It's October and everyone is seeing pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. Did you know that the use of exogenous hormones such as the birth control pill or hormones during menopause increases potential risk for breast cancer? This causes many women to avoid their use.
Unfortunately, the decline of natural hormones in the female body with age often leads to those irritating and frustrating menopausal symptoms. It's an imposing list including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, moodiness, aching joints, loss of libido, dryness everywhere and more.
Here are 5 herbs that can help reduce symptoms without having to use hormones.
1) Turmeric (curcumin)
Turmeric is often found in Indian dishes. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties also make it quite helpful for those suffering from body aches, joint pain, tendinitis and muscle fatigue. Turmeric may be helpful for headaches and digestive issues as well.
While eating the spice is helpful, it is more potent in capsule form. A therapeutic dose is between 1000-3000 mg divided through the day. Those who have gallbladder issues should be careful to start with lower amounts and build up slowly.
2) Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
Black cohosh has long been studied for its effect on mild hot flashes and night sweats. It does not work on all women, but for those who benefit it makes a great, easily found over-the-counter alternative to estrogen. Rare side effects may include stomach upset.
It's typically dosed at 500-1500 mg, divided through the day.
3) Chaste Tree Berry (vitex agnus castus)
Chaste tree berry is most beneficial for those women who are still cycling in perimenopause, as opposed to those who have stopped cycling completely. It may help with PMS symptoms and breast tenderness. It also helps improve the brain-ovarian connection to naturally encourage progesterone production.
Typically doses are 250-1000 mg in the morning.
4) St. John’s Wort