When you buy an herbal menopause remedy, make sure that they contain herbs with phytoestrogen properties. Otherwise, your remedy won’t do much to relieve your hot flashes! Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring substances in plants that can influence the function of estrogen in the body. Although they can alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause by affecting estrogen activity, phytoestrogens are not “real” estrogens in the sense that they are the same estrogens produced by our bodies. Phytogestrogens bind to estrogen receptors in the same way actual estrogens do, and can either have pro-estrogenic or anti-estrogenic effects – depending on how saturated the receptors are. In bodies with low estrogen, as in menopause, empty estrogen receptors can accept phytoestrogens, which have a weak pro-estrogen effect and relieve menopause symptoms.
Unlike synthetic estrogens, which get stored in fat and stay in our bodies for a long time, phytoestrogens only work on the precursors to estrogen. That way, you can enjoy the relief of an estrogen boost without worrying about the serious health impacts of estrogen dominance that can be caused by hormone replacement therapy. Below are the five most effective phytoestrogens for menopause relief.
Black Cohosh – A very effective menopause herbal treatment
Black cohosh is from a tall flowering tree that grows in North America. It is known to contain a non-steroidal phytoestrogen called isoflavones, which can regulate temperature, strengthen bones, and provide vaginal lubrication. These effects are observed when black cohosh reaches the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that regulates hormone production and body temperature. Many women swear by black cohosh’s ability to relieve the discomfort caused by hot flashes and night sweats. Black cohosh can be taken daily for up to six months, but should not be used as a long-term remedy. Since the herb is known to increase the number of liver enzymes, black cohosh should not be taken by those with liver disorders.
Ashwagandha – A treatment to correct the vata
According to India’s ancient healing tradition Ayurveda, hot flashes, anxiety, and insomnia due to menopause are caused by an excess in vata energy. Vata is the air and space energy that regulates motion, breathing, blood circulation, and heartbeat. A balance in vata is characterized by vitality and creativity. An imbalance causes anxiety, fear, and other physical symptoms. The Ayurvedic approach to treating menopause involves correcting the vata imbalance with herbs like ashwagandha. The ashwagandha plant is an important herb for Ayurvedic medicine because of its beneficial properties, including flavonoids and phytoestrogens that can reduce inflammation, decrease stress, invigorate the body, and serve as an antioxidant.
Ginseng – A trusted menopausal herb
The perennial plant ginseng is one of the most popular herbal remedies for menopause, particularly for hot flashes and palpitations. Although there have been few human studies on ginseng’s impact on menopause symptoms, animal investigations show that ginseng lowers body temperature by releasing the adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). ACTH is responsible for triggering the utilization of glucose and fatty acids, which are important substances that help the body cope with stressors. Increased levels of ACTH were also found to counteract the skin temperature rise that results from hot flashes. Although ginseng is primarily a stimulant, it was also found to be helpful in dealing with menopause-induced insomnia.
Dong Quai – Another menopause natural medicine for hot flashes
Often called the “female ginseng” for its benefits to female reproductive health, dong quai is another important herbal remedy for menopause symptoms. Aside from containing a high concentration of phytoestrogens, dong quai also contains vitamins A, E, and B12. The herb also relieves hot flashes by dilating the blood vessels and increasing the blood flow. Clinical studies on dong quai show that menopausal women who take daily 400mg doses of the herb experienced a 25% decrease in hot flashes. Dong quai is especially potent when used with black cohosh.
Red Clover – For all around menopause symptom relief
Last but certainly not the least is red clover, a plant primarily grown for grazing purposes. Today, however, red clover is an important cure-all for uncomfortable menopause symptoms. Clinical trials on red clover supplementation show that it can reduce the frequency of hot flashes and the intensity of mood swings. Aside from alleviating the discomfort in menopause, red clover can preserve the state of your health. Its high calcium and magnesium content makes the herb a great protector against osteoporosis and bone density loss. Red clover is also thought to increase the amount of good cholesterol, or high density lipoprotein, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Remember, herbal remedies can interact with prescription medication you might be taking now. Consult your doctor or a licensed herbalist before taking any supplements.