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Herbs heal menopausal symptoms

If you and your doctor have decided hormone therapy is simply wrong for you - physically or emotionally - then explore these alternative therapies that are, after all, the source of many traditional medications.

Cool down with cohosh. If hot flashes and mood swings are bothering you, black cohosh could be just the thing you need. Once called squaw root, Native Americans used this plant for thousands of years to treat female problems. The German equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration approved black cohosh for menopause symptoms years ago. Today, doctors in Germany often prescribe black cohosh to treat PMS symptoms as well as anxiety, mild depression, and sweating in menopausal women. The plant has an estrogen-like effect, and reduces levels of a hormone that causes hot flashes - although relief could take four to six weeks. What's more, a recent German study found that black cohosh taken twice a day may improve physical and emotional menopause symptoms.

Hot flashes are a problem for breast cancer survivors, too, especially those on tamoxifen. A recent study discovered that two months of daily black cohosh may not help hot flashes in breast cancer survivors, but it might ease sweating.

Keep in mind that black cohosh may give some women a mild upset stomach. Large doses may even cause nausea and dizziness. Until long-term safety studies can be done, don't take black cohosh for more than six months.

You'll find it in capsules where supplements are sold. Try taking 40 milligrams (mg) a day, but not for longer than six months.

Vanquish insomnia with valerian. A recent German study found that valerian extract may relieve mild insomnia. In earlier studies, valerian users reported that they got to sleep faster and slept better.
In the U.S., capsules containing 400 to 530 milligrams (mg) of whole ground valerian root are generally taken 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. You may also find capsules of a root extract, liquid extracts, and tinctures. If you prefer a tea, use one teaspoon of dried root per cup.

While pregnancy probably is not a concern if you're menopausal, remember that valerian is sometimes used to treat uterine contractions.

Stay dry with evening primrose oil. Studies have found that evening primrose oil might reduce night sweats although it does not seem to control hot flashes. No one knows whether it is safe to use for long periods, so if you try this herb, just take it for a short time to see if it helps. Never take evening primrose oil with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or anticonvulsant drugs.

Rely on St. John. Hippocrates, of ancient Greece, recommended the popular herb St. John's wort for menstrual problems. Over two thousand years later, menopausal women still use it to feel better physically and sexually. Best of all, it comes with very few side effects. Although you may have to stay out of strong sun to avoid a rash, people rarely show allergic reactions.

Be sure the supplement you buy is a reputable brand and contains 0.3 percent hypericin, the active ingredient. The usual dosage is 300 mg, three times daily. Talk to your doctor about using St. John's wort for longer than a few weeks.

Don't single out dong quai. Dong quai is an ancient Chinese remedy for feminine complaints. Yet a six-month study found that dong quai alone may not help hot flashes or night sweats. Chinese herbalists argue that dong quai is not supposed to work alone. They say it must be part of a combination of herbs that must work together to be effective. Although herbal combinations are on the market, none have been tested.

Dong quai may cause bleeding in some people, especially those taking warfarin. It also makes your skin sensitive, so anyone using this herb should stay out of the sun.

Review red clover. A small Dutch study reported over 40 percent fewer hot flashes with a daily red clover supplement containing 80 mg of isoflavones. On the other hand, two small clinical trials in Australia found no benefit from red clover. But red clover may affect more than just menopause symptoms.

Some experts think red clover may lower the higher cardiovascular risk that follows menopause. Although studies suggest red clover does not lower cholesterol, it may help your blood vessels stretch more easily. No one knows whether that means a lower risk of death from heart disease, but more flexible arteries may shrink the risk of heart trouble.

Red clover contains several isoflavones including genistein and daidzein. Initial research studies suggest that genistein could be connected to breast cancer tumor growth, senility, brain aging, and slowed thyroid activity. More research is needed to confirm or disprove these findings.

The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute recently discovered that red clover may also have high estrogenic activity -- a possible risk for breast cancer. If your family history or personal history includes breast cancer, don't try red clover.

Make sure you ask your doctor before trying herbs. You'll enjoy herbal benefits even more when you know they're safe to take.


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Beneficial herbs for women

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Evening primrose for hormonal imbalance

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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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