Menopause is a period of many changes, and for most women not all of them will be comfortable or pleasant. You might find yourself unable to stay asleep due to night sweats. Because of your mood swings, there may be times when your temper is unusually short. If your symptoms are getting in the way of your life or your relationships, consider taking menopause herbal remedies for relief. These three herbs in particular contain powerful ingredients that can fight off uncomfortable symptoms and bring back balance to your mind, body, and spirit.
Gingko biloba: A menopause herb for the mind
Extracts from the oldest living tree species in the world can alleviate a number of conditions, including menopause symptoms. A number of human and animal studies show that ingesting gingko promotes better cerebral blood flow and provides the brain with healthy amounts of oxygen and glucose. Studies on rats also showed that continued consumption of gingko biloba is related to increased production of dopamine and norepinephrine because it can restore the neurons’ ability to receive these brain chemicals. Higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine are related to stable mood, improved concentration, and longer attention spans. Finally, gingko biloba is known to enhance memory and protect against degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Look for a gingko biloba extract that contains flavenoids and terpenoids, the active ingredients responsible for the herb’s brain benefits. Do not take gingko biloba together with anticoagulant herbs and drugs like aspirin.
Black cohosh: A menopausal treatment for the body
For many years, hormone replacement therapy was the standard treatment for hot flashes. However, current research shows that synthetic hormones causes estrogen dominance, leaving the body with too little progesterone to combat the negative effects of estrogen. Women with estrogen dominance are at higher risk for developing serious health conditions like breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis.
The good news is that herbs like black cohosh contain a substance called phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens. Phytoestrogens behave much like naturally-produced estrogens; they bind with the receptors in the body to prevent hot flashes and other uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. Unlike synthetic estrogens, phytoestrogens are too weak to cause estrogen dominance, which means you can prevent hot flashes without worrying about any serious, long-term side effects.
Black cohosh extracts are sold in tablets, capsule, teas, or tinctures in varying strengths. Ask for a standardized preparation if you are looking for relief from menopause symptoms.
St. John’s Wort: A natural remedy for the spirit
While depression, insomnia, and mood swings may not be as uncomfortable as hot flashes, they can take a toll on your relationships and quality of living if you don’t keep them under control. Instead of turning to pharmaceutical anti-depressants, try using St. John’s Wort. This herb contains a substance called hyperforin, which prevents the re-uptake of neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine – the exact same action of prescription antidepressants. Simply put, this means that hyperforin prevents neurotransmitters from being reabsorbed by nerve cells, allowing higher amounts of these brain chemicals to circulate in the brain. Norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin carry nerve impulses into neurons where they are translated into emotions. An imbalance in these neurotransmitters is the chief cause of mood swings and depression. Often, getting rid of depression promotes regular sleep and reduces the occurrence of insomnia.
St. John’s Wort is available as a tablet in varying strengths. Do not take it together with pharmaceutical antidepressants.
Karen Hamilton is an advisor on a variety of women’s health topics. She has a Masters Degree in Transitional Psychology, as well as education in a number of complementary therapies. After her own suffering with serious hormonal symptoms and her success at overcoming them through naturopathic medicine, she is now living completely HRT free. Along her journey, she uncovered natural ways that are essential