Monday, February 16, 2015

Menopause - more herbs - more relief


 There are many herbs used to make the journey preceding menopause more comfortable.  For many there period just stops.  For others it can be a physical and emotional roller coaster. And the one thing that seems to be consistent is that it is different for everyone.  My first piece of advice would be to listen to your body, your intuition.  I was told repeatedly by my doctor that I was too young to have any symptoms.  Hormone imbalances do not ask your age.
     I needed to balance my hormones and my lifestyle.  For me I needed to cool things down - at work, in life and in body.  Changing what I could at work, eliminating things in my life that were not bringing me joy and cooling herbs helped.  I have not stepped fully through the door to menopause yet but I am enjoying the journey.
     I mentioned the herbs that I use for myself in menopause.  But, there are other herbs to help as well.  The herb that received a lot of press a few years back was Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa).  When it didn't work for everyone it lost its credibility.  )It was found in a German trial that combined with St. John's Wort that it is 78% effective in reducing hot flashes.  Herbalists use it for those with menstrual pain where estrogen levels are too low.  It is antispasmodic and it is effective in easing ovarian pain and uterine cramps, before and during menstruation.  It restores tone to the uterus and reproductive organs.  It helps bring on delayed menses by stimulating the uterus and by improving blood circulation to the pelvic area.  It may also improve bone health. Because it is a uterine stimulant do not use if pregnant.
     Wild Yam - Diocorea villosa  is a plant source for a steroid like substance, diasgenin, which was the starting point of the contraceptive pill.  There is no suggestion that the plant was used as a contraceptive in the past, although it has been traditionally been used in Central America to relieve menstrual, ovarian and labor pains due to its relaxing qualities.  It acts to regulate the progesterone to estrogen in the system.  It is used for menstrual distress, infertility, menopause, endometriosis and hot flashes.  It is an anti-inflammatory and reduces the acute inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis and eases joint stiffness.  It is used for liver health, the endocrine system and gallbladder problems.
     Motherwort - Leonurus cardiaca (lion hearted) - She stimulates the muscles of the uterus, and is especially suitable for delayed menstruation, menstrual pain and premenstrual tension especially if shock or distress is a factor.  She should not be used if menstrual bleeding is heavy.  She hastens childbirth so she is to be used only in the last few days of pregnancy.  She is used for insomnia associated with menstruation.  She may shrink fibroids but may increase menstrual flow.
     Smilax sarsaparilla - this spicy root is what gave old fashioned root beer its flavor.  It is used for the prevention of gout, arthritis, inflammation of the joints and is particularly useful for scaling skin conditions like psoriasis.  Its estrogenic action makes it beneficial in premenstrual problems, and debility and depression associated with menopause.  It should not be used if you have kidney problems or diabetes.
     I have had much success combing these four herbs along with Chasete berry (Vitex Agnes-castus).

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