There are several herbal options for management of the menopause and its symptoms.
Black cohosh is a traditional herbal medicine used for the relief of menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats and temporary changes in mood such as nervous irritability and restlessness.
In studies, black cohosh has been found to help improve sleep, as well as reduce menopausal symptoms, without adverse effects. Black cohosh combined with St John’s Wort provides the benefits of black cohosh and the St John’s Wort is included for low mood and mild anxiety, which many menopausal women experience. NICE backs the use of St John’s Wort for the treatment of mild depression.
Another traditional herbal medicine used for temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress, including fatigue, exhaustion and mild anxiety, all of which are common menopausal symptoms, is Rhodiola rosea. A recent review of this herbal remedy concluded that Rhodiola rosea influences the release of stress hormones to normal levels while boosting energy metabolism.
Don’t forget that eating a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly broccoli, sprouts and carrots, is the cornerstone to maintaining healthy hormone balance. As important, is including soya lentils, chickpeas, flaxseeds, oats and wholegrain rice which all contain phytoestrogens. These are plant-based foods which help to balance hormones and provide oestrogenic ‘activity’ where required.
If you are suffering from anxiety, low mood or depression, an alternative method of lifting your mood is exercise. Exercise leads to the production of endorphins, or ‘feel good’ hormones, that lift your mood. Being outside when you exercise enhances this effect. Avoiding alcohol, which can trigger low mood, is another option.
If you are considering an alternative method of treatment, make sure you choose a product which carries the THR kite mark as this guarantees quality, safety and includes approved dosage information in-pack. Ask your GP or pharmacist for advice if you're thinking about using a complementary therapy, to ensure any remedy you are trying doesn’t interact with medication you may already be on, causing side effects.