The most common menopausal symptom for most women is also the most uncomfortable. Women who would otherwise hardly notice the transition into menopause definitely notice hot flashes! The medical treatment that was usually suggested for hot flashes in the past was hormone replacement therapy. While HRT can be very effective in alleviating the symptoms it can also increase your risk of breast cancer and stroke. It is no wonder that so many women are using herbal remedies for hot flashes.
The exact cause of hot flashes is unclear, but hormonal changes and imbalances are thought to be the main reason. Medical professionals consider hot flashes as an estrogen deficiency that can be triggered by stimulants, such as spicy foods (ginger, cayenne, pepper), acidic foods (tomatoes, citrus, pickles), hot drinks, alcoholic drinks, caffeine (chocolate, coffee, cola, black tea), white sugar, stress, hot weather, saturated or hydrogenated fats (margarine, meat), saunas and hot tubs, marijuana or tobacco, intense exercise, and anger. For many women, just eliminating that list of triggers plus using herbal remedies for hot flashes will bring immediate relief.
Hot flashes may last for a few minutes or even up to an hour. They may be mild or very severe. Every woman will experience them a little differently. Hot flashes which occur at night are called night sweats. They can be accompanied with anxiety and nightmares. Not all women experience hot flashes and fewer experience night sweats. However, many women experience both situations when they are going through menopause.
Exercise is a good way of decreasing hot flashes because it decreases the amount of FSH and LH hormone circulation by toning and nourishing the hypothalamus and raising endorphin levels.
Herbal remedies for hot flashes include plants that have the ability to cool the body, such as chickweed, violet, and elder; plants which increase and nourish oxygen utilization of the liver, such as dandelion, dong quai, polygonum multiflorum,, and yellow duck; and plants which contains high phytosterols, most notably black cohosh.
These are some of the most used herbal remedies for hot flashes:
1. Dong quai relaxes and contracts the uterine muscles. Its effect is not estrogenic, which is the main reason for dong quai’s effectiveness. It treats hot flashes by stabilizing the blood vessels.
2. Chaste berry or vitex affects the functions of the pituitary and regulates dizziness and hot flashes. Its beneficial effects are altering the secretion of FSH and LH hormones during menopause. It lowers the levels of estrogen while increasing progesterone levels, which keep vaginal walls and bones strong.
3. Black cohosh was used widely by Native Americans and later by the American colonists for relieving menopause and menstrual cramps. Clinical studies have revealed that black cohosh extract relieves hot flashes, vaginal atrophy, and depression.
4. Motherwort lessens the frequency, duration and severity of hot flashes. It relieves anxiety, insomnia, and stress. Frequent usage will produce the best results.
5. Licorice root is historically used for treating various female disorders. It also has been used effectively in treating asthma and infections of the respiratory tract. It also decreases estrogen and increases progesterone.
6. Essential oils of thyme or basil alleviate hot flashes when utilized in baths, foot rubs, when inhaled, or combined with massage oils.
These herbal remedies for hot flashes – when combined with eliminating common triggers – can greatly reduce menopausal symptoms in most women.