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Beneficial herbs for women

SOME women with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) experience primary physical symptoms such as headaches, bloating, water retention, breast tenderness, acne and food cravings. Others are bothered more by emotional responses such as irritability, anger, sadness and nervousness.

The exact cause of PMS is unclear but may involve imbalances of female hormones, adrenal hormones, brain chemicals and certain nutrient deficiencies. Low levels of calcium, magnesium and vitamin B6 have also been implicated in PMS.

In middle life, as fertility is reduced, hormonal cycles become erratic. Menopause is the point at which monthly periods cease. Peri-menopause is the "warm-up period to that point. This period may be uncomfortable as both oestrogen and progesterone levels fall, women may begin to experience episodes of hot flashes and sweating. Vaginal tissues may also become thinner and drier (making sex less pleasurable).

Over the ages, women have learned how to use herbs to ease cycles and changes. Recent scientific research has validated many of these remedies.

A research article published in the May 2003 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reviewed an integrative approach to PMS. Emphasis was given to an increased intake of legumes, vegetables, whole grains and cold water fish and limiting the intake of red meat, sugar, salt and caffeine. Regular exercise has been shown to help improve symptoms of PMS.

Beneficial herbs include dong quai, sage, red clover, black cohosh and soy. The best researched of these herbs are black cohosh and soy. In a German study published in Maturitas in 2003, women aged 40-60 randomly received either 40mg of black cohosh, 0.6mg conjugated oestrogen or a placebo. The herb was equivalent to oestrogen in controlling peri- menopausal symptoms and protecting bones. While oestrogen stimulated cell division in the uterus (raising the risk of cancer), black cohosh did not.

Soy and other legumes contain isoflavones, which act as a phyto-oestrogen (weak plant oestrogen) in the body. Studies found that soy modestly improved peri-menopausal symptoms. Good sources include cooked soybean, tempeh, tofu and fortified soymilk. Other sources of isoflavones are red clover, legumes, sunflower seeds and whole-grains.

Undue stress raises levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol and the pituitary hormone prolactin. Prolactin stimulates milk production in the breasts of nursing women. Excess prolactin in the circulatory system may inhibit ovulation and causes menstrual irregularities, diminished libido, depression and hostility. When you are stressed, interest in sex wanes and may worsen both pre-menstrual and peri-menopausal syndromes in women.

To de-stress, you'll need to address the underlying issues such as a bad diet, insufficient sleep, lack of exercise, conflicted relationships, work-related problems and a poor social life. Adopting relaxation techniques such as yoga, exercise, meditation and simply enjoying a hobby will be beneficial.

 
 

Way to overcome PMS woes

Beneficial herbs for women

Easing menstrual pains

Evening primrose for hormonal imbalance

A taxing period

Heavy periods and acne

Menstrual woes

Higher menstrual cycle

Menopause and sex

Think 'natural' for a smooth transition

Let the air out of hot flashes

4 unique ways to chase away symptoms

Cognitive Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba

Managing Cyclical Breast Pain

Panax Ginseng for Reduced Fatigue, Insomnia and Depression in Postmenopausal Women

Black Cohosh for Menopausal Relief

The countdown to menopause

Premenstrual Symptoms

Complications in Menopause

Herbs heal menopausal symptoms

 

 

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