Is Menopause Burning You Up?
They always say that one should never reveal their age. Well, my life has been pretty full of wonderful amazing experiences along with challenges that make the top ten list of trauma. The fact is that I’ve earned this wisdom, or sometimes lack of it, and wouldn’t trade it in for my youth.
So now, I can safely say that I’ve entered in the “menopause” phase of life. I’m jealous of all the women that fly through menopause without any symptoms. When someone tells me that they are one of “those” women, I turn my face away so they can’t see my evil dagger eyes shooting arrows at them. I swear I need to wear sunglasses during those times. Oh, to be so blessed in that area. Sorry, for my honest admission.
Anyway, what is one to do if you are in the group of women that struggle with menopause symptoms?
Menopause is the end of a woman’s ability to bear children. It is the natural decline of reproductive hormones. Menopause can start as early as your 40s with the majority of women experiencing it in their early 50s. Menopause can also come early if one has had a hysterectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, or ovary removal. A medical practitioner will diagnose menopause if you have gone twelve months without a period.
Menopause is an ordinary biological process. A woman’s body was programmed to have her ovaries shut down after around 50 years old. With this fertility shut-down, menopause symptoms can start and persist anywhere from weeks to years. The most obvious menopause symptoms are physical; yet emotional symptoms can also be a struggle for women.
Symptoms vary from woman to woman:
Brain fog (aka difficulty with concentration, decision making, and memory)
Depression or anxiety
Lower energy or tiredness
Mood swings (aka Irritability)
Sleep problems or insomnia
Thinning hair or dry skin
Vaginal dryness or loss of libido
One of the top complaints of menopause symptoms from my friends is hot flashes and night sweats. As estrogen levels decline, these symptoms are more likely to happen. Current lifestyle choices may trigger more hot flashes and night sweat like alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, and stress.
Herbs and Spices For Menopause
In the 1960’s, hormone replacement therapy was a viable option for women to combat menopause. Women also used hormone replacement therapy to combat against Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and other post-menopausal disorders. In the early 2000s, hormone replacement therapy was stopped by most U.S. doctors after the Women's Health Initiative and the Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study results found that hormone replacement therapy increased the chances of stroke, breast cancer, and even dementia along with other concerns.
Women then turned to natural solutions. Some woman found lifestyle modifications like losing weight, stopping smoking, and eating more fruits and vegetables to help with symptoms. While others have tried natural relaxing types of exercise like acupuncture or yoga.
In alternative medicine, several herbs and spices have been used for hormonal menopause symptoms:
Black Cohosh: Black Cohosh is among the top-selling menopausal symptoms herbs in the United States, Britain, and Germany. Depending on the clinical studies and the type of Black Cohosh extracts, results range from significantly reducing menopause symptoms to modestly impacting them. One preliminary clinical research also shows that Black Cohosh is comparable to hormonal therapy including low-dose transdermal estradiol (Estraderm), tibolone , or conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin) for relieving menopausal symptoms. The scientific debate has been whether Black Cohosh actually has estrogenic effects or if it works by some other mechanism. It also possesses diuretic properties and is found useful for hot flashes, vaginal dryness, headaches, muscle pain, and even depression associated with menopause. Some women have found it to stop irregular bleeding.
Chasteberry: This herb dates back to the first century for use of menstrual disorders and as a hormone regulator. Due to the compounds in its berries, Chasteberry is well known not only for its help with menopausal symptoms; but also, for women who are struggling with infertility and premenstrual symptoms. The berry compounds are said to act upon the pituitary gland to stabilize hormone fluctuations. Preliminary research shows that Chasteberry appears to have a variety of effects on neurotransmitters, including dopamine and acetylcholine, and have estrogen and progesterone activity. By increasing progesterogenic activity, Chasteberry can help to balance progesterone and estrogen production by the ovaries. It is also known in alternative medicine to stop hot flashes, dizziness, and depression.
Dong Quai: In alternative medicine, Don Quai has been used alone in the United States for menopause. While in traditional Chinese medicine, Don Quai is typically used in combination with other herbs (American Ginseng, Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Milk Thistle, Red Clover, and Chasteberry) to reduce menopause symptoms. In scientific studies, there are contradictory studies regarding whether or not Dong Quai has estrogenic effects or impacts menopause symptoms if used alone. In addition to increasing effectiveness of other herbs, it is said to increase circulation and protects the heart.
Panax Ginseng: In alternative medicine, Panax Ginseng is used as an "adaptogen" for increasing resistance to stress and as a general tonic that supports the adrenal glands. It is sometimes used for menopausal symptoms due to its estrogenic effects; although research on Panax Ginseng for menopausal symptoms is considered preliminary and contradictory. In a research study using Panax Ginseng 1000 mg three times daily symptoms of hot flashes were significantly reduced. One preliminary research suggests that taking Panax Ginseng helps with fatigue, insomnia, and depression in menopausal women. It is also said to stop hot flashes and increases ovarian estrogen production in early menopause.
Red Clover: Interestingly, the Red Clover’s flowering tops contain more than 100 different chemicals. Although scientific evidence is somewhat conflicting, many natural healthcare practitioners use it for hot flashes because of its isoflavones properties. A couple preliminary studies confirm Red Clover to reduce hot flashes. Typically, it is used as a mild estrogen stimulant and relieves abdominal pain.
Natural alternative medicines derived from herbs and spices may be an option for many. If you are considering taking any new herbs and spices, it is better to start with taking one herb at a time than to start taking multiple herbs all at the same time. This will give you the ability to see how your body reacts to each herb.
With any herbs or spices that you may consider digesting or using for medicinal purposes, please consult a healthcare practitioner before adding anything new to your health regime. Depending on your current diet, nutritional support, and prescription medicine, you could have interactions or adverse reactions to other herbs and spices along with prescription medicine. In addition, long-term use many not be recommended. It is better to check first with a medical healthcare practitioner first before beginning something new.
Blessings, Herbal Farmwife
For additional “Do It Yourself” natural remedies using herbs, spices, vitamins, minerals, and healing foods, please visit HerbalFarmwife.com.
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