home  | Health Information  | Health Care Services  | Our Providers  | Patient Care  | Dispensaries

About BCNH  | Contact Us  | Appointments  | Privacy Policy  | Site Map | Bastyr University