Updated: Aug 27, 2021
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. If your moods do not improve, seem more serious than run-of-the-mill mood swings, or you suspect a more serious condition, please contact your primary or mental care provider immediately.
None of the advice in this post is meant to take the place of medical advice and oversight from your doctor.
Mood swings are often one of the more frustrating symptoms of being in a hormonal transition. It can feel like we have been thrown back to our teenage years and can cause not only a lot of personal frustration but can also put a strain our closest relationships. And when these mood swings are combined with the brain fog that often accompanies perimenopause and menopause, it is a recipe for feeling like you are living in the body of a stranger.
Before we get into the remedies, let me give you some encouragement. You are not less-than, crazy, unstable, or any other words you might be applying to yourself during this season of life. You are still the same as you always have been, and the herbs that I am about to share with you can help you to feel a bit more normal. What is happening is an actual change in your neurotransmitter levels due to the decrease of estrogen in your body. Estrogen increases the feel-good hormones in your brain like serotonin and dopamine, and when your estrogen levels fall, sometimes those other hormone levels do as well.
This obviously requires getting to the root of what is going on hormonally. However, the following herbs can provide some in-the-moment relief as well as nourish connected body systems for sustainable results.
Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)
We have talked before about Bacopa and how helpful it can be for brain fog. The great news is that it can also do double-duty if you are struggling with mild anxiety, low moods, or difficulty concentrating.
Because stress can contribute to mood swings and hormonal imbalances, Bacopa is also a great option for its adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens help the body systems (in this case the endocrine system) adapt to stressful circumstances, which I think is a must for anyone who has experienced the last year!
This is usually taken in tincture form.
*Bacopa is not for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding or if you have hyperthyroidism.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
This is a sweet, summery herb that is known for lifting the spirits, calming the restless mind before bed, and improving memory. It is also helpful for calming upset stomachs which can often contribute to or occur due to stress and anxiety. As an added bonus, it is a cooling herb that can be enjoyed regularly as an iced tea to provide some relief if you are also struggling with hot flashes!
Because of its light, sweet taste, lemon balm is typically enjoyed as a tea. This is a gentle, food-herb that is safe for every member of the family from the oldest to the youngest!
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
Nope, not the brunch drink! This is a beautiful flowering tree that has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. If you have ever seen the fluffy, cheerful flowers on this tree, you will be able to imagine a little bit of how it works when used as a medicine.
Mimosa is known for the ability to ground keyed-up emotions, and conversely, to lift low spirits. Usually taken as a tincture.
*Not for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Take with food if stomach upset occurs.
I hope that these suggestions can give you some hope as you navigate the waters of the menopausal transition. As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, most of these mood swings can be addressed by getting to the root which we do in the Naturally Healthy Menopause Masterclass.