By Kate Mack, NE
There are so many herbs that can be helpful during Menopause. One particular herb is black cohosh but there are so many more that it can actually seem quite confusing. What herb is best to use and when? There are a number of companies that make a blend of herb teas that support this transition. The ingredients in many of these teas are Wild Yam Root, Licorice Root, Mexican Sarsaparilla, Vitex Berries, Motherwort, Blessed Thistle, Sage, Black Cohosh, Ginger Root, and Cinnamon. This is perhaps a great way to take away the guessing and get a good blend of the herbs that are helpful.
If you have one particular problem you may want to see an herbalist or visit an herb shop to do your own research. Susan Weed has written a very easy to use book on herbs for the menopausal years. It is called "Menopausal Years; The Wise Woman Way". I strongly recommend reading this book if you choose to explore herbal treatments.
The following are individual Herbs that are very beneficial for Menopause Women.
DONG QUAI (Angelica sinensis) has been called the female ginseng because of its ability to enhance energy and a sense of well-being. It also has analgesic and anti-allergy effects. (Murray, 1995:115)
CHASTE BERRY (Vitex agnus-castus) has a profound effect on pituitary function, which in turn shifts the production of hormones toward more progesterone and less estrogen. It helps balance irregular periods and hormonal swings. It also helps eliminate endometriosis and irregular periods. It protects against reproductive cancers and osteoporosis (Weeks, 1992:107).
MOTHERWORT(Leonurus cardiaca) is a common weed locally grown. It lessens the severity, frequency, and duration of hot flashes. It relieves insomnia and sleep disturbances and eases stressed nerves. It can eliminate menstrual cramps and relieve uterine pain. 10-15 drops of the tincture two or three times a day is recommended (Weeks, 1992:113).
GARDEN SAGE (Salvia officinalis) contains flavonoids and phytosterols. It has a lot of estrogenic qualities. It can help with emotional swings, ease irritated nerves, strengthen the liver, and prevent joint aches. (Weeks,1992:111)
BLACK COHOSH (cimicifuga racemosa) was used by the Native Americans. Black cohosh was derived from a species of buttercup. It was sold in the 1800’s for “female troubles” under the name Lydia Pinkham’s Famous Women’s Tonic. It binds to estrogen receptors and decreases hot flashes, night sweats and emotional swings. It helps digestion, relieves headaches, arthritic pain and calms the nerves. Fredi Kronenberg, PhD. says preliminary findings of studies on black cohosh at Columbia University show the herb to be safe. But he feels more research needs to be done to be 100% sure. Black cohosh is the most well documented natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy (Weeks,1992:105).
LICORICE ROOT (Glycyrrhizin glare) includes both flavones and lignans. It has many pharmacological actions including anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, antibacterial, and anti-cancer effects. It also helps replenish adrenal function. Licorice is believed to lower estrogen while simultaneously raising progesterone levels (Murray, 1995:115). Licorice Root is not recommended for women with high blood pressure.
GINSENG is one of the best known of all herbal medicines. It is more frequently associated with relief from hot flashes than any other herb in the west. (Weeks, 1992;115)
DANG GUI is one of the first herbs recommended for menopausal woman in the east. It is considered by many to be the finest woman’s tonic in the world. Ginseng and Dang Gui work well together (Weeks,1992:115).
ST. JOHN'S WORT is effective in treating mild to moderate depression. The usual dose is 25-30 drops of tincture twice a day until symptoms improve (Weeks,1992: 92).
Recommendation from Michael T. Murray, N.D. in "Menopause:Is estrogen necessary?" (Murray, 1995:116)
Dong quai 250mg
Licorice root 50mg
Unicom root 50mg
Black cohosh 50mg
False unicorn root 50mg
Hesperidin bioflavonoid complex 200mg
Vitamin C 100mg