With its own set of symptoms, distinct from PMS but just as potentially unpleasant, menopause is a time of life to be cherished. However, it is much easier to do so with the support of some effective natural and healthy herbs! In addition to those already listed, we have collected several of our favorite herbs for aiding in cases of menopausal symptoms, from heat flashes to general hormonal imbalance, all without the need of pharmaceuticals.
1. Red Clover – Trifolium pretense
Traditionally chosen to cleanse the blood, red clover acts to detoxify the body, but is also a highly effective choice for menopausal symptoms due to its high concentrations of estrogenic isoflavone compounds. This can be particularly useful for women who have low estrogen levels and undergo hormone replacement therapy, offering a more natural and healthier alternative, while helping ease the particular symptoms that often come from low estrogen levels such as headaches, night sweats, heat flashes, and poor sleep. These isoflavone compounds are highly anti-inflammatory, so also come with benefits for the heart and circulatory system.
Red clover is best taken for periods of up to three months at a time, but after this we advise continuing only with the advice of a medical professional. It is most effective as a tincture, but 5-15 grams of red clover in a tea or capsule/tablet re also viable. In rare cases it can cause headaches or skin rashes. If pregnant or breast feeding, avoid taking concentrated extracts.
2. Sage, Spanish Sage – Salvia officinalis, S. lavandulifolia
Truly one of my favorite cooking herbs, sage is a masterful therapeutic resource, and this is no exception for menopausal symptoms. From sweating, to hot flashes, to headaches, small sips of a cold sage tea taken throughout the day can bring much relief to the less agreeable symptoms of menopause. Research in recent years has also suggested that sage may be able to act as a remedy for the early stages of dementia, while lowering stress, anxiety, and helping memory.
For longer term use for such purposes as dementia prevention, use Spanish Sage, which will be safer over a longer period. 2-4 grams of tea, or less ideally, capsules are effective and safe, though avoid while pregnant. Tinctures are also a viable option.
3. Alfalfa – Medicago sativa
In a similar fashion as red clover, alfalfa also contains estrogenic isoflavones that can help treat menopausal symptoms. In addition, alfalfa is a very nutrient dense herb, offering an abundance of calcium and magnesium, helping to prevent osteoporosis, as well as vitamins C, E, K and beta-carotene. Matched with sage, alfalfa makes an effective and highly nutritious addition to your food intake. The sprouts of the plant can be eaten, or a tea infusion from the leaves can drank at 5-15 grams per day. Do not over do the eating of seeding sprouts, and avoid alfalfa during pregnancy.
4. Wild Yam – Dioscorea villosa
Well used traditionally to help treat muscle cramps, including cramping and pain from menstrual symptoms, wild yam has started to enter the field as an effective treatment for menopause symptoms as well. Wild yam has a high degree of hormonal activity, but does not appear to fully convert to hormones when taken internally, while still treating such symptoms as poor sleep, hot flashes, and night sweat. As with many hormonally active herbal treatments, it is suggested to try it for several weeks to adequately test the effects. A tincture is the most ideal form of wild yam treatment, however 3-7.5 grams of the herb is also safe and effective when taken in capsule or tablet form. It has been known to cause irritation of the digestive tract, but generally only with excessive doses.
5. Puncture Vine, Caltrops – Tribulus terrestris
Another estrogenically active herb, puncture vine is most useful for women in menopause as a way to help rejuvenate libido and overall sexual vitality. As with many other herbs, it also has anti-inflammatory action, as well as acting as a tonic for the kidney and bladder. Tablets are most effective, and then capsules, take at the manufacturer’s suggested dosage.
You can try each herb mentioned above and see which one suits you better.