Herbal Remedies

Plants were the first source of medicines, and the use of herbs as a source of healing remedies is inherent in all cultures in all historical times. Herbal remedies come in various forms, some of which are ready for use, and others which require preparation.You can buy herbal remedies in health food shops and pharmacies or via a website.

Herbs Commonly Used for Peri-Menopausal and Menopausal Symptoms
Name of herb For relief of Recommendations
Balm Tension, stress reactions and depression A tincture of 2–6ml 3 times a day, or 2–3 teaspoons of dried herb steeped in 1 cup of boiling water twice a day
Black Cohosh Hot flushes, anxiety and depression 40–200mg daily – use not to exceed six months
Chasteberry Hot flushes Prepared as a tincture, chastetree berry provides an average daily dose equal to 20mg of the crude fruit or 30–40mg of the fruit in a decoction
Gingko Poor memory, mood swings, anxiety and absent-mindedness A daily dose of 120–160mg of standardized gingko leaf extract
Ginseng Fatigue, diminished work capacity and loss of concentration 500mg capsule can be taken 3-6 times a day - use not to exceed three months
St John’s Wort Depression 2–4g of hypericin capsule, 1–2 times a day. The equivalent may be steeped in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes to gain a similar amount
Valerian Insomnia and tension

2-3g, taken 1-3 times a day, is suggested as an anti-anxiety regimen.

1–2 capsules may be used as a sleep aid.

I consulted a private doctor last autumn, desperate for a way to overcome hot flushes, and her remedies have been astonishingly successful. I take Menosan drops, a tincture made from the herb sage, three times every day plus one red clover tablet once daily. Supplements and a cream have eased a few other problems that have begun or have become worse in the past two or three years - Linda (London)
Do not be put off if the herbal remedy is slow to take effect. I actually felt worse before feeling better - Janice (Edinburgh)
In Germany, 10 million prescriptions for gingko are written each year by 10,000 physicians.
DID YOU KNOW?

The most effective herbal medicine for treating menopausal symptoms is an extract of the herb Black Cohosh, Remifemin, (known as RemiFemin in the USA). It has been subjected to two clinical trials. The safety profile is positive with low toxicity, few and mild side-effects and good tolerability. It has been prescribed by doctors in Germany since the 1950s.

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Acupuncture

Acupuncture is not a system of medicine in isolation. It should be seen as one method of treatment within a complete system that has a different perspective on health from that of orthodox Western medicine. The idea of treating a patient’s headaches in one medical department, their period pains in another and their insomnia in a third would seem extraordinary to an acupuncturist, since they believe there must be a common root.

If you consult an acupuncturist for treatment of menopausal problems, you will be asked about your menstrual cycle and the symptoms experienced. Specific acupuncture points may be touched to see if they are painful, particularly points on your abdomen and each side of your spine.

Acupuncture stimulates the fine network of nerves running in the skin and sometimes nerves in the deeper tissues too.Treatment should not be painful and when needle sensation occurs it should not last more than a few seconds. It is usually described as a ‘tingling’ sensation.

SAFETY FIRST

Before undergoing any treatment, you should ask about the sterilisation procedures in use at the clinic. In the UK and many other countries, all registered acupuncturists are required by law to sterilise needles. Disposable needles are available.

When I was 46, my periods suddenly became much heavier for 6 months with mid-cycle bleeding. The doctor diagnosed a fibroid and recommended a hysterectomy. I was horrified and asked to see the acupuncturist who worked in the same premises as my doctor.

The mid-cycle bleeding stopped after two treatments and my periods normalised for about 18 months. Then the bleeding started again, and further treatment alleviated 90% of this. By now I had realised I was menopausal, so continued with acupuncture for a further year during which time my periods stopped altogether.

A scan revealed no sign of the fibroid - Caroline (Somerset)

Between 1995 and 1999 in Staffordshire, UK, 22 breast cancer patients, aged between 38 and 59, were referred by a Consultant Oncologist for acupuncture treatment of hot flushes.

Analysis of this 4 year study revealed that 82% of them experienced effective relief from hot flushes and all of them recorded some reduction after completion of the course.

DID YOU KNOW?

The symptoms of just over 50% of 300 menopausal women disappeared when treated with acupuncture at the First Hospital, Tiajin, China in 1998.

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