The Zoft Gum Company, which makes several herbal supplement chewing gums (eg, breast enlargement, weight reduction) has introduced a new gum to help manage the symptoms of menopause.

There are no studies of this gum for treating menopausal symptoms in women. And the discussion of the gum’s ingredients on the Zoft website is misleading.

This summary should provide balance.

The gum contains 4 herbals.

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)

  • “Used alone, dong quai … was no more helpful than placebo … in relieving menopausal symptoms.”
  • “Because of the lack of clinical data demonstrating the potential side effects of dong quai, its use — especially in women with breast cancer — warrants caution pending further study.”

Black cohosh

  • This study found that black cohosh alone or with other herbs did not reduce menopausal hot flashes.
  • “Following …16 case[s] of hepatotoxicity … the European Medicines Agency has advised consumers to stop taking black cohosh.”
  • Consult your doctor if you develop signs and symptoms of liver injury.

Damiana leaf (Turnera diffusa)

  • Claimed to be an aphrodisiac.
  • What we know is summarized here.

Mexican wild yam root (Dioscorea villosa)

  • No studies of its effects in women when taken by mouth.
  • “In women suffering from menopausal symptoms [topical wild yam extract] is free of side-effects, but appears to have little effect on menopausal symptoms.”

5/26/07 23:25 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.