Many women will be offered HRT as the only option to manage their symptoms. But if you can’t take HRT or don’t want to go down that route, there are many other ways to balance your hormones that you may want to explore.
As always there is no ONE magic pill, but here is a quick summary of some of the more effective herbal remedies for menopause.
Red Clover is one of the world’s oldest agricultural herbal extract crops. Red clover has very high levels of isoflavones (natural phytoestrogens) that help to mimic the action of oestrogen and can be used to help improve many menopausal symptoms.
I like to recommend soy in food form as a phytoestrogen (only organic and unprocessed). The research on soy is very mixed – it shows benefits and risks on both sides of the argument. However many studies show that taking isoflavones derived from the soy bean as a supplement is largely beneficial, especially for reducing hot flushes and protecting against bone loss.
Black cohosh is a North American perennial herb that has been used to treat gynecological complaints for centuries. It's commonly used to help with menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. This meta-analysis found that formulas including Black Cohosh improved hot flush symptoms by 26%. There have been a few cases of liver damage, so it's important not to take it if you have any kind of liver disease.
Dong Quai is one of the most commonly prescribed Chinese herbs for problems unique to women and has been traditionally known as “a female tonic.” This study showed a decrease in hot flushes and improved sleep results.
Recent studies have shown that hops may help women cope with symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flushes, sweating, restlessness and irritability. Hops may also have a soothing effect on the nervous system and may promote good sleep which can be disrupted during the transition.
For unpleasant flashes and other symptoms during the peri-menopause, the sage plant has been shown to provide some real benefits for common menopausal symptoms.
Research shows that chasteberry (or Vitex Agnus Castus) increases LH (luteinizing hormone) and helps to inhibit the release of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), which can help to raise progesterone levels. This can be useful for oestrogen dominant conditions such as PMS, PCOS or Endometriosis and a more balanced oestrogen; progesterone ratio during perimenopause.
St John's Wort
Sometimes referred to as ‘nature's antidepressant', studies have shown that taking St John's Wort can provide a significant improvement in psychological and psychosomatic symptoms of menopause. It's thought to increase the activity of brain chemicals such as serotonin and noradrenaline that are thought to play an important part in regulating our mood. Could be a good alternative to anti-depressants. (Don't take it before checking with your Dr if you're on any medication as it's known to interfere with certain drugs).
Maca is a plant grown in Peru, and used for centuries for energy, stamina and hormone balance. The Peruvian nickname for it is ‘nature’s viagra’ due to it's ability to help with stamina and libido! We've had great results with our clients using Maca supplements.
The research on herbal remedies for menopause is very mixed, and more studies are needed to explore their potential benefits. Additionally, results are very dependent on you and your individual biochemistry, so they won't work for everyone.
In our experience in helping women manage their menopause naturally, here are a few of our favourite brands and formulas;
- Promensil is a Red Clover Extract that is backed by over 20 years of scientific research showing positive results for many menopause symptoms. Here's one of the studies showing benefits. We love the fact that it uses a standardised patented extraction process to guarantee purity and quantity of the core, active ingredient. They have double strength for when you need the most help (usually through peri menopause), and normal strength for post menopause with added Vitamin D and Calcium to support your bone health. And they also do a lovey Cooling Spray for immediate relief from hot flushes.
- MPowder's Peri-Boost is a lovely daily formula which includes 100g of soy isoflavones in a blend of multiple other nutrients – all helpful for hormone balance.
- MenoHop from Nutri Advanced is a targeted blend of hops and soy isoflavones that has been very effective in our clinic.
- Maca-3 from Pure Encapsulations is a blend of 3 maca extracts with guaranteed levels of key phytonutrients to ensure quality and potency.
Check out these and more supplements in my Collection at Approved Vitamins.
If you'd like help with your supplement protocol or menopause symptoms, please contact us for a free discovery call to see how best we can help.
Do not take herbal remedies for menopause if you are on HRT or the Birth Control Pill. Many herbal supplements can potentially interact with medications, so please get advice from your Doctor if you’re on medication or have an existing health condition.