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
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 rentention 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.
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
* 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.
Herbal Allies to Prevent Problems Caused by Taking
cancer risk is increased 20% in women who use ERT for five or more
years. Use of HRT for five or more years increases breast cancer risk
by 40%. Each five years of continued use increases the risk. In addition,
women who take ERT are far more likely to get uterine or endometrial
cancers. All women on hormones increase their risks of lung and ovarian
cancer, too. Nourishing herbs such as red clover, and foods such as
beans and yogurt, offer easy ways to stay cancer-free.
* Red clover blossoms (Trifolium pratense), when dried and brewed
into a strong infusion (one ounce herb steeped an a quart of boiling
water for at least four hours) prevent cancer by providing phytoestrogens
that counter the cancer-promoting effects of oral hormones. Usual dose
is 2-4 cups a day. The infusion tastes like black tea and can be flavored
with mint if you like.
* Beans, especially lentils, but also yellow split peas, black turtle
beans, baby limas, Anasazi beans, and red kidney beans are also rich
sources of anti-cancer phytoestrogens. Both uncooked beans and unfermented
soy contain anti-nutritional factors that may promote bone loss and
dementia; soy "milk" and tofu (both cooked, but not fermented)
are not recommended. Miso and tamari definitely help to prevent breast
cancer but soy isoflavones may promote it.
* Yogurt helps build powerful immunity. Women who eat a quart of yogurt
a week have 700% less cancer than women who eat no yogurt.
eyes afflict more than 9% of women using ERT and over 7% of those
on HRT. Risk increases by 70% for every year of continued use. And the
longer a woman uses hormones, the greater her risk. Herbs such as oatstraw,
chamomile, and chickweed can help relieve and prevent this problem.
* Oatstraw infusion (Avena sativa) cools and moistens your eyes
from the inside out, builds strong bones too. Use one ounce of dried
herb in a quart jar; fill to the top with boiling water and cap tightly.
Let steep four or more hours. Dose is 2-4 cups a day. Refigerate after
* Cucumber slices ease dry eyes; so do chamomile tea bags.
* The ultimate ally for women with dry eyes is fresh chickweed (Stellaria
media), applied as a poultice to the closed eyes. Leave on for five
minutes, or until the plant material feels warm (it will heat up). Repeat
and heart attack are actually increased by use of ERT/HRT, though
modern medicine has long proclaimed the opposite. Every major double-blind
study done to date has created a larger and larger gap between ERT/HRT's
supposed ability to help cardiovascular health and its actual results.
Protect you heart with nourishing and tonifying herbs and foods such
as motherwort, hawthorn, and cherries.
* Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) tincture helps the heart. The
Japanese claim it is their secret of longevity. A dose is 5-15 drops,
twice a day. Motherwort also relieves hot flashes, calms tachycardiia,
and eases anxiety. It's an all-in-one remedy for menopausal women.
* Hawthorn (Crataegus oxycantha) flowers, leaves, and fruits
are all used to maintain heart health and control fluid build-up in
hear tissues. A dose is 20-30 drops of tincture 2-4 times a day, or
a cup of tea with meals. This widespread shrub is considered one of
the finest heart tonics in the worlld.
* Cherries are even better than apples at keeping the doctor away.
Dried cherries and cherry juice, even tincture of cherries.
More than three-quarters of the women in America over
the age of fifty have refused ERT/HRT. If you want to join them, taper
off your dosage slowly, while continuing to use nourishing and tonifying
herbs such as dandelion, motherwort, red clover, oatstraw, and seaweed.
And pick up a copy of New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way,
Alternative Approaches for Women 30- 90. Meanwhile, these
Wise Woman hints can help you stay healthy and counter the detrimental
effects of hormone replacement.
If you liked this article by Susun S.
Weed, you will want
NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way:
Alternative Approaches for Women 30 - 90
by Susun S. Weed
Foreword by Juliette de Bairacli Levy.
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Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD.
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read some excerpts :
Building Better Bones
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