Friday, May 08, 2009
Even Jack in the Box has gotten into the menopause act with its new commercial for fruit smoothies, pitched by a woman in her garden talking about being blind-sided by her hot flashes.
There are many approaches to menopause of course, and each woman has to decide for herself what works best for her. It is definitely worth exploring herbal remedies to help the passage of change the body is experiencing, and come out on the other side focussed instead of frazzled. My observation has been that a combination of herbs can be of tremendous help with all the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, bloating and weight gain, mood swings and all the rest. Taking just one, such as black cohosh, by itself is not nearly as effective. Herbs act as balancers, bringing the system into balance. Since the body is a unified whole, any symptom is being generated in a complex of energetic interactions in the system. Treating just one item, as one does, for example, by using cohosh alone (for hot flashes), leaves all the others even more out of balance. It's like a house of cards where removing one makes all of them fall down. Treating hot flashes alone doesn't balance the rest of the system that is contributing to them, so it is therefore much more productive to use a mixture.
Additionally, menopause is a shift in time from one state of being to another. Treatments that focus on keeping the body the same as it was originally are, in the end, at the very least impractical. It is, of course, worth seeing your MD to find out if an SSRI would be useful; serotonin levels play a big role in hot flashes and sleeplessness, so SSRIs are another option for balance.
In addition to herbs taken by mouth, aromatherapy is tremendously helpful. Many essential oils aid the hormonal system and help balance and mediate, so diffusing oils is a wonderful way to help keep your cool, both physical and mental. Botanicals in creams are also excellent resources for menopause. The familiar wild yam cream is one example of this, helping the progesterone balance. Other mixtures are effective for water retention and mood swings, as well as for interrupted sleep patterns.
So, even though menopause may pose challenges to one's balance, they can be dealt with, and the body can stay in harmony using botanicals. It's worth trying!
Kelley Rico is a trained herbalist and aromatherapist, and a certified flower essence and Jin Shin Jyutsu® practitioner.