Lifestyle

The 10 Best Herbs for Menopause & Hot Flashes‎ ‎

Are you looking for ways to manage your hot flashes? Learn how these 10 natural remedies can support your hormones through menopause and bey
Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Nayan Patel

Life is a series of seasons, each with its own beauty, challenges, and unique experiences. For women, one significant season is the transition to menopause. 

With the cessation of the menstrual cycle, a shift in hormone balance, and an array of accompanying symptoms that can range from hot flashes to mood swings, menopause is a time of change. In the midst of these changes, many women seek effective ways to manage their symptoms, maintain their quality of life, and embrace this natural phase of womanhood.

Join us as we explore the symptoms and causes of menopause, the role of hormones during this transition, and the potential power of herbs to ease menopausal symptoms. Learn what you need to know to navigate this stage of life with grace and resilience.

What Is Menopause?

Menopause marks a significant transition in a woman's life, representing the end of her menstrual cycles and fertility. It's a natural biological process that usually happens in a woman's 40s or 50s. However, before we delve deeper into the dynamics of menopause, it's crucial to understand the regular menstrual cycle and its hormonal interplay.

Every month, the ovaries release an egg for potential fertilization — an event called ovulation. This cycle is orchestrated by several hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone. However, as women age, the number of viable eggs in the ovaries decreases, leading to less frequent ovulation and, ultimately, menopause.

But the shift to menopause isn't abrupt. It's typically preceded by a phase known as perimenopause, which can last several years. During perimenopause, menstrual cycles may become inconsistent, leading to irregular periods as the first signs of menopausal symptoms may emerge.

Menopause, strictly defined, is reached when a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period. The impact of this transition on women's health is profound, largely due to the reduction in the production of key sex hormones, including estrogen and progesterone

These hormones do more than regulate the menstrual cycle; they also influence a woman's cardiovascular health, bone health, and even mood. Our nurse practitioner Katie Jo helps shine some more light on the subject in one of our recent podcasts:

“And then when a woman enters perimenopause… the average age of menopause in the United States right now is 51 years old. Well, your perimenopause can begin a decade before true menopause happens. So peri means around, menopause is when you've no longer had your cycle, your menses, your period, for at least 12 months. So you could go 11 months, ten days, 52 seconds, and if you have a bleed, you're not in true menopause yet.”

As such, menopause brings a wave of changes and symptoms. The most common are hot flashes — sudden feelings of heat spreading through the upper body and face — and night sweats, which can disrupt sleep and lead to daytime fatigue. 

Mood swings may also occur, which involve shifting rapidly between emotional highs and lows. Many women also experience vaginal dryness, as lower levels of estrogen can lead to thinning and drying of the vaginal tissues.

These symptoms can be challenging, sometimes profoundly so. However, with knowledge, proactive healthcare, and supportive treatments, this season of life can be navigated with strength and grace. 

How Can Menopause Be Treated?

With the onset of menopause comes a shift in hormone balance and, for many women, a host of uncomfortable symptoms. To alleviate these symptoms and improve quality of life during this transition, healthcare providers often recommend treatments that address the root cause: hormone imbalance. 

A common approach is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), which involves replacing the declining hormones — typically estrogen, progesterone, or both — to mitigate menopausal symptoms. BHRT has proven effective for many women, particularly in alleviating hot flashes and night sweats.

Our providers at Thrivelab understand how it feels to experience the symptoms of menopause. To learn more about BHRT and how it can help you get back to the life you love, schedule an appointment today.

Many providers also recommend complementary and alternative medicine to offer additional relief and symptom management. From yoga and acupuncture to herbal medicine and supplements, these alternative therapies can be a valuable part of a comprehensive menopause management plan. 

How Can Herbs Help With Managing Menopause Symptoms?

Herbal medicine has been used for centuries to support health and well-being. These remedies, harnessed from the natural world, can also be a boon for managing menopausal symptoms. The secret? Phytoestrogens.

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds that have similar effects to the estrogen produced by our bodies. They aren't identical to human estrogen, but they can bind to estrogen receptors and mimic some of its effects. This can help to balance hormone levels in the body, potentially alleviating some of the symptoms of menopause.

The power of herbs extends beyond their phytoestrogen content. Many herbs have additional benefits, such as acting on the nervous system to soothe tension and promote sleep or containing antioxidants that support overall health and well-being. Each herb has a unique profile of active compounds, which can interact with the body in various ways to support hormone balance and symptom relief.

For instance, some herbs can help manage hot flashes and night sweats, while others might improve mood swings or support heart and bone health. The key is to understand the specific properties and potential benefits of each herb and how they can be harnessed to alleviate individual symptoms.

It's worth noting, however, that the effectiveness of herbal remedies can vary among individuals. Just as each woman's experience of menopause is unique, so too is the body's response to herbal treatments. 

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your herbs and mitigating the side effects, make sure to work with your Thrivelabs provider during your treatment. They may even have some specific herbal recommendations you can try.

Top 10 Herbs for Menopause and Hot Flashes

The power of these particular herbs lies not only in their individual properties but also in their ability to work synergistically. With personalized guidance, you can explore these natural remedies and discover a regimen that works best for your unique symptoms and well-being.

1. Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)

Native to North America, black cohosh is often hailed as the go-to herb for menopause relief. Numerous clinical studies have shown its effectiveness in reducing hot flashes and night sweats, largely thanks to its phytoestrogenic properties. 

The exact mechanisms are not fully understood, but it's believed that these compounds interact with estrogen receptors, helping to balance hormone levels. 

2. Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) 

Red clover is a flowering plant that’s a rich source of isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen. Clinical trials have suggested that red clover may help alleviate vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats. 

3. St. John’s Wort

Known for its mood-enhancing properties, St. John’s Wort has long been used as a natural antidepressant. It's particularly beneficial for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who experience mood changes and depression. The active compounds in St. John’s Wort seem to increase the availability of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.

4. Ginseng (PanaxGinseng)

Ginseng, especially the Panax variety, is renowned for its adaptogenic properties, which can help the body better respond to stress. It can promote energy and well-being, alleviating the fatigue commonly experienced during menopause. Some studies suggest it may also help improve sleep and mood. 

Plus, calming your body’s stress response can also decrease the amount of cortisol circulating in your bloodstream. Since cortisol is made from the same stuff as estrogen and progesterone, lowering your stress levels can also help balance your hormones.

5. Dong Quai

Dong quai, sometimes referred to as "female ginseng," has a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine for treating gynecological issues. It's thought to help manage menopausal symptoms, especially when combined with other botanicals. However, it may increase sensitivity to sunlight and affect blood clotting, so it's important to seek professional advice before use.

6. Maca

Native to the Andes Mountains, maca has been used to boost mood, increase libido, and reduce menopausal symptoms. Its rich nutritional profile, coupled with its ability to influence key hormones, can lead to a greater sense of well-being during the menopausal transition.

Maca can support the production of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and luteinizing hormone, all of which are essential for a healthy menstrual cycle. In fact, most symptoms of menopause (and even many symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are caused by low levels of these hormones.

7. Wild Yam

Often used in topicalcreams, wild yam contains a compound called diosgenin, which has been synthetically adapted in the lab to create progesterone and other steroids. While its effectiveness for menopausal symptom relief is still under investigation, many women report positive experiences.

8. Valerian

Known for its calming properties, valerian can improve sleep quality and soothe tension — two issues that often crop up during menopause. Some studies have also suggested that it might help with hot flashes, although more research is needed to confirm this effect.

9. Sage

Sage has been used for centuries to combat excessive sweating. Research suggests that its cooling properties can be effective in reducing hot flashes associated with menopause. Plus, its calming effect on the nervous system might help with other symptoms such as tension and irritability.

10. Evening Primrose

The oil derived from evening primrose seeds is high in gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that's been shown to help with a variety of menopausal symptoms, from hot flashes to heart health. However, research is mixed, and it might not be suitable for everyone.

Are Herbal Remedies Safe?

The effectiveness of herbal remedies in alleviating menopausal symptoms has been well-documented over the centuries. Still, it's crucial to consider potential side effects and interactions when integrating these herbs into your daily regimen. 

For instance, black cohosh can cause an upset stomach in some, while dong quai may increase sensitivity to sunlight. Also, some herbs, like St. John’s wort, can interact with medications and reduce their effectiveness.

Choosing high-quality herbal supplements is essential for safety and efficacy. Not all supplements are created equal, and the market has its share of substandard products. Look for supplements that have been independently tested for purity, potency, and quality. Also, be wary of “miracle cures” and outrageous health claims.

Another important point is to maintain open communication with your Thrivelabs provider. Starting any new treatment, including herbal remedies, should be done under their guidance. They can help monitor for side effects and interactions with other medications, ensuring that your herbal regimen complements your overall health strategy.

Menopause Relief With Thrivelabs

Thrivelab plays a pivotal role in helping individuals navigate through the natural but often challenging journey of menopause. Our focus on hormonal health and commitment to personalized care means that you're more than just a number.

By considering your unique hormonal profile, symptoms, and lifestyle, Thrivelab creates a custom treatment plan tailored to you. We can guide you in integrating herbal remedies into your strategy, ensuring optimal efficacy while reducing potential risks.

Moreover, our services expand beyond just providing solutions. Thrivelab aims to enhance access to hormonal healthcare, reducing time to treatment and cutting costs. We offer a comprehensive telehealth service, making hormonal care accessible to all, regardless of location or circumstance.

Our providers will work with you to identify the root cause of your symptoms and start treatment there. Our goal isn’t just to help you feel better — we want you to actually be better.

Menopause: A Natural Journey, not a Disease

Menopause can be a challenging journey, but with the right support, guidance, and resources, you can navigate it with ease and confidence.

Herbal remedies like the ones mentioned above have shown promise in reducing menopausal symptoms. Meanwhile, lifestyle changes can also play a significant role in managing weight gain, maintaining a healthy sex drive, and supporting overall well-being.

Remember, it's essential to view these remedies as part of an integrated approach to menopause management rather than a magic bullet. Consistency, patience, and a holistic outlook are crucial. And while herbal remedies are an excellent addition to your menopause management plan, it's equally important to ensure regular physical activity, balanced nutrition, and mental well-being.

So, why not let Thrivelab guide you on your journey through menopause? Our expertise in hormonal health, personalized approach, and commitment to affordable, accessible care can help you manage menopause more effectively and reclaim your well-being. You're not alone in this journey; reach out to Thrivelab today and let us guide you towards a healthier, happier you.

References

  1. What Is Menopause? | National Institute on Aging
  2. Ovulation | NCBI Bookshelf
  3. Perimenopause: Age, Stages, Signs, Symptoms & Treatment | Cleveland Clinic
  4. Vaginal Dryness: Individualised Patient Profiles, Risks and Mitigating Measures | PMC
  5. Phytoestrogens and Their Health Effect | PMC
  6. Black Cohosh | Health Professional Fact Sheet
  7. Isoflavones | PMC
  8. St. John's Wort and Depression: In Depth | NCCIH
  9. Actoprotective Effect of Ginseng: Improving Mental and Physical Performance | PMC
  10. Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) in the Treatment of Hot Flashes for Men on Androgen Deprivation Therapy: Results of a Randomized Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Trial | PMC
  11. A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Maca Root as Treatment for Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction in Women | PMC
  12. Diosgenin: An Updated Pharmacological Review and Therapeutic Perspectives | PMC
  13. Valerian Root in Treating Sleep Problems and Associated Disorders—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis | PMC
  14. Turning the Tide: A History and Review of Hyperhidrosis Treatment | PMC
  15. Importance of Dietary Gamma-Linolenic Acid in Human Health and Nutrition | NCBI Bookshelf
  16. Herbal Products Used in Menopause and for Gynecological Disorders | PMC
References

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