‘Herbal remedies’ for menopause and perimenopause tend to work in a different way to modern medicine and treatment options such as Bio-Identical Hormone treatment. Their natural approach works more to preventing and reducing the severity of symptoms, as opposed to offering the controlled relief of presenting symptoms.
Many doctors today will recommend a joint treatment approach, utilising modern medical advances in conjunction with more natural remedies for the best result for a patient. To find out how Australian Menopause Centre treatments work, contact our expert team today.
Popular traditional herbal remedies for menopause include:
Black Cohosh is among the most popular and longest-studied natural hot flushes treatment. Derived from a plant in the buttercup family, it has been used for centuries and can be taking many forms – capsules, tablets, tincture or mixed with water as a tea.
Black Cohosh is a herb that exerts its effects on the endocrine regulatory (hormonal) mechanism in your body. It’s a phytoestrogen, but structurally it more closely resembles estradiol, which researchers believe offers protection against cancer of the endometrium, ovaries and breast.
Black Cohosh is thought to work similarly to serotonin in the brain. This means it is possible to ease feelings of depression while regulating body temperature. In a study of 704 women, 49% of the women who took black cohosh extract experienced complete relief of menopausal symptoms. These symptoms included headaches, vertigo, sweating, hot flashes, ringing in ears, and heart palpitations. An additional 37.8% experienced significant improvements.
An important consideration for long-term use of black cohosh is its potential toxicity. While no overdose amount is yet to have been found with black cohosh, precaution for potential toxicity is always important, regardless of the substance.
Some women use red clover for assisting menopause symptoms. The herb contains isoflavones that are changed to phytoestrogens once in the body. There is contradictory research findings about the effects of red clover, with most of the research suggesting little improvement. That said, research based on specific red clover products, including Promensil, Novogen and Melbrosin International, suggests that red clover can reduce the severity of hot flushes while improving menopause-related anxiety and depression.
Traditionally used to balance hormones and stop mucus accumulation in the oral, nasal and ocular passages, red clover extract can improve overall satisfaction in terms of the symptoms of ageing. When estrogen levels fall, isoflavones can have positive effects in reducing symptoms related to estrogen loss, symptoms such as hot flushes, trouble sleeping, bone loss, weight gain, cardiovascular problems and inflammation of the joints.
Some early evidence suggests that red clover may improve some secondary conditions associated with postmenopause, including reducing blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.
St John’s Wort
St John’s Wort is a hugely popular menopause treatment in the United States with many believing it can help ease menopausal mood swings while aiding sleep and relaxation. Derived from a wild flowering plant called Hypericum perforatum, the leaves and flowers are harvested and dried to make a tea that can be brewed. It can also be taken in pill or liquid form.
St John’s Wort has been considered of medicinal value for thousands of years, with the Ancient Greeks using it to treat various mood disorders. Today it is still most commonly associated with the treatment of nervous and mood disorders, such as anxiety, tiredness and loss of appetite. In fact, one study suggested that 76 percent of women taking St John’s Wort over 12 weeks saw menopausal complaints diminish or completely disappear.
Ginseng has long been used to treat menopausal symptoms, especially for memory and concentration loss. Containing ginsenosides (known to boost brain function and blood flow) and phytoestrogens (known to mimic estrogen and act as an estrogen antagonist), ginseng can help to balance hormones, improve cognitive behaviour, and lead to higher bone density and fewer breaks. Ginseng has also been shown to regulate iron absorption into the bloodstream, offering mild anti-inflammatory effects and protecting against iron level fluctuations.
Taking too much ginseng, however, may lead to headaches and nausea, so many women turn to dong quai – known as the “female ginseng”. Dong quai is a fragrant plant with a cluster of small white flowers belonging to the same family as carrots and celery. People in China, Korea and Japan use dong quai to build bone health, boost or activate blood circulation, treat blood deficiency, relieve pain, regulate the immune system and relax the bowels.
Herbal treatment to complement hormone therapy
More research on the effectiveness of herbal preparations to manage the symptoms of menopause is needed, however results so far have been positive. The best way to use herbal remedies is for them to be prescribed by a trained natural therapist. A quality herbalist or naturopath will be able to guide you towards herbal remedies aimed at a range of symptoms, from sleep disturbance and mood swings to hot flushes, reduced libido and night sweats.
The Australian Menopause Centre was founded out of a need for a more natural alternative to synthetic hormones. Menopause is a difficult stage in any woman’s life and we believe there’s no need to suffer through symptoms if you don’t have to. But as with most of life’s treatments and health programs, how you compliment your chosen routes can make a difference to overall results.
Here at the Australian Menopause Centre, your assembled team of experts will guide you through not only the best care available from us, but will happily offer you more information on complementary treatments, including herbal remedies.
Remember, herbal remedies should be treated as “complementary medicine” and not turned to as a one-stop fix. If you have any more questions, book a free consultation with one of our experienced doctors today.