[Guest Blog Post from Siri Baldeep Kaur of Angelic Herbs. ]
Herbs for Menopause
You are a goddess and as every beautiful goddess before you, and like all the great goddesses after you, we must all go through menopause as part of the beauty of womanhood. The transition of becoming a wiser woman and going through menopause is part of the secrets of being a woman that only we as the divine feminine tribe must go through and really only we can understand. Many women going through menopause feel as though they are less than a goddess- it’s time for change!
Women have been experiencing menopause since the beginning of time. So many women have had their share of hot flashes, mental confusion and the physical and mental changes that seem inevitable during menopause. Our era thinks about menopause as a condition that needs to be medicalized; from hormone replacement to antidepressants to estrogen lubricants. As one of my wise herbal medicine teachers would never let us forget… “Menopause is not a disease!
” It is just another state of being for a woman... with a whole lot of hormonal changes that don’t have to rule you! A woman has not gone through this much hormonal change since puberty. During menopause, she’s nearly going through puberty although this time around more consciously.
Honoring this phase of your life and feeling vibrant during menopause is possible… Start by looking at the foods that you consume or may not consume. Iron rich foods help to lessen feelings of exhaustion, fatigue and stress. They also help to heighten your energy and strengthen your blood oxygen. There are many foods with lots of iron; beets and their greens, alfalfa, apricots, bran, tofu, watercress, whole grains, blackstrap molasses, oats, eggs, raisins, parsley, seaweed, spinach, and sunflower seeds.
Vitamin E can also be helpful during menopause. It can help with hot flashes, muscle cramps and vaginal dryness. Some foods with nice levels of Vitamin E include; whole grains, dark green leafy greens, bee pollen, and some nuts.
Our ancestor goddess didn’t have pills to chill out her hot flash or all the emotional craziness going on, she had the beautiful green earth to call upon for healing. She understood her strength could be gathered from the food she ate and from the healing plants whose medicine works on the many levels of a person- body, soul, mind, heart, and emotions...There are so many useful herbs to help with menopause…
Vitex, also called Chaste Tree or Vitex agnus-castus, is one of the best herbal hormone regulators. When the berries of this plant are taken, the herb works to normalize pituitary gland functioning specifically relating to progesterone levels. The beauty of Vitex is that works to normalize any hormonal imbalance in relation to women’s reproductive health, a.k.a. her sex hormones. At menopause progesterone levels lessen and Vitex can be used to help a women’s body adapt to this change.
Dong Quai, also called Angelica sinensis, is another helpful herb during menopause. So many of the symptoms associated with menopause are similar to the symptoms of adrenal stress; such as feeling fatigued, irritable, anxious, depressed, and mood swingy. Once menopause has begun, the adrenal glands take over a lot of the work of the ovaries and produce small amounts of estrogen. Boosting the adrenal glands with good habits (such as eating healthfully and practicing stress relief techniques, YOGA!) before menopause and during menopause can help vitalize your adrenals. Dong Quai is great to help strengthen the glandular system ultimately lessening some of the undesirable symptoms of menopause. Dong Quai works to regulate the circulatory system and is high in iron and other minerals.
Black Cohosh, Cimicifuga racemosa, is the herb of all herbs to help you out with hot flashes, headaches, rapid heart beating, ringing in the ears, irritability and sleep disturbances associated with menopause and perimenopause (before you have officially stopped having a period for a full year). This herb is also excellent for relieving muscle pain and cramping. This herb is a nice one to keep in tincture form by your bed, as it is useful upon waking up with menopausal sweats.
Ginseng and Sage are great herbs to take for hot flashes as well. Ginseng will balance your body from cold and hot and sage tea is also helpful in relieving heat, especially excessive sweat. Try drinking Sage (Salvia officinalis) tea daily. Ginseng also helps with stamina and can heighten your energy.
Damiana is the lovin’ herb. The herb will heighten your libido as it works on your nervous system to calm and relax you especially in your pelvic region. Unwind and feel the love.
Gotu Kola and Ginkgo are great herbs to help you with mental clarity and relief of excessive mental fogginess. Also citrus based scents can help to awake and focus energy and brain capacity. These can all be used of course in addition to yogic breathing, such as alternate nostril breathing, which is so helpful in heightening energy and focus.
Ashwagandha is a calming herb, sedative fore the nerves and helpful for adapting to stresses. Also, Ashwagandha is helpful for feelings of tiredness, lack of concentration and headaches. It is a very nutritive herb and also makes an excellent rejuvenation tonic. This herb from the Ayurvedic tradition has been used as an energy boaster and also as a sexual tonic (an aphrodisiac or to correct imbalances). Enjoy its mood lifting effects.
Your physical body wants movement, even if your mind can’t fathom moving at all during the moments that menopause symptoms seem to have the best of you. Any form of exercise is so important for your bone health. When we don’t move around enough our bones can become brittle or stiff…so enjoy your yoga practice, walking around the neighborhood, dancing or just plain jumping around to prevent or alleviate some of the symptoms of Osteoporosis. You might hear that synthetic estrogen helps to increase bone density, but nature has plenty to help strengthen your bones as well. Calcium rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seaweeds and seeds are so helpful! Nettle and Oatstraw are great calcium rich plants!
We are blessed in our uniqueness. Each person feels different at any given moment. Thus, what one woman feels she needs for menopause, might not be what another woman needs. As our bodies and emotions differ, herbs may affect us differently as well; it may take one woman more time or less time to feel the effects of botanical medicines than others. This information is to be used to educate you on the possibilities for your own health that are available to you, not to diagnose...only suggest.
Bless yourself by helping yourself and be in charge of your own health! Plants are so willing and so able to aid in your vibrancy!
Wishing you vibrancy and love rooted in the Earth,
Siri Baldeep Kaur (Jacci StannaRose)