An unprecedented number of North American women are reaching midlife and dealing with menopausal issues. While menopause is not a disease but a natural biological process, it is nevertheless important to be aware of the body's changing needs.
The risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have brought herbal solutions to the forefront of clinical research. According to Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, MD, of the University of New Mexico and advisor to the National Institutes of Health, there are safe options to treat menopausal symptoms.
Black cohosh improved menopausal symptoms in over 80% of women in one study reducing headache, hot flashes, palpitation, sweating, tinnitus, and vertigo, and lessening depression, irritability, and nervousness within six to eight weeks. Dr. Low Dog recommends dosages of 20 mg to 60 mg twice per day, with safe dosages up to 1 gram per day, re-evaluated after six months.
Dong quai is a well-known Chinese herb that aids in hormone balance and contains iron and vitamin E.
Progesterone is a natural steroid hormone produced in the ovaries that prepares and maintains the uterus for pregnancy. In menopause, estrogen levels fall 40% to 60% on average, whereas progesterone levels can decline to nearly zero. A recent clinical study evaluating the effectiveness of topically applied progesterone cream demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in hot flashes reported by postmenopausal women.
Red clover: Studies have shown that red clover supports cardiovascular and bone health, helps relieve hot flashes, and has a mild diuretic effect.