My three favorite herbs to support and ease menopausal symptoms are:
- RED CLOVER is an invaluable and potent estrogenic plant that also acts a mild diuretic. Red clover can be useful in reducing hot flashes, relieving insomnia, and improving mood. Red clover also appears to benefit the cardiovascular system. It has been shown to increase HDL (the good cholesterol), as well as relaxing arterial walls, thereby reducing the risk of high blood pressure.
- CHASTEBERRY normalizes sex drive, may reduce hot flashes and help moisten dry vaginal tissues. This herb is also effective for the PMS-like symptoms of perimenopause: menstrual cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, acne, migraine headaches, and depression. Chasteberry can help regulate the menstrual cycle, which may become irregular at this time.
- DONG QUAI is a Chinese herb also known as “angelica,” from its Latin name, Angelica sinensis. Traditionally, it’s been used to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and thinning of vaginal tissue. Dong Quai helps moisturize, and improve vaginal lubrication, relieve aches and cramps, and restores vitality to the tissues. Another benefit of Dong quai is that it helps ease symptoms of depression. Caution: Dong Quai is not recommended for women who have bloating, menorrhagia, diarrhea, fibroids or those individuals using blood-thinning medications or aspirin.
- Start with prepared, high-quality herbal products like whole herbs, herbal extracts and tinctures. Many acupuncturists also have a background in Chinese herbs as do Naturopathic doctors. I always recommend getting a personal referral from someone who has had a positive experience. Avoid taking any herbs or supplements if you are on medications or are struggling with complex health issues. Consult with a medical professional you trust and have a good relationship with for guidance.