Disclaimer: This post is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or ailment. If you choose to implement any of these recommendations, do so with the partnership of your doctor, midwife, or a trained herbalist. The information contained here is for educational purposes only.
Ah, hot flashes- the bane of women in menopause! This pesky symptom of menopause can range from annoying to downright debilitating. It can come at the most inconvenient of times such as during an important presentation, or in the middle of a much-needed night of sleep.
Many women who prefer to stay "natural" in other areas of their lives, may find themselves concerned that there aren't many natural options that can handle the magnitude of their hormonal fluctuations. And while that may be the case, (and having a great doctor that you trust is always a must) there are some wonderful herbs that may provide just the relief you are looking for!
Also bear in mind that natural remedies often work slower than prescription or OTC drugs due to the way that they work on multiple body systems to gently move the body to a place of health. I recommend to my clients that unless you are seeing adverse effects, (in which case, stop immediately) it is best to stay consistent with an herb for 4-6 weeks before you decide that it isn't working for you.
Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)
Also called Red or Korean Ginseng, this is a warming, stimulating adaptogen that may initially sound counter-intuitive for hot flashes, but has actually been shown in studies to reduce hot flashes in menopausal women. As a bonus, it also helps to improve glucose metabolism which can become a problem after menopause, and helps to lower cholesterol and boost libido!
The recommended dose for effectiveness is 3 gm/day. Just be sure to take it in the morning as it is stimulating and can interfere with sleep if taken in the evening. Ask your doctor before taking if you are currently taking Warfarin as it may decrease blood clotting, and if you have diabetes that is controlled with medication due to its ability to lower blood sugar.
This is a great choice if your hot flashes are affecting your sleep, as valerian is a well-known sleep aid! It is also helpful at reducing anxiety which can crop up for some women due to the hormonal shifts post-menopause.
The effective dose is 225mg 3x/day and results usually show up in about 4 weeks.
Because it is a mild sedative, it is not recommended to combine with a prescription sedative.
Black Cohosh is a traditional remedy for many menopausal symptoms, but especially for hot flashes and night sweats. It also has traditional use in helping to lift the mood in cases of mild depression which can sometimes occur post-menopause.
250-500mg 2-3x's daily is common if taking it in a capsule. If you develop a mild headache after taking it, then reduce the dose.
Note- due to it's uterine stimulating effects this is NOT to be taken during pregnancy!
I hope that this post has given you some good options to consider for relieving one of the most common symptoms of menopause! If you want even more tools to use to smooth the transition to menopause or to brainstorm ways to get at the root of post-menopausal symptoms, then I would love to have you in my upcoming "Naturally Healthy Menopause" Masterclass! Class is starting February 25th, so don't wait!