Hot flushes, night sweats, palpitations, mood swings, thinning hair, weight gain, wrinkles, depression...the list goes on. But there is hope! This is where herbs really come into there own and not just expensive online buys but ones that can be found growing in our own gardens.
I use this for the 2 weeks before my period and it stops the hot flushes, eases my mood and helps me to sleep. It is also said to be good for night sweats, easing nerves, relieving dizziness, trembling, emotional outbursts, easing headaches, memory issues, flooding, reducing menstrual cramps. Sage is very high in minerals so add some leaves daily chopped up in soup or a salad and drink as a tea as often as you need it, effects can be noted in a couple of hours.
I alternate sage with red clover flower tea, this is good to help normalise the thyroid function and is full of iron, calcium and phytoestrogens and does all the same things as sage for helping with menopause. Drink as a tea or take as a tincture, the flowers can also be used in a salad. Red clover is another cheap alternative as can be bought in bulk or you can collect it yourself when its growing in some abandoned field.
Okay this you will not have growing in your garden unless living in Peru but its easily bought in powder form from the internet. Native Peruvians have a long history of using maca as food for energy and stamina. They also use maca as a remedy to enhance fertility and sex drive in men and women, and alleviate PMS and menopausal symptoms such as disturbed sleep, hot flushes, anxiety and loss of libido. Its full of b vitamins so is excellent for the nervous system. Take 1-2 tablespoons a day for best results, it tastes mild and malty and can be added to a tumeric or raw chocolate latte or a smoothie.
When sweating alot from hot flushes its easy to lose alot of our vits and minerals through the sweat so a good wholesome diet will help to keep your nutritional levels high.
Eat a whole foods diet that includes, nuts and seeds inc flax, sesame, sunflower, avocado for essential fatty acids, vitamin E and phytoestrogens.
Whole grains including buckwheat for their minerals and B vitamins.
Seaweed for thyroid and general mineral support, red lentils and any kind of bean, kidney beans etc. for isoflavones as well as leafy greens and fruits and berries.
Raw chocolate for calcium and magnesium, (pointless eating cooked chocolate as they heat it to very high levels that changes its constitution and then doesnt benefit the body.)
Vitamin D3 supplement for supporting absorption of calcium.
Remember to add regular herbs from the garden such as marjoram, oregano, parsley etc. as well as nettles which are all high in helpful nutrients.
Sore swollen breasts - 1 capsule of starflower oil every day for a month has helped me, it normally
lasts for some time before needing to take it again.
Testosterone dominance - showing up as excessive hair growth on the face etc. Pcos or /and depression. Reishi mushroom, natural licorice, nettles, lentils, raw chocolate all reduce testosterone. Green tea has also been shown to bind up testosterone and remove it from the body.
Weight gain - being fit is always good for the ageing body but being 'thin' is not beneficial for menopause. Fat cells convert androstenedione, a substance produced by the adrenals and ovaries, into estrone - the primary post menopausal estrogen.
Some Indigenous women know this and proudly carry some extra weight which lowers the risk of osteoporosis as well as helps generally to have an easier menopause.
Sleep issues - try 3g melatonin before you go to sleep but no later than 10pm. Not for every night use as the body can stop making its own melatonin when taking the tablet form, so take breaks with it.
Depression - can be brought on by using progesterone cream or hormone replacement therapies, low levels of zinc, calcium and b12 or hypothyroidism.
Tahini and yogurt, oatstraw tea are good sources of calcium and oysters, garlic and pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc. Seaweed taken for a few months can help balance the thyroid unless its over active then its best to avoid high sources of iodine. Aim to sleep less if you suffer with depression as sleep causes a depressive causing substance to be produced.
For a real in-depth look at all stages of menopause, the role it has in womens lives and the herbal and dietary solutions I highly recommend Susun Weeds book 'New menopausal years - the wise woman way'.