3 Herbal Remedies for Menopause

3 Herbal Remedies for Menopause

As a female you will eventually reach menopause. For some this is a fairly easy transition while for others, it may be a difficult challenge. Most women experience the in-between where you can have days of no symptoms at all to days you just want to crawl back under the covers.   

According to the Mayo Clinic, 

“Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It’s diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.”

In the past, conventional medicine might have approached menopause and especially pms (pre-menstrual cycle) symptoms as women being hysterical. It was not until medical practitioners and researchers alike figured out the female body a little better to determine applicable treatment. This would, and still does, consist of a cocktail of pharmacological prescriptions and over-the-counter (OTC) temporary fixes that might include: 

  • Vaginal estrogen
  • Low-dose antidepressants
  • Medications to prevent or treat osteoporosis
  • Gabapentin, Clonidine, Catapres, Kapvay, Neurontin, Gralise, and others for hot flashes

Many women do well on these conventional treatments, however if you want to try some of these 3 natural remedies for menopause, check with your doctor first and see if any help. 

Are You Entering Menopause?

If you fit the age-range, chances are your body will begin developing symptoms of menopause. According to the Mayo Clinic symptoms may include one or more of the following: 

  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hot flashes
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism
  • Thinning hair and dry skin
  • Loss of breast fullness

Your doctor will be able to confirm these symptoms to be menopausal as well as rule out any other related condition. It is important to note that, if possible, checking with your mother or even grandmother regarding their own transition may give you insight to what you may experience. 

Female Ginseng

Chinese medicine often uses ginseng root mostly to be applied to male patients. This root has shown links to supporting stamina and overall well-being often referred to as the essential male tonic elixir. Ginseng is often consumed as a tea or tincture but is available in pills and the whole root which is used in some food recipes. As in most patriarchal societies, a female tonic can be overlooked, however there are several. Dong Quai (pronounced: “kwhy”) can be an effective remedy for menopausal symptoms. 

Known as the female ginseng, dong quai (technically called angelica sinensis), dates back over 2000 years with observational studies Healthline reports as being linked to,

  • Building blood health
  • Boosting or activating blood circulation
  • Treating blood deficiency
  • Regulating the immune system
  • Relieving pain
  • Relaxing the bowels

Most of the success of dong quai has been self-reported however one study by researchers from The Central Menopause Outpatient Clinic, General Health Services of Israel published in Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics and Gynecology showed promise for hot flash reduction. 

The study looked at a combination of dong quai and chamomile applied in a placebo-controlled experiment on 55 postmenopausal women who complained of hot flushes and refused hormonal therapy. The women would consume 5 chewable tablets (herbal or placebo) daily between meals for 12 weeks.

The results reported by the study indicated,

“There was a significant difference between the study group and the control group in the decrease in number and intensity of hot flushes from baseline to completion of treatment (90-96% vs 15-25%). In the study group, a response was already noted during the first month of treatment (68% +/- 2% reduction of hot flushes during the day and 74% +/- 4% during the night). There was also a marked alleviation of sleep disturbances and fatigue.”

Dong quai can be taken in capsule or tincture and should be monitored closely with your doctor. 

The Black Prince

Black cohosh has been reported as a lifesaver for some women struggling with menopausal symptoms. This herb is part of the buttercup family and has been used in ancient healing circles all the way through the 1950’s and continues to show positive benefits for treating menopause today. Although studies vary, a direct connection to how black cohosh affects the body is only theorized. Some researchers believe it can regulate the hormonal imbalance of estrogen which occurs during menopause. 

According to Medical News Today 

  • A 2010 review concluded menopausal women experienced a 26 percent reduction in night sweats and hot flashes when using black cohosh supplements.
  • A 2013 review of available studies found that menopausal symptoms reduced more, on average, in women taking black cohosh than in women taking a placebo.
  • A 2017 study found that black cohosh might help regulate body temperature in female rats without ovaries.

“The British Herbal Compendium recommends taking 40-200 milligrams (mg) of the herb in dried form, spread throughout the day into individual doses. Traditionally, much higher doses spread out evenly in three doses were recommended.”

Female Viagra

Another side effect of menopause is a significantly reduced sex drive. This probably comes as no surprise given the many uncomfortable menopausal symptoms. However, utilizing the above remedies and adding in maca root could round off a highly effective treatment. Maca root is a taken from a plant native to South America called lepidium meyenii or just, the maca plant. 

A study cited by the Texas Children’s Hospital reported that,

“One recent study looked at the use of maca root in the treatment of women with antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. The study found maca led to significant improvement in sexual functioning in postmenopausal women, and the herb was well tolerated. Maca has also been shown to improve depression symptoms and hot flashes in some postmenopausal women, as reported in Menopause and Climacteric. For postmenopausal women unable to take estrogen replacement therapy due to health concerns, maca could prove to be a safe and effective alternative.”

Also, according to the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine,

“[Maca root] has been used for centuries in Andean cultures as a treatment for anemia, infertility, and female hormone balance…Three studies used pre-gelatinized maca,and one study used dried maca.All studies employed a placebo control for comparison. Each of these trials indicated favorable effects of maca on menopausal symptoms as measured by the Greene Climacteric Scale and the Kupperman Index compared with placebo.”

These 3 herbal remedies for menopause show how using plant-based sources may help you avoid pharmaceutical fixes that may cause side effects. It is important to stay in communication with your doctor when using any alternative remedy and always search for the most pure supplements.