Herbs a Boon for Menopause
A woman in her entire lifetime goes through various biological phases such as puberty, and a reproductive phase, followed by menopausal and post-menopausal phases. The menopausal phase in a woman’s life is one of the phases which has a huge impact on the physical and mental health of a woman.
Every year on 18th October we celebrate ‘World Menopause Day’ in order to raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing. This phase of a woman’ s life involves not only biological changes but psychological alterations as well. It is estimated that around 50 million women experience the menopause annually. Menopause symptoms can reduce the quality of life for women worldwide, up to 80% of women may experience symptoms and by 2030 it is projected that the number of menopausal or post-menopausal women globally will have increased to 1.2 billion. So, menopausal health needs a higher priority. To maintain the physical, emotional and psychological balance during this phase of life, women have been advised, through various healthcare systems, remedies such as; appropriate exercises, a healthy nutritious diet, a healthy lifestyle, hormone replacement therapy and the use of effective herbs.
We at Herbal Apothecary, believe that it’s important to support women during their menopausal phase of life to be happy, healthy and positive. Herbal Apothecary provides a range of herbs from Ayurveda, Western and the Traditional Chinese System of medicines to support the health of every woman. The following are a selection of herbs that we stock at Herbal Apothecary which can be helpful during the menopausal phase.
Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari)
Shatavari is a well- known and valuable female-revitalising herb in Ayurveda. It is very effective in boosting female fertility and is traditionally used by women for overall health and vitality, in every phase of her life. Many menopausal symptoms such as a decrease in muscle and bone health, are the result of a reduction in oestrogen levels. Shatavari contains phytoestrogens which are responsible for producing oestrogen-like effects. This ultimately supports bone and muscle health in a woman’s menopausal phase (2021 Dec; 13(12): 4282). Mood swings, irritability, and anxiety are all common emotional symptoms during menopause. Shatavari is a well-documented plant adaptogen in Traditional Medicinal Systems such as Siddha, Ayurveda, and Unani. Adaptogens facilitate in stress adaptation and emotional balance by reducing anxiety (Heliyon. 2023 Apr; 9(4).
Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fenugreek)
One of the most prevalent problems in menopausal women is hot flushes. Hot flushes disrupt sleep and reduce a woman's energy for coping with daily life. At present, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the most common approach for treatment of menopausal complications. However, HRT can increase the risk of tumour development in the oestrogen-sensitive tissue. Fenugreek is one of the herbs that contains phytoestrogen compounds. Phytoestrogens may be one of the alternatives for HRT therapies. Studies reported that use of fenugreek seed for four and eight weeks caused the number of hot flushes to decrease but the effect was smaller than that of HRT ( Med. Plants 2006, 5(19): 9-14). Therefore, fenugreek can be a good herb for preventative health measures.
Trifolium pratense (Red clover)
Red clover, the native European plant, has shown some promising effects in menopausal women. A study showed that in 10 weeks administration of red clover supplement, it had a desirable effect on menopausal women's quality of life (Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2012; 17(1): 34–40). Red clover consumption is known to reduce the frequency of hot flushes, especially in women with severe hot flushes (≥ 5 per day). Red clover also reduces other menopausal symptoms, such as vaginal dryness and improves vaginal atrophy. ( Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 36, (3), 2016). Red clover contains phytoestrogen; phytoestrogens are plant- based compounds that mimic oestrogen in the body. Some studies have also found a connection between the intake of isoflavones and a decreased risk of osteoporosis. (J Med Sci. 2019; 7(3):495-499).
Avena Sativa (Oat straw)
Cereals have a long history of use, including their therapeutic potential. Amongst therapeutic cereals, oat (Avena Sativa) is evident due to its various components and nutritional profile. Postmenopausal women experience a great reduction in their ovarian hormone production, especially oestrogen. This deficiency may promote hypercholesterolemia and accelerate the redox imbalance. sativa has been found to have potent-free radical scavenging, antilipidemic effect, when given to women suffering from oxidative stress and high lipid levels (BioMed Research International 2021). Avena sativa may offer many health benefits, including improvements in brain health, and also reduction in stress. (Alternative and Complementary Therapies 10(6):309-315.
At Herbal Apothecary we provide a wide range of herbs and herbal products that can support the health and well-being of a woman during the menopausal phase of her life. And another fantastic product to help women through the menopausal phase is Hello Menopause Capsules, from our friends at Hello Wellness.
We recommend that anyone considering using herbal products or herbal medicine consults with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Written By: Dr. Bhagyashree Kamble, PhD in Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Affiliation: Propolis Research Associate - University of Bradford and Nature’s Laboratory Whitby UK.