Leading vitamin and herbal supplier, Viridian Nutrition, offers some information and inspiration on natural health matters.
[UKPRwire, Sat Jan 14 2006] MANY WOMEN WHO BEGIN THE MENOPAUSE don't want to use HRT. Health concerns surrounding its use have made many women nervous, and as it is produced using animal products (mare's urine) it may be considered unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians.
The medical profession for years has viewed the menopause as a medical condition defined simply as a drop in hormonal levels, easily 'cured' with a hearty dose of animal-derived hormones.
What is HRT?
HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) is usually a combination of both oestrogen and progesterone, both of which are steroidal sex hormones. The earlier versions of HRT simply provided oestrogen and this is now only used for women after hysterectomy.
HRT is commonly manufactured from pregnant horse urine, though synthetic versions are available.
Natural alternatives to HRT
For some women, the transition from the fertile years into post-menopause can be distressing, painful and an emotional roller coaster and this cannot be under-estimated.
Fortunately, there are a number of natural supplements that offer significant relief.
Herbal hormone balancer, offers relief from hot flushes. The basic mechanism of action underlying Agnus Castus is its effect on enhancing corpus luteal development (thereby correcting a relative progesterone deficiency) via effects through the pituitary gland. Agnus Castus has a profound effect on the hypothalamus and on pituitary function, helping normalise other hormones and reducing both prolactin and the oestrogen-to-progesterone ratio.
Native Americans valued Black Cohosh for its benefits in many conditions ranging from gynaecological problems to rattlesnake bites. Black Cohosh is one of the main herbs recommended in Germany for menopause, PMS and secondary amenorrhoea.
A recent study suggests Black Cohosh may offer protection from osteoporosis. It is likely that the isoflavone content along with other phytochemical interaction assist with hormonal balance.
The traditional Chinese herb, Dong Quai has helped with symptoms of the menopause for centuries in China. Dong Quai has phyto-estrogenic activity (plant-based oestrogens), circulatory, analgesic and nerve-relaxing properties. Dong Quai acts to reduce menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, palpitations, nervous tension, joint pains and headaches.
Sage is a silvery-green shrub with very fragrant leaves. The most commonly cultivated species of sage originally came from the area around the Mediterranean but now also grows in North America.
In the UK, herbalists employ sage to treat symptoms of menopause , such as hot flushes. An unpublished, preliminary German study with patients suffering from excessive perspiration (hyperhydrosis) found that either a dry leaf extract or an infusion of the leaf reduced sweating by as much as 50%.
Calcium, magnesium and boron
Both calcium and magnesium are essential to proper bone maintenance. The mineral boron has been shown to raise post-menopausal levels of oestrogen and also to aid in calcium retention and absorption.
“The menopause is not a disease and many women do benefit tremendously from a little nutritional and herbal help at this time of their lives,” says Keith Woolley, Director, Boots Herbal Stores (an authorised Viridian stockist). www.ethicalvitamins.co.uk
Company: Boots Herbal Stores