Menopause is a period of time in a woman’s life where she goes through the process of ceasing to menstruate. This can often be challenging so it’s imperative to nourish the body more deeply before, during, and after this transitional phase.
According to ancient healing medicine this period of transition will take approximately seven years to complete. This is a VITAL time to support the kidney yin, otherwise known as the moistening, lubricating and blood building essence in the body.
As the woman’s system ceases to build blood every month, she can become drier (internally and externally), more irritable, anxious, restless, lethargic, experience bouts of sleeplessness, and suffer deep depression.
Below are some of my favorite herbal allies for transitioning through menopause with ease instead of angst:
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca): When the kidney yin becomes deficient, it puts the liver in a state of depression and sluggishness. According to ancient healers the liver is responsible for the emotion of anger. When someone going through menopause is highly irritable, experiencing unprovoked (or provoked) outbursts of anger, and is often irrational, it’s time for Motherwort to help clear the liver heat. As the Latin name suggests (lion heart), this herb cools the liver fire that is rising and negatively impacting the heart. Liver heat injures the heart resulting in heart disease. Use motherwort for PMS, overly stressed nerves, hot flashes, anger relief, and to support your beautiful heart.
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa): Women often talk about the “black cloud” of depression that descends upon them during the menopause years. This is when Black Cohosh does its best work. It’s bitter, acrid flavor helps to disperse the heavy stagnation and dampness associated with a sluggish digestion due to the energy dropping during the menopause years. This herb also helps relieve menstrual pain, joint pain, and water retention.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): The digestive system and the liver take a BIG hit during the menopause years. Dandelion root is a powerful ally to clear liver congestion, detoxify the body and regulate production of hormones. The leaf is rich in vitamins A, C, iron, calcium, potassium and other trace minerals. Dandelion is also naturally diuretic and helps relieve excess water and bloating during this time of life.
Chaste Tree Berry or Vitex (Vitex angus-castus): As the hormones surge out of control during this phase of life, along comes this amazing hormone regulator to the rescue: Chaste Tree Berry. This is an excellent herb to reduce the hysteria that accompanies hormonal imbalance. It also relieves menstrual flooding and water retention.
Kava Kava (Piper methysticum): For those ladies that are anxious, restless, can’t quiet your mind and certainly cannot sleep! Kava Kava induces tranquility, calms anxiety, and can help you get some much needed rest and relaxation.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnate): The sleeplessness that comes with this transition of life can drive many women batty. It’s imperative to get good sleep, and Passionflower is a natural sedative. It’s best to NOT take this herb during the day because of its tranquilizing effect. Combine Passionflower with Kava Kava for a better sleeping experience.
Red Clover Blossoms (Trifolium Pratense): Red clover is a flowering plant in the bean family (fabaceae) and is phystoestrogenic. A diet rich in phytoestrogens reduces the adverse symptoms associated with menopause. As the body’s estrogen level (and other hormones) begin diminishing, the estrogen receptors pick up the phytoestrogens and provide a continual source of natural estrogen that is released slowly. This creates a gentler easing into menopause and reduces hot flashes.
Milky Oat Tops or Oatstraw (Avena Sativa): this entire plant, from top to bottom, is rich in minerals and trace nutrients like silica, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and vitamin B. The calcium and magnesium support the health of the bones and is essential for menopausal women as osteoporosis risk increases during this phase of life. Oatstraw also moistens the glands, eases anxiety, and soothes the nerves.
Nettles Leaf (Urtica diocia): Nettles is a mineral rich plant that is revered for its ability to strengthen the adrenals, ease anxiety, naturally cool the body, increase overall energy, and build the blood. When the blood is healthy it protects the bones and heart. With higher risks of both heart disease and osteoporosis for menopause and post-menopausal women, nettles leaf is an excellent herbal ally.
Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius): the benefits of taking ginseng during the menopausal years are cumulative – meaning, the longer you take it, the better you’ll feel. Ginseng has been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine to increase stamina, boost brain health and memory, enhance libido and nourish the kidney yin. Ginseng can reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes, lift depression and regulate endocrine function. It’s not a cure-all, but it certainly has earned its status as a panacea.
If you are struggling with unbearable symptoms of menopause, you need not suffer any longer. Use the above plants as powerful allies to help you through this transition and beyond.
To get more guidance on how to use these remedies to transition healthfully and happily through this challenging phase watch this FREE video:
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.