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The Yoga of Menopause, Part 2

Monday, May 28, 2018 6:28 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)


THE YOGA OF MENOPAUSE, Part 2

ALTERNATIVES TO HORMONE THERAPY

by Susun Weed




TAKING HORMONES? THESE HERBS ARE FOR YOU

More and more American women are using herbal remedies to help them with menopausal problems. Those who do take ERT (estrogen replacement) or HRT (hormone replacement) may be surprised to discover that herbal medicine has a lot to offer them as well.

Herbs for women on ERT/HRT include those that alleviate side-effects as well as those that counter problems caused by the hormones.

Herbal Helpers Counter Side-Effects

Water retention is the symptom most often cited for dissatisfaction with hormone replacement. Herbal tinctures and tea, such as dandelion or cleavers, and ordinary foods can not only relieve the distress, they will go to the root of the problem and help prevent recurrences.

Dandelion root tincture (Taraxacum officinale) strengthens the liver and helps it process out the excess hormones you are taking. When the liver works well, the kidneys work better, and tissues no longer bloat. A dose is 10-20 drops in several ounces of water or juice 2-3 three times a day. If you have any digestion problems, take your dandelion before meals; otherwise, anytime is fine. You can safely take dandelion daily for months or years if you need or want to.

Cleavers herb tincture (Galium molluga) tells the lymphatic tissues to get moving. Relief from edema is usually rapid when 20-30 drops are taken in several ounces of water or juice. Repeat up to six times at hourly intervals if needed. Cleavers is especially helpful for easing swollen, sore breasts.

Foods that relieve water retention include (in order of effectiveness): asparagus, nettles, corn (and corn silk tea), grapes, cucumbers, watermelon (and watermelon seed tea), parsley, celery, black tea, and green tea.

Headaches are the second most common side-effect of hormone use. Unfortunately, they are common among menopausal women not taking hormones, too. Herbs that help relieve headache without a drug-like action - such as dandelion, yellow dock, milk thistle, burdock, garden sage, skullcap, and St. John's/Joan's wort - are generally considered safe to take with hormones.

Chinese herbalists say headaches are caused by liver stress. My favorite liver-strengthening herbs are dandelion, yellow dock, milk thistle seed, and burdock. I use one at a time, a 15-25 drops of the tincture several times a day, for two weeks. If symptoms continue, I switch to a different herb.

A strong tea of garden sage leaves (Salvia officinalis) offers immediate relief from headaches and helps prevent future ones. It also reduces night sweats. Tinctures of skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and St. Joan's/John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) ease pain and relieve muscle spasms. Use 5-20 drops of skullcap and a dropperful of St.J's at the very first sign - no, the very first thought - of a headache. Repeat the doses every five minutes until pain free. Skullcap can be quite sedative, especially in large doses.

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