Menopause is defined as the cessation of menstruation. The levels of three important hormones, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, fluctuate and gradually reduce through perimenopause and menopause. Some feel it hard, some barely, but the fact remains that your body is going through change.
There may be natural ways to help the body manage these common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause:
- Hot flushes, sweating
- Sleep disorders
- Depressive mood, nervousness, nervous irritability and generally impaired performance and memory
- Cardiac complaints, and joint and muscle symptoms
- Disorders of sexuality, urinary complaints, and vaginal dryness
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Bone loss
Herbal teas are a great option.
Whole herbs brewed in hot water are naturally gentle and safe, and their flavor and aroma play an important role in their effect on the body. We should not underestimate the importance of the tea-brewing and tea-drinking experience.
A cup of tea forces you to slow down, and be mindful. Quite often, that’s all your body needs to take the pressure off itself.
10 Herbal Teas for Menopause Support
Here are 10 herbs that have been used by women across the world – some of them with a history of continuous use over at least a couple of thousand years – to help their body manage the extraordinary changes that happen during perimenopause and menopause. They make great ingredients for your daily cup of tea.
1. Black Cohosh Root
The root of black cohosh is a Native American remedy for problems associated with menopause – especially hot flashes, debility, depression and bone health.
Isoflavones in black cohosh are thought to have an estrogenic action and reduce the levels of pituitary luteinizing hormone thereby decreasing the ovaries’ production of progesterone.
2. Red Clover Flowers
Native to Europe and Asia, and naturalized in North America and Australia, red clover is used primarily to treat hot flashes and night sweats in women with menopause.
Flavonoids in red clover flowers contain phytoestrogens, a plant-based form of estrogen, which helps to improve the hormonal imbalances caused by menopause.
Red clover is also known to be beneficial for heart health and bone health.
3. Sage Leaves
Sage, known most commonly as a Mediterranean culinary herb, is also of great medical importance. Its Latin name Salvia comes from salvare which means cure.
In Chinese medicine it is a yin tonic with a well-deserved reputation as a nerve tonic, helping both to calm and stimulate the nervous system.
Though its hormonal action is not completely understood, it is known to help reduce the severity and intensity of hot flashes, as well as help the body adapt better to hormonal changes.
4. Shatavari Rhizome
Shatavari holds great value in Ayurveda, the Indian traditional science of health, and is invariably a mandatory component of formulations for women’s health.
It owes most of its benefits to a group of compounds called steroidal saponins. Pigment compounds called flavonoids also pull their weight.
Shatavari helps balance out hormonal fluctuations, that may stem from irritation to the ovaries by molecules called free radicals. Shatavari’s compounds can help round up and nullify free radicals, allowing the ovaries to do a better job with hormone regulation and production.
Shatavari also helps reduce mood swings and vaginal dryness. It is also recommended as a vitalizing tonic to improve metabolism, bone health, and heart health.
5. Dong Quai Root
In Traditional Chinese medicine, Dong quai, also known as female ginseng, is known to build blood quality and improve blood circulation, and of great use as a vitalizing and restorative tonic for both body and mind.
Its cholesterol reducing properties are excellent for heart health and assist with weight management. It is also known to strengthen liver function, and therefore has a detoxifying effect on the body.
6. Lavender Flowers
Lavender is an important relaxing herb. Its volatile oils and flavonoids are known to reduce nervous excitability, calm the nerves, and reduce muscle tension.
Lavender is an excellent herb to help deal with the mood-affecting symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause. It reduces irritability, alleviates depression, and helps balance mood swings.
It also has a soothing effect and provides excellent support for optimal sleep.
7. Lotus Flowers
Native to India and Southeast Asia, Lotus flowers have been used for their cooling and healing benefits, attributed mainly to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Lotus flower tea can soothe the gastrointestinal tract, help with hot flashes and night sweats, and also help regulate glucose-metabolism and fat-metabolism.
The sweet and astringent flavor and aroma of lotus is also useful in reducing mood swings and irritability.
8. Rose Flowers
Rose flowers, with origins in Eastern Asia, have a history of culinary and therapeutic use for several thousand years. Rose water and rose tea are known for their cooling properties.
Rose tea has anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant properties.
It is an excellent mood elevator and also promotes optimal sleep.
Rose tea also helps with fat-metabolism and is good for heart health.
Raisins are highly recommended in Ayurveda for their cooling and revitalizing properties. It is common practice to soak raisins in water overnight, and then consume the raisins as well as drink the raisin water in the morning.
The antioxidants in raisins are known to help regulate fat and glucose-metabolism, support healthy cardiovascular function, and promote healthy bone density.
Raisins are also known to help with detoxification.
10. Rooibos Leaves
Naturally caffeine-free, Rooibos, with its distinctive earthy, smoky, nutty, and sweet flavor is a wonderful base for herbal teas. It is also associated with several health benefits due to its antioxidant properties.
Rooibos tea is known to support healthy fat and sugar metabolism, and beneficial for heart health.
A Note of Caution
While some of the herbs listed above might be useful for hormonal balance in general, some ingredients such as black cohosh are intended to be used specifically during perimenopause and menopause. It is best to avoid these ingredients if your menstrual cycles are regular and especially if you are pregnant, or trying to conceive.
Also, the interactions of herbs with prescription medication cannot be ruled out, in general. Some of the herbs, when consumed in large quantities, are known to interact with medicines that are metabolised in the liver, and with blood thinners. If you have a medical condition, or if you are on regular medication, you must consult your physician before consuming these or any other herbal teas or supplements.
Symptoms of menopause range from hot flashes and night sweats to vaginal dryness, mood swings, and even decreases in bone density. Herbal teas, made with ingredients that are backed by traditional wisdom and modern research, can offer the mild and gentle support your body needs to help manage menopause symptoms better.