Sunday, February 8, 2015


     Menopause the word that strikes fear in the hearts of many.  I never really understood that nor the fear of growing old.  I embrace the changes that come with time.  I am more settled into myself.  I'm definitely wiser than I was.  And wise enough to know that I really know very little.  There is always something new to learn or explore.  I finally know what I want to be when "I grow up." I want to be me!  I'm happy being beyond quirky as my hubby says.  I'm happy being a cook, a mom, a wife, a friend, creative, an herbalist, a belly dancer, a yogi, a traveler  and anything else that strikes my fancy at the moment.
    And with all that I am reaching an age that my doctor will finally agree means that the "change" is happening.  Before that I was told I was too young to have hormonal changes.  OK, so I am not present in my body and what I am experiencing.  That soapbox story is for another time.  Truth be told that since I started menstruating each month has been a new adventure.  And now that it is sometimes several months or a couple weeks in between my moon time the adventure is still new.
     I never considered my period a curse.  It was one more step in the evolution of my growing.  There were times it was messy or inconvenient, there were times I cheered that it arrived and I was not pregnant, there were times I was sad that it arrived and I was not pregnant and now I am looking at a time in the not to distant future that it will not arrive any more.
     Some women walk through the door of change with no "symptoms"  their period just doesn't come any more.  Others battle fatigue, bloat, weight gain, mood swings, hot flashes, brain fog and so much more.  A good clean diet and exercise can do wonders for just about any dis -ease.  I also believe in herbs to aid in life transitions.
     I have had mild hot flashes most of my life.  So, now that I get an occasional HOT FLASH it intrigues me.  It gives me pause to reflect, research and experiment on myself.  I am my own test subject.  When I was having extremely painful ovarian cysts I refused the birth control pills the doctor suggested and added Vitex agnus-castus to my daily routine.  This made them almost completely disappear; at most I would feel a twinge.  When the hot flashes increased in intensity I realized I had reduced the vitex I had been taking.  Bringing her back into my life brought some balance and the hot flashes decreased.
     I have a few formulas I use for others depending on their symptoms.  These formulas aren't meant to cure anything.  There is nothing to cure.  Menopause is not a defect or disease.  It is a life transition.  What these formulas do is help bring things back into balance so that your transition is easier.
     Knowing that I run hot I have introduced cooling herbs into my daily diet. I love iced hibiscus tea for example.  It is deliciously fruity tasting, cooling and loaded with vitamin C.  I eat a lot more vegetables and lean protein and stay away from the breads, grains and pastas as much as possible.  I do this because I feel better when I do.  I'm listening to my body.  Your body may be different.  If you run cool you may want to introduce warming foods and spices to
your diet.  Ginger, cinnamon and root vegetables will warm you.
     My current formula for myself is Vitex agnus-castus, hawthorn and gotu kola.

Vitex Agnus-castus
Vitex Agnus- Castus - Chasteberry  balances hormones.
Hawthorn berries
Crataegus oxyacanth -  Hawthorn - is a heart tonic.  It relaxes and dilates the arteries, especially the coronary arteries.  This increases blood flow to the heart and can reduce symptoms of angina.  It will lower high blood pressure and raise low blood pressure.  It is used in Ayurvedic medicine to lower cholesterol and strengthen the cardiovascular system. By improving circulation it can aid those with cold hands and feet.   It can clear toxins from the gut and regulate metabolism. It can work on the nervous system to help calm a person who feels anxious or agitated.  Combined with lemon balm it can aid children with ADD and ADHD.  Its antioxidant properties ease inflammatory connective tissue disorders.
Gotu Kola

Centella asiatica - Gotu Kola - is a memory tonic.  I usually live in my head and can debate a topic with the best of them.  When I was suddenly stopping in mid sentence and could not finish the thought or even remember what the conversation was about I started to get a little nervous.  I made a few stress relieving life changes and started taking gotu kola.  It combines well with hawthorn berry for strengthening capillaries and veins.  By improving the integrity of the capillaries it is useful for the eyes, venous insufficiency, spider veins, varicose veins and anal fissures.  It clears toxins and inflammation and has been traditionally used for easing arthritis, gout and joint inflammation.  Gotu kola enhances concentration, improves memory and relaxes the brain when it is over stimulated.  In the ayurvedic tradition it is used to strengthen the mind, slow the aging process, support people with Alzheimer's disease and aid those who have experienced a stroke.  It can be used by those who meditate to help quiet the mind.  It calms and relaxes the central nervous system, reduces anxiety, depression and insomnia.  It is beneficial for inflammatory conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and hives.

1 comment:

  1. There is nothing to cure.

    So, so true.

    And beautiful Centella asiatica was - indeed - an occasional ally of meaning and value as I journeyed through the gate.

    EnJOY the journey!


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