7 herbs to reduce your menopause symptoms
By Dr. Mary James, ND
Everywhere I look, I’m continuing to see new research published on how plant molecules can target their powerful effects to coax your body into balancing your hormones.
And that’s important, because hormonal imbalance is the root cause of a wide range of perimenopause and menopause symptoms, including:
- Low sex drive
- Feeling exhausted all the time
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes and night sweats
Herbs bring relief for these symptoms because the specific plants actually share key characteristics with your natural hormones. What’s more, certain herbs are especially well matched as remedies for specific symptoms.
7 best herbs to relieve specific menopause symptoms
1. Black Cohosh: best for hot flashes, mood swings and insomnia
May influence your serotonin levels by imitating hormones and binding opioid receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that interacts with estrogen and has been long considered to be part of the hot flash process.
2. Red clover: best for hot flashes and night sweats
Helps normalize estrogen action by weakly binding to estrogen receptors in your body. It works through key phytoestrogens such as lignans, coumestans and isoflavones.
3. Chaste tree berry: best for mood swings and irregular periods
Contains molecules that may affect your neurotransmitters, which act in the brain and throughout the body. It also helps regulate perimenopausal menstrual cycles by balancing pituitary hormones and enhancing your body’s progesterone production.
4. Ashwagandha: best for low sex drive, fatigue and mood swings
Thought to balance adrenal hormones and androgens by restoring normal function to the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis.
5. Kudzu: best for hot flashes, vaginal dryness and other symptoms
Structured with phytochemicals that act protectively and include 5 major isoflavonoids that can bind weakly to estrogen receptors.
6. Passionflower: best for anxiety, irritability and insomnia
Contains natural monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which have antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties.
7. Wild yam: best for perimenopausal menstrual cramps and discomfort
Is a muscle relaxant and may act as a precursor to or a functional imitator of sex hormones such as progesterone.
Two additional herbs for multi-symptom relief
Other plants use different chemical mechanisms to relieve your menopause symptoms, including soy and maca.
Soy is known for being used against vaginal dryness, hot flashes and night sweats. The phytoestrogens in soy help reduce menopausal symptoms by counterbalancing low and/or fluctuating estrogen levels.
Maca is helpful against low energy, mood swings, anxiety, brain fog and low sexual desire.
Herbal combinations work together to help you feel your best
Since menopause symptoms can vary dramatically in triggers, frequency and severity from woman to woman, a combination of these herbs is often best for providing relief. The right blend of herbs can assist your body in the repair of hormonal pathways that may have been out of balance for years. This broad spectrum approach can help you overcome your worst symptoms so you can feel like yourself again.
- Berendsen HH. Maturitas. The role of serotonin in hot flushes.2000 Oct 31;36(3):155-64. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11063896