Women may experience many different symptoms during the menopause but most can be improved with the use of natural remedies. Here, our menopause expert Eileen Durward is on hand to explore the best herbal remedies to use for each menopausal symptom.
Many women going through the menopause do not require treatment as they experience few symptoms. However, if menopausal symptoms affect quality of life, a number of natural based herbal remedies can be considered.
This page provides you with information on how you can use herbs to treat menopausal symptoms. It is intended as a guide – if you are worried about your health or suffer severe symptoms, you should consult your doctor.
Extracts of soy have been used for many years to support women through the menopause. They can be used at all stages of the menopause and are particularly useful when a woman experiences a broad range of symptoms such as tiredness, irritability, poor memory and a general feeling of not being oneself. Supplements made from fermented soya beans contain isoflavones which are absorbed better by the body and hence, work better.
Soy isoflavones can be used together with other herbs targeting specific symptoms – for instance, if hot flushes are particularly troublesome, use together with Sage.
Sage, or Salvia officinalis, is well known as a kitchen or culinary herb. It is traditionally used as a stuffing for roasts, but it also has another long-standing use as a herb to help combat excessive sweating during the menopause.
Sage is rich in essential oils and this is the reason it gives off a strong scent. These oils also form an important part in the plant’s medicinal function. Today, sage extracts are well known and widely used for their ability to help relieve the symptoms of menopausal sweats and hot flushes.
Find out more about using Sage tablets as a menopause treatment for hot flushes and night sweats.
In addition, lifestyle advice can also be useful for these menopause symptoms. See our pages on hot flushes and night sweats for more information.
Agnus castus is the herb of choice for treating PMS symptoms during the peri-menopause when big hormonal changes take place.
Symptoms of PMS such as period pain, breast tenderness, mood swings and irritability typically appear in the week or so before each monthly period, gradually worsen and resolve soon after the start of menstrual bleeding. The pattern and character of symptoms is the same as might be experienced in a younger woman.
Agnus catus is also known as Vitex Agnus castus or Chasteberry. Extracts obtained from the berries of the plant have a long history of use for treating menstrual symptoms in women still having their monthly cycle. The herb should not be used at the same time as other prescribed hormonal medicines such as HRT or the oral contraceptive pill.
St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is another popular herb. It is said that the name of the plant arises from the fact that it is in full bloom and traditionally harvested on St John’s day – the 24th of June.
Much is now known about how St John’s wort helps treat symptoms of low mood and anxiety, especially during the menopause. One of the key active ingredients, a substance known as hypericin, was discovered many years ago. Since then, other plant substances such as hyperforin have also been known to contribute to the action of the herb.
The part of the valerian plant that is used medicinally is the root. Valeriana officinalis has been used for many decades to treat stress and anxiety. As it settles the mind and relaxes the body, it is also used to help aid sleep.
During the menopause, sleep is often disturbed due to night sweats. However, the menopause can, in addition, lead to sleep difficulties. If the reason you are sleeping poorly is because of night sweats, Sage will be the right choice for you.
If however, your sleep is disturbed for other reasons, you should consider a valerian based product. Find out more about valerian herb as a menopause treatment for disturbed sleep.
In addition, valerian can be found in products designed for stress relief. Find out more about menopause treatments for stress relief.
Many people are familiar with the use of homeopathic Arnica for bruising. However, when used as a herbal rub, arnica applied externally has pain relieving properties and helps aching muscles and stiff joints.
Arnica (Arnica montana or Mountain arnica) is found in hills and mountains all over Central Europe. However, such has been the popularity of the herb over the past decades that it is now a protected species in many countries.
Arnica is now cultivated in specific parts of Europe where the soil conditions are right. Find out more about using Arnica as a menopausal treatment for pain relief.
Kelp, or Sea Kelp, is a group of plants known as brown algae. Although its name is a bit dull, this group of plants has very specific and versatile properties.
Kelp contains iodine – a substance important for normal thyroid function which in turn, helps the body maintain a healthy weight and vitality.
Sea kelp has been used as a food in many cultures and in healthcare for many centuries. Apart from its use to maintain thyroid function, kelp has also been used to help maintain normal growth and lustre of hair.
Find out more about Kelp as a menopause treatment to help maintain a normal, healthy weight.
A Ginkgo biloba tree is said to have survived the bombing of Hiroshima at the end of World War 2. This resilience has not gone unnoticed by those who believe that ginkgo is amongst our most valuable herbs when one is getting a bit long in the tooth.
Ginkgo is one of most researched herbs and as such we know that it helps maintain a normal blood circulation, especially circulation to the brain. This helps concentration and memory – in fact, one of the common names for Ginkgo in Chinese is “The Memory Tree”.
Find out more about Ginkgo biloba as a menopause treatment for poor memory.
Millet is used as a food in many cultures such as the Hunzakuts living in the mountainous Hunza Valley in Pakistan, a people known for their luxuriant hair.
Millet is a good source of silicon – an essential trace element important for improving the strength and structure of hair. It also contains proteins important for providing keratin from which our hair, skin and nails are made.
Menopause Support can provide support to the body through all stages of the Menopause but is especially useful when broad range of symptoms such as hot flushes, irritability, tiredness, pains and aches, vaginal dryness etc kick in.
Made from fermented soya beans
Support for all stages of the menopause
Also contains magnesium and hibiscus
A herbal dietary supplement containing soy isoflavones, magnesium and hibiscus extract for all stages of the menopause.
You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.