Menopause contains the word ‘men’, I wonder why? Is it that women need a pause from men or a time for the men to run? As women go through what we refer to as menopause, they experience dramatic changes in their body, mood swings and psychological symptoms, such as depression, anxiety and panic.
In many cultures, a woman’s menopause is a time to be celebrated as a beautiful transition to a new stage in life, a time for joy in which ht emphasis shifts from childbearing and chores to becoming a ‘wise woman’. However in the west, menopause is viewed as an illness or disorder, something to be treated or even ashamed of. According to Dr. Marilyn Glenville PhD, in her book The Natural Health Bible for Women, menopause is a natural transition that every woman experiences as she ages, and it’s to be celebrated.
Menopause is a gradual process, involving small changes that together move you towards a new phase in your life. In the West, the average age for menopause is 51.
In the years leading up to the menopause, your egg supply diminishes, your ovaries produce less oestrogen and you stop ovulating every month. Your bones need oestrogen for strength. Other symptoms include mood swings, irritability, join pains, lackluster skin and hair and changes in the body shape, as well as a loss of libido or vaginal dryness that makes sex painful.
The herb of choice for the menopause is black cohosh, a well known hormone balancer. A combination of herbs can be more effective that single herbs. A Master Herbalist can prescribe you a combination of herbs, specific to your needs and symptoms. Here are some of the herbs I would use in the treatment of menopause;
Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)
This is a popular herb in Traditional Chinese medicine, and acts as a tonic to the female reproductive organs, helping to balance hormones and so reducing hot flushes and night sweats.
Agnus Castus (Vitex agnus castus)
This herb also known as chasteberry, helps hormone balance. Its particularly useful for the symptoms that occur during the perimenopause when your periods can seem very erratic and you suffer more mood swings.
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
Research shows that Black Cohosh is an effective herb in the treatment of menopause symptoms.
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
As well as helping to reduce night sweats, it also helps to improve memory.
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
A well known natural anti-depressant, can help treat the depression associated with menopause.