Search Term: " Motherwort "
What Are The Health Benefits Of The Herb Motherwort?
November 29, 2013 10:40 PM
What is Motherwort HerbMotherwort is a herb known for its properties of calming the nerves and relaxing the heart by reducing the harmful effects of stress. It is mostly used by women, but also works for men who have heart and nervous system maladies that relate to stress. It’s scientific name is “Leonurus cardiaca” and its native location is Europe and Asia. The common name comes from the fact that is has been prescribed to pregnant stressed women throughout history as a cardio tonic and nervine tonic. It strengthens and gladdens the heart thus transforming user from dull and bitter moods to relaxed, comfortable and happy ones.
Benefits of Motherwort Herb
The herb includes tincture that elevates a persons mood and acts as a sedative. As a result, the user gets better sleep on using heavy doses and a good energy balance when using small doses spread out through the day. When combined with linden flower and ginger tinctures it also helps to tackle postpartum depression. By acting as a galactagogue, it promotes the flow of mother’s milk and it also helps soothe the uterine before and after giving birth. For those who are not pregnant, consumption of Motherwort leads to better menstrual flow as a result of the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Women with cramps, nervousness and digestive disturbances during PMS benefit most from the consumption of this herb as tea or in other forms.
As a cardio tonic, it is injected so that it can halt the clotting of blood as results to a better blood flow. Improved blood flow in the body is good for prevention of other diseases and health risks such as heart attacks and stroke. People with thyroid disease and hypoglycemia or low blood sugar tend to develop heart palpitations, but this is greatly reduced by the use of Motherwort. Lastly, other useful uses of Motherwort herb include the relieving of lung problems such as asthma and bronchitis.
Natural Anxiety Remedies
November 11, 2010 05:44 PM
Anxiety disorder is a much more common problem than what was once thought. It often affects people in their teenage years through middle age and later. Anxiety disorder appears to affect twice as many women as men. However, there may not be that wide of a disparity between the sexes. Psychologists simply believe that men are far less prone to report or even acknowledge that they have a problem of this nature. Anxiety disorders can either be acute or chronic. Acute anxiety disorder manifests itself in episodes that are commonly known as panic attacks. A panic attack occurs when the body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction occurs at the wrong time. This is a complex response in which the body prepares itself to deal with an emergency situation. Stress can often cause the body to produce more adrenal hormones, especially adrenaline. The increased production of adrenaline causes the body to step up its metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to quickly produce energy for the body to use. Additionally, the muscles tense up and the heartbeat and breathing become more rapid.
When faced with an assault, accident, or a natural disaster, this type of reaction is perfectly normal. However, the symptoms that are caused by the surge in adrenaline can be distressing and frightening when they occur at the wrong time. A person having a panic attack is often overwhelmed by a sense of impending disaster or death, which makes it impossible to think clearly. Other feelings that can accompany a panic attack include shortness of breath, a smothering, claustrophobic sensation, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, hot flashes or chills, trembling, numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities, sweating, nausea, a feeling of unreality, and a distorted perception of the passage of time. This disorder can eventually have other cumulative effects such as generalized aches and pains, muscular twitching and stiffness, depression, insomnia, nightmares and early waking, decreased libido, and abnormal feelings of tension with an accompanying inability to relax.
Panic attacks are usually abrupt and intense, occurring at any time of the day or night, and lasting from several seconds up to half an hour. To the panic sufferer, it often feels as though they are much longer. A person having a panic attack sometimes believes that he or she is experiencing a heart attack or stroke. The attacks themselves are very unpredictable, with some people experiencing one every few weeks, and others having several each day. Panic attacks are often triggered by stress or certain emotions, but they can also be a response to certain foods, drugs, or illness.
Many people with acute anxiety disorder become afraid of being alone and visiting public places because they fear having a panic attack. This only adds to the level of anxiety and leads to abnormally restricted lives. Psychologists often believe that at least in some cases, panic attacks are self-induced, meaning that the fear of the panic attack is the very thing that brings it on. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with anxiety disorders: calcium, magnesium, B1, B12, multivitamin and mineral complex, SAMe, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, chromium picolinate, DLPA, L-glutamine, coenzyme A, essential fatty acids, GABA, melatonin, bilberry, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle, catnip, chamomile, cramp bark, kava kava, hops, linden flower, Motherwort, passionflower, skullcap, fennel, lemon balm, willow bark, feverfew, St. John’s wort, skullcap, valerian root, and mandarin oil.
Natural vitamins and herbs can be found at VitaNet ®, LLC Vitamin Store.
February 26, 2009 12:43 PM
Motion sickness is the result of motion causing the eyes, the sensory nerves, and the vestibular apparatus of the ear to send conflicting signals to the brain, causing a loss of equilibrium or a sense of vertigo. Most often, it is experienced in a car, airplane, train, boat, elevator, or swing. Contributing factors to this illness are anxiety, genetics, overeating, poor ventilation, and traveling immediately after eating. A susceptibility to things like offensive odors, sights, or sounds can often precede an attack of motion sickness. Typically, women are affected by this condition more frequently than men are. Elderly people and children under the age of two are usually not affected.
Those people who suffer from motion sickness experience symptoms including severe headaches, queasiness, nausea, and vomiting while flying, sailing, or traveling in automobiles or trains. Other symptoms of motion sickness include cold sweats, dizziness, excessive salivation and/or yawning, fatigue, loss of appetite, pallor, severe distress, sleepiness, weakness, and occasionally, breathing difficulties that make one feel as if they are suffocating. If motion sickness is severe, an attack can make a person feel completely uncoordinated, and sometimes and injury can occur from loss of balance. The motion sickness typically goes away once the stimulus is removed. However, it can also persist for hours or days. If a person suffers from motion sickness for a prolonged amount of time, they may experience depression, dehydration, or low blood pressure. Motion sickness can also worsen any other illnesses that a person already has.
Many natural remedies have been greatly successful in treating motion sickness. The prevention of motion sickness is the key, as it is far easier to prevent than it is to cure. Once excessive salivation and nausea set in, usually it is too late to do anything but wait for the trip to be over so that recovery can begin.
The following nutrients have been recommended to help prevent motion sickness. Unless otherwise specified, the dosages given are for adults. For children between the ages of twelve and seventeen, the dose should be reduced to three-quarters of the recommended amount. For children between six and twelve, one-half of the recommended dose should be used, while one-quarter of the amount should be used for children under the age of six.
Charcoal tablets can be used as a detoxifier. Five tablets should be taken one hour before travel. Magnesium, which acts as a nerve tonic, should be taken in dosages of 500 mg one hour before a trip. To help relieve nausea, 100 mg of vitamin B6 should be taken one hour before a trip, and then 100 mg should be taken again two hours later. Additionally, black horehound can help to reduce nausea. Butcher’s broom, kudzu, and Motherwort are great for helping to relieve vertigo. Ginger is beneficial in suppressing nausea, making it an excellent treatment and preventive for nausea and upset stomach.
Lastly, peppermint tea sooths and calms the stomach. Also, a drop of peppermint oil on the tongue is a great way to provide relief from nausea and motion sickness. Peppermint can also be taken in a lozenge form. To learn more information about the above nutrients, contact your local or internet health food store.
Mother's Calming Embrace - New Motherwort from Solaray
August 07, 2006 12:12 PM
Clinical Applications of Herbal Medicine
November 08, 2005 06:29 PM
Clinical Applications of Herbal Medicine by D. Paul Barney, M.D.
1. Infertility (Damiana Ginseng Blend) (SP-1) – Impotency, Hot flashes, hormonal imbalance, menstrual problems.
2. Arthritis (Devil’s Claw Yucca Blend) (SP-2) – Rheumatism, Bursitis, Gout.
3. Respiratory Distress (Pleurisy Root Blend) (SP-3) – Bronchitis, Asthma, Pneumonia, T.B. Cough, Sore Throat, Colds, Hay fever.
4. Skin Disorders (Herbal Skin Blend) (SP-4) – Eczema, Psoriasis, Acne, Rash.
5. Diabetes (Uva Ursi Dandelion Blend) (SP-5) – High Blood Sugar.
6. Water Rentention (Cornsilk Blend) (SP-6) – Edema, Cystitis, Gout.
7-A. Yeast Infection (Goldenseal-witch Hazel Blend) (SP-7A) – Vaginitis.
7-B. Heavy Mentral Flow (Cranesbill Blend) (SP-7B) – Menorrhagia, Menorrhea.
8. Heart Trouble (Hawthorn Motherwort Blend) (SP-8) – Weak heart muscle, Arrythmia, Angina, Short of Breath, Palpitations.
9. High Blood Pressure (Garlic Valerian Blend) (SP-9) – High cholesterol, blood pressure.
10. Pain (White Willow Blend) (SP-10) – Headache, Migraine, Pain for Backache, Inflammation, Spasms, fever.
11-A. Blood Health (Dandelion Yellow Dock Blend) (SP-11A) – Infections, Acne, Gout, Exposure to Toxins.
11-B. Poor Circulation (Cayenne Blend) (SP-11B) – Phlitis, Cold Extremities, Varicose Veins, Diabetes.
12. Constipation (Butternut Cascara Blend) (SP-12) – Constipation.
13. Liver (Dandelion Milk Thistle Blend) (SP-13) – Hepatitis, Jaundice, Alcohol Cirrhosis, Sluggish Bile Flow, Gallstones, Psoriasis.
14. Nervous Tension (Valerian Blend) (SP-14) – Anxiety, Emotional, Fear, Hysteria, Restlessness.
15. Low Energy – Fatigue (Cayenne Ginseng Blend) (SP-15) – Boost Energy, Reduce Fatigue.
15-B. Male Stamina Blend (SP-15b) - Boost Libido.
16. Prostate (Saw Palmetto Blend) (SP-16) – Prostate cancer, Slow Urination.
17. Insomnia (Valerian Hops Blend) (SP-17) – Improve Sleep.
18. Obesity (Chickweed Celery Blend) (SP-18) – Reduce Weight.
19. Glandular & Nervous System Tonic (Goldenseal Gentian Blend) (SP-19) – Support Proper Glandular function and strengthen the nervous system.
20. Gastrointestinal (GI Blend) (SP-20) – Ulcers, Flatulence, Upset Stomach, Colic, Diverticulitis, Gastritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
20-B. Stomach Blend (Mastic gum, Marshmellow) (SP-20b) - Aids in digestion, stomach problems.
21. Infections (Echinacea Goldenseal Blend) (SP-21) – General infections, Flu, Fever, Sore Throat.
22. Caugh & Sore Throat (Bayberry Horehound Blend) (SP-22) – Colds, Bronchial Congestion, Inflammation.
23. Eyes (Eyebright Blend) (SP-23) – Eyestrain, Infection, Conjunctiuits, Dry/Inflamed.
24. Parasites – Worms (Garlic Black Walnut Blend) (SP-24) – Reduce Worms in colon.
25. Environmental (Algin Blend) (SP-25) – Pollution, Heavy metal, Recovery from illness.
26. Thyroid (Kelp Blend) (SP-26) – High, Low, Goiter.
27. Digestion (Papaya Peppermint Blend) (SP-27) – Dyspepsia, Colic, Gas, Heartburn, Antibiotic use, Pancreatic Insufficiency, Dependence on Laxatives.
28. Health & Body Tonic (Sarsaparilla Ginseng Blend) (SP-28) – Stress, Malaise, Fatigue, System Imbalances, Debilities.
29. Degenerative Disorder (Red Clover Blend) (SP-29) – Cancer, Addisons, Skin, Rheumatism.
30. Mental Stamina (Peppermint Ginseng Blend) (SP-30) – Memory Loss, Dementia, Poor Concentration.
31. High Cholesterol (Apple Pectin & Herbs Blend) (SP-31) – Control Cholesterol.
32. Hemorrhoids (Aloe witch Hazel Blend) (SP-32) – Phlebitis, Periodontal Swelling.
33. Allergy (Clay &Herbs Blend) (SP-33) – Hay Fever, Allergies.
34. Healing (Horsetail-Plantain Blend) (SP-34) – Ulcers, Broken Bones, Cuts, Wounds, Lacerations.
35. Low Blood Sugar (Licorice Gota Kola Blend) (SP-35) – Hypoglycemia.
36. Motion Sickness (Ginger Blend) (SP-36) – Nausea, Upset Stomach, Poor Digestion, Morning Sickness.
37. Antioxidants (Antioxidant Herb Blend) (SP-37) – Scavenge free radicals.
38. Hair (Herbal Hair Nutrients Blend) (SP-38) – Feed your Hair.
39. Depression (St. John’s Wort Blend) (SP-39) – Anxiety, Chronic Fatigue, Mononucleosis.
40. Immune Deficiency (Astragalus Blend) (SP-40) – Weakness, Chronic Disease, AIDS.
Heart Health - Heart-Healthy Herbs & Tonics
June 30, 2005 09:39 AM
Heart Health By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt Heart attacks and other circulatory problems head the list of modern day health threats. Care of the heart includes proper diet, exercise and effective handling of stress. An ideal way to provide nourishing support to the heart and related organs is through the use of herbs. Herbs have been used throughout history as part of a heart-healthy program. (Note that the well-known prescription heart medication, digitalis, was originally extracted from the herb Foxglove.) They provide a wide range of medicinal benefits not only for the heart, but for heart-supportive organs and related body systems as well. Herbs help the heart in several ways. Some are “tonics” for the heart and cardiovascular system. Others specifically aid with circulation. In addition, many herbs contain relaxing properties, which help decrease the negative effects of stress. As we frequently see in the herbal kingdom, there is often an overlap of therapeutic benefits between herbs, ultimately benefiting the user! Furthermore, combining herbs can have a more powerful or synergistic effect – meaning that the blend of two or more herbs is even more beneficial than the actions of any single herb!
A tonic herb is one that aids the body in a non-specific, balancing fashion, usually over a long period of time. Traditional Chinese Medicine considers tonics to be the most important class of herbal remedies, often called "superior" medicine.
First and foremost of the heart tonics is the European herb, Hawthorn, traditionally used in England to decorate the maypole. Hawthorn has a normalizing effect upon the heart, improving cellular metabolism while strengthening the heart's contractions, thereby improving the rate of blood flow throughout the body. It also helps maintain the integrity of the venal and arterial walls, as well as exhibiting anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Hawthorn is without a doubt the best long term heart tonic, useful for a variety of imbalances and for maintaining overall cardio-vascular health. An ideal formula for Hawthorn is Nature’s Answer®’s Hawthorne Berry, Leaf and Flower liquid herbal extract supplement (alcohol- free, organic alcohol).
Other herbs offering tonic actions to the heart include Astragalus and Dong Quai, especially when used together. Well-known as an immune tonic, Astragalus has been used traditionally to support the heart, and is considered one of the "superior" Chinese herbs. Its properties help lower blood pressure while increasing endurance. Astragalus’s ability to stimulate the body’s circulation is further enhanced when combined with Dong Quai, an herb traditionally used as a “blood builder”. Nature’s Answer® offers both herbs in alcohol-free and organic alcohol liquid herbal extract forms.
Any discussion of support for the heart would be inadequate without mentioning the essential and nourishing benefits of bio-flavonoids. Bio-flavonoids have the specific ability to regulate the permeability of capillaries and increase the strength of capillary walls. They are powerful anti-oxidants and free radical scavengers. Nature’s Answer® offers an outstanding bio-flavonoid formula -- Bio-Flavonoids & Rose Hip (organic alcohol), a truly tangy and delicious liquid supplement.
Other Heart-Healthy Herbs
Cayenne (a hot red pepper), has a long history of use to support the heart in many cultures. Best known as a potent circulatory stimulant (making it very useful for cold hands and feet), cayenne strengthens the heart, arteries and capillaries. This herb is added to many formulas to act as a "carrier" herb, which helps deliver active constituents to the body. Nature’s Answer®’s Cayenne liquid herbal extract formula (organic alcohol) is a powerful supplement for Cayenne support. Another overlooked herb for the heart is Cactus Grandiflorus found in Nature’s Answer®’s Cactus Grandiflorus liquid herbal extract supplement (organic alcohol); (new name: Night Blooming Cactus Formula). This herb, also called Cereus Grandiflorus, is a cactus flower extract that is useful to strengthen a weak heart and regulate irregular heartbeats.
Ginkgo Biloba, an herb well-recognized for its support of brain functions, has applications in maintaining the cardio-vascular system. It acts as both an anti-oxidant and circulatory stimulant. Ginkgo Biloba increases circulation, especially to the small venules and arterioles, including those which nourish the heart directly. An exceptional supplement featuring Ginkgo Biloba would be Nature’s Answer®’s Ginkgo Leaf liquid herbal extract formula (alcohol-free, organic alcohol).
Ideal Stress Reducers
Linden or lime blossom, another herbal remedy from Europe, provides nutritional support for the cardio-vascular system with a relaxing action on the arteries of the heart. Linden is useful with muscular tension and tension headaches as well. This makes it an excellent herb for heart difficulties relating to stress or anxiety, such as hypertension. You can find this herb in Nature’s Answer®’s Linden Flower liquid herbal extract (organic alcohol). Motherwort, as found in Nature’s Answer®’s Motherwort liquid formulation (organic alcohol), is yet another herb that has a long history of use for the heart. As a relaxing nervine, it may be particularly helpful in situations where anxiety or tension may affect the pulse.
As stated earlier, herbs used in combination can have a more synergistic, or powerful effect than when used alone. Nature’s Answer® offers an array of outstanding combination formulas for heart support. One such product is called Hawthorne CT (alcohol-free; new name: CardioNutriv™), a unique liquid herbal extract featuring Hawthorn, Linden and Cayenne herbs. TenseEase™(alcohol-free) is a second formula that blends Hawthorn and Linden with other stress relieving herbs.
As you see, liquid herbal extracts can be wonderful natural adjuncts to your program of sensible eating and exercise. Nature provides many useful herbs to support, nourish and protect the heart, heart-supportive organs and related body systems. Ultimately, remember to smile, relax and breathe deeply -- it'll do you and your heart a world of good!
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include Motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; Motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.