Help for Hot Flushes
Hot flushes are one of the first markers of perimenopause – that time between regular, monthly ovulation and your ovaries putting their feet up for good at menopause. And while it should be a time of empowerment, it can often feel like an overwhelming rollercoaster.
What we want is a graceful transition to the cool, calm wise woman. What we get is two to ten years of rapidly peaking and plummeting oestrogen and a sneaky disappearing act from progesterone. So, before you start blaming yourself for the aching fatigue, motivation-less mood and long-gone glow amidst puddles of sweat, realise it’s not ‘you’, it’s your hormones. And it’s time to nurture your brain, adrenals and nervous system.
Herbs for Hot Flushes
Salvia officinalis | Sage: Sage is known to tighten tissues, and its antimicrobial action reduces infection, sore throats and gum disease. But sage also reduces excess perspiration, making sage tea a great hot flush tonic.
Cimicifuga racemosa | Black Cohosh: This is one of our archetypal menopausal herbs. It’s known as a Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian (HPO) regulator meaning it aids communication between the brain and ovaries for a smoother pulsing of hormones and a reduction of perimenopausal symptoms. It’s also anti-inflammatory, balances oestrogen, reduces sweating, calms the nervous system and improves mood, sleep and bone health.
Hypericum perforatum | St. John’s Wort: Our trusty anti-depressant-in-a-herb also comes up trumps in the hot flush stakes. In a 2010 eight-week trial with 100 women, hot flushes’ frequency decreased by 54% (placebo 32%); severity decreased by 60% (placebo 26%); and duration decreased by 51% (placebo 23%) (NB: never take St. John’s Wort without professional advice or while taking anti-depressant medication)
Ziziphus spinosa | Ziziphus: This is one of the first herbs I think of for the double whammy of hot flushes and insomnia. Ziziphus is a cooling yin tonic. It reduces night sweats and excessive sweating in general which is great because we all know this “night sweat” thing does not just happen at night. It helps with sleep maintenance, reduces blood pressure, acts as a heart tonic and reduces overall anxiety and nervous tension.
Rehmannia glutinosa | Rehmannia: Rehmannia is an adrenal restorative and is used to reduce fever and heat in the body. It also combats menstrual irregularities, from an increase in flow or period length, to a shortened overall cycle, both common in perimenopause.
Asparagus racemosus | Shatavari: Shatavari is a bitter, sweet, cooling, pitta-balancing herb. In Ayurvedic medicine, excess pitta is correlated to increased flushing and irritability. It modulates oestrogen and can be used as a female sexual tonic to increase libido.
What Else Can You Do To Reduce Hot Flushes?
Reduce refined sugars, junk foods, hot drinks and caffeine, alcohol and high histamine foods like chocolate, wine, aged cheese and ferments. Ditch the morning coffee for liver-loving dandelion and replace the evening-wine wind-down with a ten-minute meditation or walk in nature. Speak to your healthcare professional about using body (or bio) identical progesterone.
Finally, hot flushes can be exacerbated by stress and anxiety. So, keep your cool wise woman! Learn to say no and set healthy boundaries. Include movement, meditation, sound sleep practices and ground yourself in nature to nurture yourself through the hormonal fairground of perimenopause. The next fifty are your best yet.
For more info about female health, hormonal dysfunction or to book an appointment with Kate, visit www.katepowe.com
May Special: Mention the Tawny when you book an Initial Naturopathic Consultation for the month of May 2021 and receive a 10% discount on your consult fee.