Menopause | Effective Relief through Herbs and Lifestyle
Menopause is a natural transition for women in the aging process. In fact, many cultures embrace it as an exciting new season in a woman’s life.
The Chinese refer to the transition as a “second spring” and view it as an exhilarating transition from a lifestyle surrounding the home to one that is more focused on the community.
Although it can be a time of change and renewal, many women struggle with the symptoms of menopause.
Some of the symptoms women may experience during and after menopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Brain fog
- Memory lapses
- Increased anxiety and depression
- Problems with sleep
- Weight gain
- Hair thinning
- Dry skin
- Reduced desire
- Brittle bones
Many women take these symptoms for granted once they reach menopause. But does menopause have to be an uncomfortable and tumultuous time?
Natural Remedies for Menopausal Discomforts
Some women, desperate for relief, turn to medication or Hormone Replacement Therapy. However, there are inherent risks with taking medication and hormones. Many women would prefer a more natural route.
Thankfully, there are natural ways to treat the uncomfortable side effects of menopause. Lifestyle changes can be effective in lessening symptoms and bringing relief. By adjusting their lifestyle and diet to concentrate on good health, many women find that they can have the bonus of less menopausal symptoms.
Some of these adjustments include incorporating a menopause-friendly diet, exercise, better sleep, and stress management.
Even with lifestyle adjustments, though, some women may still have some of the unpleasant symptoms of menopause. Herbs can be an extremely effective tool in balancing hormones and bringing an end to the side effects of menopause.
Women have been taking herbs for thousands of years to improve the transition into menopause. Many of their tried- and- true remedies now have scientific research to back up their efficacy.
Read on to find some of the best herbs for menopause and how one can start enjoying their “second spring!”
You can find all of the following herbs in our three formulas: Yin Synergy, Endo Adrenal, and He Shou Wu Plus. These formulas can be combined so the herbs can work synergistically together to help ease this transition.
Maca root, which is native to Peru and goes by the scientific name Lepidium meyenii, is often referred to as Peruvian ginseng. It has long been used in Peru as a part of their cuisine and revered for its medicinal properties.
Maca root has many benefits for women going through menopause.
A decrease in desire is common during the aging process. It sharply declines, though, during menopause for many women. Maca root can help increase drive and desire for women. In a review of four trials totaling 131 participants found that they had an increase in desire after taking it daily for six weeks.
Maca root also helps to relieve other common menopausal symptoms. A meta-analysis found that maca reduced common symptoms, such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances. Although it is too limited for a firm conclusion, it is promising and deserves further research.
In addition, a double-blind, placebo-corrected study found that maca was able to relieve menopausal discomfort. The study also justified the need for more in-depth research and points toward maca as a potentially helpful root for women.
Bone loss is a common problem after menopause. Previously doctors would give estrogen to counteract the effects of bone loss, but the science has never been substantiated. Maca may prove to be the help that women need. There are several studies on animals that show the effectiveness of maca to reduce bone loss.
A 2010 study found that maca protected the bone structure in female rats without any effects on uterine weight. Another study found that maca could offer protective effects for the bone beyond estrogen. A third study showed the effectiveness of maca in reducing bone loss after menopause.
Although these studies are limited to animals, they do give compelling evidence of the effectiveness of maca in reducing bone loss.
Damiana, which also goes by the name Tumera diffusa, has a long history as an aphrodisiac that dates back to the ancient Mayans and Aztecs. Modern research is starting to prove its effectiveness in stimulating desire in women.
A study from the University of Hawaii sought to find the effectiveness of an herbal mix that included damiana. They found that the blend improved desire and satisfaction in 72% of premenopausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal women.
A second double-blind study also sought to verify the herbal mix’s ability to improve desire and satisfaction for women. They found that 73% of women had an increase in satisfaction versus 37% in the placebo group. This study was for women in general, though, and not necessarily in menopause.
In addition to an increase in desire, damiana also helps aid weight loss. Many women struggle with weight gain during menopause and have a particularly difficult time losing weight.
Damiana helps with weight loss because it prolongs the gastric emptying time. This allows the stomach to feel fuller for longer. In a study from Denmark, participants who took damiana daily experienced significant weight loss during the 45-day trial.
Also known as Asparagus racemosus, shatavari is used throughout the female health cycle but can be especially helpful during menopause.
Like most of the herbs on this list, shatavari has a long history. It was used to balance women’s hormones and alleviate menopause in tropical Asia, India, Australia, and Africa. In fact, it’s called “Queen of herbs” in Ayurveda because of its ability to promote love and devotion.
Shatavari works by helping to treat decreased estrogen levels. Its phytoestrogen component helps treat hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, and vaginal dryness. One meta-analysis of multiple studies found that it reduced hot flashes. Another study with a formula containing shavatari showed it was effective in alleviating menopausal symptoms.
There are also initial animal studies that indicate it may help with desire. In one study on rats, researchers found female rats had reduced hesitation time while taking shatavari. Reduced hesitation is an indicator of increased desire in rats.
Animal studies also support the anti-stress components of shatavari. Problems with stress is a common problem for women as they enter menopause. Menopause is itself a stressful event, but it also makes women less able to adapt to the stress. Shatavari could be an answer for some women experiencing stress. A study from 2010 found that shatavari could help manage stress. Another from 2012 also found that it also has anti-stress properties.
Tribulus is a plant from the Mediterranean that produces fruit and is covered in spines. The whole plant, fruit, leaf, and root are used medicinally throughout the world. Both Traditional Chineses Medicine and Indian Ayurveda use the root and plant.
It is used for a wide variety of ailments, including urinary tract and heart health. However, it also has exciting implications for menopausal symptoms.
One 2017 study sought to find the effectiveness of Tribulus with ginger, saffron, and cinnamomum. Researchers found that it was statistically significant in reducing symptoms of menopause.
Another study found Tribulus effective in improving desire and lubrication for postmenopausal women.
Another study found that Tribulus was effective in alleviating menopausal symptoms in women. Researchers stated that it could be a safer alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Tribulus’ ability to regulate hormones make it ideal for many women during menopause.
Epimedium also goes by the name horny goat weed and the Chinese name yin yang huo. Although the research on epimedium is limited, it’s promising for helping relieve some of the symptoms of menopause.
Most of the positive attributes of epimedium come from the active compound icariin. Icariin helps to promote natural estrogen production. Researchers in one study found that the chemicals in epimedium had a more prolonged effect than conventional menopausal drugs. Although it still needs to be tested with humans, it could be an effective alternative to traditional medicine.
Epimedium can also be useful when used alongside traditional allopathic medicine. One 2011 study found that it can help reduce some of the harmful side effects of hormone therapy.
Epimedium is also a powerful antioxidant. Researchers found that it helps reset age-related metabolites, such as nucleotides, carnosines, and amino acids. This means it has powerful anti-aging effects.
Whether one decides to skip hormone replacement therapy or would like something to help alongside it, epimedium could be the right herb for them.
Called “potency wood” amongst the indigenous cultures in Brazil, locals used muira puama specifically for women’s health issues. Research shows that it has exciting implications for menopause.
One of its advantages is an increase in desire for women. One study found that 65% of women who took muira puama reported an increase in passion and intensity. They took muira puama as part of an herbal mixture for one month.
Muira Puama also helps control stress and depression, which are common during menopause. One 2010 study found that muira puama had adaptogen-like qualities to help control stress. Another study with an herbal product that contained muira puama had anti-stress effects on rats. Lastly, a study from 2008 showed that it had anti-stress and anti-depressant effects.
Although these studies are animal ones, they have exciting promise and warrant more research.
Lastly, muira puama supports cognitive health. The antioxidant component in muira puama promotes cognitive function. It helps to fight the infamous “brain fog” and memory problems that often come with menopause.
In one study, researchers found that it helped fight the age-related cognitive decline in rats. Another study found that it was even effective against Alzheimer’s in rats and yet another reversed amnesia in rats as well.
Also known as wolfberry, goji berry’s history goes back to ancient China. Chinese lore states that it was found by a man that was young and healthy-looking well into old age. He attributed his youth to the goji berry tree that grew in his backyard. People still bring their elders’ goji berry as gifts because of its reputed anti-aging properties.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, goji berry works by strengthening the kidneys. A kidney deficiency leads to lowered desire, lethargy, mental decline, and early onset menopause. Although researchers have not studied all of these claims yet, the science does show that it is a potent berry.
Goji berry is an exceptionally rich source of vitamin C, which is essential for many functions in the body. In fact, a dried goji berry has seven times the amount of vitamin C of oranges. It is also a rich source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene protects the skin and reduces the impact of aging. One study of mice found that the ones that drank 5% goji juice were protected from UV damage and skin disorders.
If one is trying to find ways to keep their skin fresh and young, goji berry could be the answer!
Goji berry also helps with mood. One study found that rats who consumed goji berries had reduced depressive and anxiety-like behaviors.
A different study found that it improved the mood, digestive health, and energy in participants who took goji berry for 14 days. Another boon for menopausal women, that study also found that participants had improved sleep and ability to focus.
Goji berry could provide the boost that women need during menopause to overcome many of their symptoms.
He Shou Wu
He shou wu is also called fo-ti, Chinese knotweed, and the scientific name Polygonum multiflorum. The ancient Chinese used he shou wu for healthy aging and longevity. It has exciting implications for aging and menopause.
He shou wu is high in estrogen, which is ideal for menopausal women who are low in estrogen. One study found that it is high in estrogen activity, second only to soy. Researchers found that it could be useful as an estrogen replacement source. It can help control and balance hormone production.
Researchers are also discovering he shou wu is helpful for memory and brain health as well. A study in 2016 found that it can help reduce inflammation in the brain, which affects learning and cognition. Another study in 2017 found that it helps support the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the area of the brain associated with memory.
Whether someone needs help with sleep, cognition, or balancing hormones, he shuo wu can provide the support they need.
Ashwagandha is one of the most revered herbs in Ayurveda healing. Practitioners have used it for over 3,000 years. It also goes by the name withania somnifera, Indian ginseng, and winter cherry.
Researchers have studied the herb and its effect on menopause. A study from 2012 found that it can be helpful to relieve symptoms. Participants had a significant decrease in hot flashes, improvement in mood, and increased energy and desire.
Stress has an incredible effect on aging and speeds up the aging process. Ashwagandha helps relieve stress to encourage more graceful aging. It works as an adaptogen, which brings that body back in harmony. Two studies, one in 2012 and another in 2014, found daily consumption lowered cortisol levels 11-32%. Cortisol is the stress hormone in the body that excites the “fight or flight” response.
Another study found that participants felt relieved anxiety after taking it for six weeks. Ashwagandha can be a powerful tool for decreasing anxiety and stress that is common in menopause.
It also helps to improve sleep because of its stress-busting quality. The study mentioned above also found that it improved sleep quality for those struggling with anxiety.
Ashwagandha has also been studied thoroughly for its effect on the brain. Animal studies found that it can reduce memory and brain problems. One study found that it helped sleep-deprived rats. Another even showed improvement in epileptic rats.
It has also been verified in human studies as well. A study from 2017 found that 50 adults who took it twice a day had improved memory and attention. Another study found that those who took it for two weeks did better on task performance.
If the brain could use a boost, consider giving ashwagandha a try.
Chinese practitioners have used Siberian eleuthero for the past 2,000 years. It’s also known as Siberian ginseng. Although it has similar benefits and usages, eleuthero is not the same or related to American ginseng, though.
Eleuthero has exciting implications for menopause. One is an increase in energy. A study of rats found that when pushed to exhaustion, eleuthero allowed them to go further. It also increased their fat utilization for more energy.
Research is also promising in the role of Siberian eleuthero and memory. One study found it was helpful for cognitive function in stress-induced environments.
Researchers are also studying eleuthero and its ability to help reduce osteoporosis. One 2013 study found that rats that took it for eight weeks had a 16.7% increase in femur density.
The structure of eleuthero could also be helpful for women in menopause. It binds to estrogen receptors in the body. This helps to reduce hormone withdrawal during menopause, which causes many of the symptoms.
Rhodiola is an herb that grows in the mountains of Europe and Asia. It works as an adaptogen to help the body adapt to stress. In fact, its root contains 140 active ingredients. It’s not surprising, then, that it has many uses for menopause.
One of rhodiola’s advantages is that it helps fight fatigue and improve concentration. One four-week study found that rhodiola had a positive effect on fatigue levels and concentration. Another study of 100 people found that those who took it for eight weeks had improvements in energy, mood, and focus.
It also improves mood by balancing neurotransmitters in the brain. One study of people with mild or moderate depression had significant improvement with rhodiola.
Rhodiola also improved brain function, especially for those under stress. One study of 56 physicians working night shifts found rhodiola enhanced cognition. Likewise, a study of military cadets on night duty had improved mental capacity.
A study of students who took it for 20 days scored 8% higher on their exams than the placebo group. If one is looking to gain a mental edge or beat brain fog, rholdiola could provide the answer.
Other Natural Remedies for Menopause
Herbs can help bring the boost we need, but lifestyle adjustments are also powerful for a smoother transition. Some modifications to consider include:
Although sleep might be harder to come by, it is more critical than ever during menopause. Sleep helps regulate all of the hormones in the body: stress, metabolism, etc. If we want to balance our hormones and keep menopausal symptoms at bay, make sleep a priority.
In addition to many of the herbs above, there are ways to make sleep easier in menopause:
- Keep the room dark and cool
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (including weekends)
- Put all screens away at least 20 minutes before bed.
- Implement a soothing bedtime routine: bath, reading, soothing music, etc.
It can be frustrating when sleep is hard to come by during menopause. However, proper sleep hygiene can make a significant difference.
Diet plays a crucial role in hormone balance and how we feel during and after menopause. The first thing to do is find out if any food triggers our symptoms. It’s relatively common for coffee and alcohol to aggravate night sweats. Spicy and sugary foods can be triggering as well. If we want to lessen our symptoms, pay attention to how one’s diet makes them feel.
Ditching the refined carbs and sugar is important as well. A diet high in refined carbs is associated with depression in postmenopausal women.
Also, be sure to add natural sources of calcium and vitamin D into the diet. Vitamin D is associated with a lower risk of hip fractures, and many women are deficient.
Common sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, cheese, and egg yolks. Foods high in calcium include spinach, kale, okra, white beans, certain fish, and milk.
Like sleep, menopause makes stress worse. However, stress management is more critical than ever for hormone balance.
Lower stress on the body by cutting out coffee, alcohol, sugar, and flour. Eat healthy fats, such as olive oil and fatty fish, for better mental health. Practice mindfulness and consider speaking with a therapist for better-coping skills.
The evidence on exercise to reduce hot flashes is limited. However, there is plenty of research on the benefits of regular exercise:
Consider taking a walk, lifting weights, gardening, dancing, or any movement one may enjoy. It can help improve many symptoms we have.
Improve Menopause with Both Herbs and Lifestyle
Menopause doesn’t have to be miserable. With the right herbs and lifestyle adjustments, we can easily transition.
Each of these herbs provides a dramatic improvement on their own. However, they can work together to create an even more significant effect. You can find these herbs in our Yin Synergy, Endo Adrenal, and He Shou Wu Plus. All three of these formulas can be combined so the herbs can work synergistically together to ease the coming of the “second spring.”
Give them a try today!
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