No one said menopause was going to be fun, but many women are surprised at just how uncomfortable and disruptive its symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings, can be. One of the most surprising facts of all is that a simple tea can help alleviate the worst of the symptoms.
Menopause symptoms can last anywhere from 2–14 years, and depending on the number and severity, you may barely notice the change, or it might be a constant, uncomfortable battle. Approximately 80% of women, however, experience hot flashes, weight gain, and night sweats at some point in their menopausal journey.
There is hope. Hormone therapies, low-dose antidepressants, and medications can relieve the intensity of hot flashes and night sweats. Several naturopathic remedies, such as medicinal teas, can also be helpful. Naturopathic remedies are also an effective option when you want to avoid traditional drug and hormone treatments.
Naturopathic medicine is a conglomeration of supplements, natural medicine, medical science, and modern western medicine. It is a system of medicine that works to understand the human body from a holistic (whole-body) perspective – in other words, naturopathic physicians don’t simply treat the symptom, but look for the underlying causes and treat what creates the symptoms in the first place.
Types of Effective Naturopathic Treatments
One particularly effective naturopathic treatment is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Hormones, including progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, are chemical messengers that are secreted in the bloodstream and exert their effects on various tissues and body systems. Bioidentical hormones are those that have been manufactured to be molecularly identical to those produced in the human body – sourced from compounds found in plants.
Bioidentical hormones are used to treat a wide variety of concerns, most notably symptoms related to menopause such as hot flashes, irritability, and vaginal dryness. They are available in a variety of formulations, including topical creams and gel, transdermal patches, intradermal pellets, troches, and oral medications. Each formulation is dosed according to each patient’s needs. It is vital to have a conversation with your naturopathic doctor about what formulation of bioidentical hormone therapy is right for you.
Teas are a simple, popular way to administer natural medicine. They are easy to make and are a cost-effective way to treat the most common symptoms of menopause. This guide will walk you through those symptoms, outline which teas are the most helpful, and discuss how to use them to your advantage.
Menopause starts when the body slows the production of estrogen and progesterone. The menstrual cycle stops, and in most cases, you will experience sudden hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, and extreme emotional ups and downs as hormone production ceases altogether. It is worth noting, though, that some women in menopause do not experience any of these symptoms.
Treatments for these symptoms address the lack of hormones and how to replace them with something that does a similar job, whether that’s through hormone replacement or herbal remedies.
The Most Effective Herbal Teas for Menopause Symptoms
Hormone replacement therapies help stabilize the hormonal changes taking place during perimenopause and menopause. Replacement isn’t the best choice for everyone, however. All-natural herbal teas are a healthy and less pricey option. Estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone levels drop during menopause, and herbal teas can help lessen the symptoms of these changes.
It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before incorporating any herbal supplements or other treatments into your regimen.
Valerian is a perennial flowering plant, which means it lives for at least three growing seasons. It has some medicinal properties proven to help with symptoms of menopause and PMS, such as insomnia, headaches, and emotional fluctuations. It can also be effective in treating joint pain.
Licorice is a perennial flowering plant in the bean family. The root is used in flavoring many products, from candy to tobacco to beverages. It is an effective treatment for reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
Tea made from licorice root has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that produce progesterone-like effects. It has been used for centuries to treat respiratory issues, PMS, and menopausal symptoms and to reduce stress.
It is worth noting that for those who already have high blood pressure, large doses and chronic use of licorice root could increase blood pressure and cause headaches, fatigue, and possibly even heart attacks.
Black cohosh is a flowering perennial plant in the buttercup family. Tea made from the root of black cohosh can reduce hot flashes and vaginal dryness, especially in women fighting early menopause. It is an effective alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Ginseng refers to the roots of at least 11 varieties of a perennial plant native to east Asian mountains that is one of the world’s longest-living plants. It has been used throughout history as a powerful treatment to reduce the intensity and length of hot flashes and night sweats.
Ginseng can cause adverse interactions with specific medications and produce side effects such as nervousness and jittery feelings.
Red clover is an effective treatment for hot flashes and night sweats but also does well treating bone strength and high blood pressure and also functions as an immunity booster. It contains a plant-based form of estrogen called phytoestrogens that help balance the hormonal changes during menopause.
Side effects of red clover are rare and mild. They include nausea, headaches, prolonged menstruation, and rashes.
All these herbs can be used in pill form but also work well when used as tea. Consulting a naturopathic professional is recommended to determine which teas would be most helpful with your particular body composition. Many people don’t feel comfortable creating tea mixtures at home, but there are lots of pre-made varieties available at grocery stores.
Menopause symptoms vary in each case. Traditional prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines help relieve the severity of the symptoms, but herbal remedies can work just as well – and even better, in many cases.
Learn More about How Herbal Medicines Can Alleviate Menopause Symptoms
The first thing to remember is that specialized care is available for all hormonal changes and imbalances. Dr. Karen Threlkel is available for virtual and in-person visits to help you get back on track. She is a naturopathic doctor serving primarily women and women’s health issues in the greater D.C. area.
Dr. Threlkel offers a holistic approach to medicine that involves the mind, body, and spirit with natural-focused treatments. Contact Dr. Threlkel to schedule a consultation for more information about a health topic or to learn more about natural remedies or treatments.
Menopause basics. Office on Women’s Health. https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-basics. Accessed Sept. 8, 2020.
Casper RF. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of menopause. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Sept. 8, 2020.
The effect of Valerian root extract on the severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms