Menopause - This difficult time of life for females can be helped using natural remedies.
The menopause is an inevitability for women and volumes have been written on how to reduce and cope with the symptoms. However I thought it may be useful to review older and more recent remedies and perhaps add a few that are lesser known.
The first stage is to consider your diet. Clinical trials have found it better to eat as naturally as possible with smaller but regular meals that will stabilise blood glucose levels. Avoid tea and coffee in excess, refined sugar, tobacco and alcohol which will affect the glucose levels and take from the body vital nutrients.
The diet needs to be rich in B vitamins which will help reduce stress. Try to ensure that you include oily cold water fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, brown rice and yoghurts The omega-3 fatty acids in cold water oily fish is particularly important as the body can only obtain it from food. If you don’t like fish you can use supplements.
Two minerals are particularly important and are often low or missing during the menopause. They are magnesium and calcium and should be taken together – a dosage of 500mg calcium and 250mg magnesium. This combination helps with the absorption of calcium to avoid osteoporosis and also acts to reduce stress.
During menopause the oestrogen levels drop leaving you more at risk from osteoporosis and your cardiovascular disease risk rises to that of the male. To help treat the symptoms we should look at vitamins and herbs that will have a dual purpose to treat against the diseases and the menopausal symptoms.
To help rebalance hormone levels there is a resurgence in herbs used decades ago by the local midwife. The first to consider is the Chaste Berry (Agnus castus) which has adaptogenic properties and will help prevent hot flushes in many cases. Wild Yam seems to support progesterone levels but Agnus castus is better. Korean Ginseng (Panex) will increase the activity of the adrenal glands when under stress and Valerian will help reduce tension. Sage also has properties to reduce hot flushes. To help maintain the hormone levels you can try False Unicorn root or Ladies’ Mantle. The Chinese herb Dong Quai has oestrogenic properties and will help repair and nourish the thinned walls of the vagina and bladder which can sometimes be the cause of cystitis. It has additional properties to aid sleep when night sweats are a problem, is high in magnesium and will ease menopausal rheumatism.
During the menopause the liver can be overstressed and Dandelion (either as a tincture or eating young leaves in a salad) will help to regulate the hormones and allow the liver to function more easily.
We come to conventional medicines answer to menopausal problems – HRT. This was originally hailed as a wonder cure but more recently even the scientists involved are starting to have second thoughts due to various possible adverse side-effects. A major investigation revealed that taking HRT can result in a significant increase in breast cancer and blood clots. If you are happy with HRT and want to continue then there is a recent supplement called DIM (diindolymethane) which can reduce the adverse side-effects mentioned. It comes from extracts of cruciferous vegetables and changes how oestrogen is metabolized. It is available as “Tyler’s Indolpex” supplement.
To replace HRT naturally there are now products known as Phytoestrogens which is a combination of herbs, essential fatty acids and oils. There is no published clinical trials information available but reports from hundreds of users claim its efficiency. There are three products you may like to try:
***I had previously recommended a combination herbal remedy called Meno-Herb” it only contains a small percentage of black cohosh, but recent information has now found cases of liver damage caused by this herb and in consequence I must now warn against its use.***
“The Essential Woman” is a blend of evening primrose oil, flax and soy isoflavones and is available on line.
“Woman Essence” is a combination of Australian Bush Essences in the form of a tincture. It combines She Oak to regulate the ovaries and Mulla Mulla to control hot flushes.
Essential oils can have an important part to play in treating the problems of the menopause. The oils used in irregularities in the menstrual cycle in earlier life can also be used now. Geranium is a hormonal balancer and Rose regulates the menstrual cycle while also cleansing and toning the uterus. Camomile helps to calm and antidepressant essential oils such as ylang-ylang, bergamot, jasmine, clary sage, lavender, Neroli and sandalwood can be very helpful. Irregular cycle and heavy bleeding in early menopause can be treated with cypress but care must be taken to ensure the bleed is not due to fibroids and this should be discussed with your doctor. As an alternative to HRT, oestrogenic oils such as clary sage, fennel, star anise and tarragon can be used in conjunction with hormone balancing geranium oil. Overall an excellent essential oil is Rose which is antidepressant, aphrodisiac and good for older skin. These can be massaged into the skin using a carrier oil that will improve the drier skin, such as Rosehip or Argan oil or may be added to a warm relaxing bath.
I am told that something called “Menopausal cakes” exist. It is supposed to be like a fruit loaf but with all the nutrients you need to overcome the menopause. There seems to be various recipes but I acknowledge the following from www.NaturalMenopause.net
4ozs/100g Soya flour
4ozs/100g wholemeal flour (replace with more oats for wheat free loaf)
4ozs/100g rolled oats
4ozs/100g linseeds (flaxseed)
2ozs/50g pumpkin seeds
2ozs/50g flaked almonds or walnuts or any other nuts
2ozs/50g sesame seeds
2ozs/50g sunflower seeds
2 pieces of finely chopped stemmed ginger (optional)
8ozs/225g raisins or dates or cranberries
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
15 fl oz/425ml Soya milk
1 tablespoon malt extract
Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add Soya milk and malt extract, mix well and leave to soak for about 30 minutes to one hour.
Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.
Line a small loaf tin with baking parchment.
If the mixture ends up too stiff (it should have a soft dropping consistency), stir in some more Soya milk.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about one to one and a half hours.
Test with a skewer to check its cooked properly.
Turn out and cool.
Eat one thick slice of Menopause Cake a day.
More information on this cake can be obtained from the Woman’s Health Advisory Service (Australia) on http://wa.gov.au/search-results.html
Relaxation using visualisation techniques or a course of Reiki treatment will help enormously in coping with stress and depression.
Finally there are two warnings to using herbs. If you are taking antidepressants or tranquillisers don’t take Korean Ginseng at the same time. Also if you are taking HRT do not take Dong Quai.
Are you of an age to suffer the menopause?
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© 2012 Peter Geekie