With 13 million women in the UK either approaching or going through ‘the change’, it’s not surprising that there’s a lot of interest in natural remedies for menopause. As women reach menopause, their periods will tend to go one of two ways; either gently trailing off or going completely haywire. In my experience, the haywire scenario tends to happen more in women who’ve had trouble with their periods in the past, but in any case, many women find that menopausal symptoms have a significant impact on their lives. Both physical and mental health can be affected, and suicide rates are highest in women in their early 50’s, which is when most are going through menopause.
Raising Awareness Of Menopause
But we’re slowly raising awareness of the problem, with Doctors receiving specialist training on how to support menopausal women. Companies like ‘Talking Menopause’ are also educating employers about their legal responsibilities as well as the practicalities of helping women at work, and I’ve even been invited in to talk to menopause support groups run for staff during lunch breaks.
Conventional Treatment For Menopause
In terms of mainstream medical treatment, the two main options offered by Doctors are Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and anti-depressants. Whilst they can both have their place, many women have concerns over the side effects, and prefer to look at how diet, lifestyle and herbs may be able to help them. The NICE guidelines which all UK based GP’s work to even suggest recommending two herbs proven to be beneficial in managing menopause.
How Herbs Can Help You Through Menopause
If you’re struggling with your menopause, I’d strongly recommend getting a full assessment with a Medical Herbalist as part of your self care regime. Medical Herbalists have found that herbs can offer a safe and effective way of helping the body to cope with all the changes that menopause brings. On a physical level, they can help to rebalance hormone levels by supporting production, using phytosterols which act like weaker versions of the female hormones, and helping the body to clear out used hormones. Herbal adaptogens and nervines can reduce the impact of long term stress on hormone production, and we can also work on treating the individual symptoms like hot flushes, brain fog, and loss of libido. Menopause is treated herbally in the same way as any other health problem, in that we unpick what’s happening for the patient, and personalise the medicine to suit them. We’re all different, which is why some well known remedies for menopause will work very well in some women, and make matters worse in others. It’s best to get expert help if you can, but if you want to try self medicating with herbs, here are five popular ones:
Vitex agnus castus
This works on the pituitary gland in the brain, which is involved in hormone production, and influences both oestrogen and progesterone levels depending on the dosage used. Used correctly, this herb can be very useful in treating a variety of menopausal symptoms.
I use this herb specifically to help women who are suffering with increased anxiety around the time of menopause. It’s ideal where this is linked to palpitations or high blood pressure. It has an instant calming, grounding effect without causing drowsiness, and can aid restful sleep.
Black Cohosh originates from North America where it was a traditional remedy for menstrual and menopausal problems. It was also known as ‘Rheumatism Weed’ as it can be used to relieve aches and pains, particularly across the shoulders. Black Cohosh is useful for treating hot flushes, headaches and mood swings, but should only be used in limited doses and for a few weeks at a time.
Depending on the cause, cooled Sage tea can be very effective in treating hot flushes. It is a powerful phyto-oestrogen, helping to lift brain fog, improve memory loss and sharpen the thinking. On a deeper level it can also bring wisdom, helping the woman to see the bigger picture and become more at peace with her situation. Traditionally post menopausal women were revered for the wisdom that had come with age, and it’s no co-incidence that we talk about wise old Sages.
This is an Asian herb traditionally used as a nourishing tonic for women, and is often used in convalescence. It’s name roughly translates as ‘She who has a hundred husbands’, thanks to its energising and aphrodisiac properties. It’s used to help women where chronic stress has upset their hormone levels, especially where the stress pattern has lead to a ‘burn-out’ or chronic fatigue scenario.
Are You Worried About Your Menopause?
In countries where there’s a culture of healthy living, good diet and using herbs, there tends to be very little problem with menopause. Please don’t despair, as there are plenty of ways that you can be helped on your journey. Book your £10 consultation now, and tell me what’s been going on for you.