Menopause matters

Natural remedies to ease the symptoms of the menopause

Herbs

Herbs can ease anxiety, liver tonics help balance hormones, and phytoestrogenic herbs help manage hormonal shifts.

Sage supports liver function. Avoid with epilepsy or a chance of pregnancy.
• For a liver-boosting tonic, infuse 1 tsp dried sage in 175ml (6fl oz) water, strain, cool, and add sliced lemon. Drink 3–4 times daily.

Motherwort eases palpitations and anxiety. Avoid with heavy menstruation, if there is a chance of pregnancy, or with heart conditions.
• Take 2–4ml tincture in a little water three times daily.

St John’s wort lifts depression, anxiety, and fatigue. Avoid if there is a chance of pregnancy and high doses in strong sunlight. If taken internally, interacts with many prescription medicines.
• Infuse 1–2 tsp dried St John’s wort in 175ml (6fl oz) boiling water and drink three times daily.

Fenugreek seed is mildly oestrogenic to ease hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, and headache. Avoid with hypothyroidism or a chance of pregnancy. Take apart from other drugs as it may impede their absorption.
• Take a daily 100mg capsule.

What to avoid

Warming herbs such as cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne, and also alcohol can exacerbate hot flushes.

Essential oils

Uplifting or calming oils in an aromatherapy massage are comforting and nurturing, helping to ease menopausal symptoms.

Rose helps to alleviate anxiety and helps regulate hormones.

Geranium can help to balance fluctuating hormones.

Clary sage helps regulate hormones.
• Add 10 drops of any one of the above to 20ml (⅔fl oz) base oil (jojoba for rose and geranium, almond oil for clary sage) and use in a full-body massage, or mix five drops with a bath dispersant and add to a warm bath.

Cypress can be useful for hot flushes.
• Add 4 drops to a bowl of cold water, soak a flannel, wring it out, and apply to the forehead or back of the neck.

Food

A Mediterranean-style diet, with plenty of fresh produce and healthy fats, is the basis of good health during the menopause.

Nuts and seeds, especially flaxseeds, as well as tofu, pulses, and legumes have plant oestrogens to help regulate moods and combat vaginal dryness.
• Snack on a handful each day.

Celery, fennel, and dill have a compound anethole, which can calm hot flushes.
• Drink a glass of fresh organic vegetable juice twice daily.

Maca boosts libido, energy, and vitality.
• Add 1–2 tsp powder to porridge or cereals each day.

Lifestyle

Weight loss may reduce or eliminate hot flushes and night sweats.

A regular bedtime in a cool, dark room helps manage symptoms.

Yoga can reduce stress and improve sleep in menopausal women.

Supplements

Hormonal changes can affect how your body uses and absorbs certain nutrients. Supplements can remedy imbalances.

Omega-3 fatty acids, from fish or algal sources such as spirulina, help combat depression.
• Take 1g daily.

Vitamin E can relieve hot flushes.
• Take 600–1200iu daily.

Pine bark extract relieves hot flushes and night sweats and is energising.
• Take 120mg daily.

Other therapies

Acupuncture can reduce hot flushes and night sweats.

Homeopathy supports the whole body during times of transition.

Hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, and counselling may be helpful.

Flower essences can encourage a positive attitude to this life transition.

Extracted from Neal’s Yard Remedies Complete Wellness (DK, £25)

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