Natural Herb Hormone Replacement

By Kathleen O'Connor

  • Overview

    Natural Herb Hormone Replacement
    Natural Herb Hormone Replacement
    Some women are reluctant to take prescription hormones. Often, the unwanted side effects of taking these drugs are just as bad, if not worse, than menopausal symptoms. Thankfully, there are natural remedies that reportedly relieve menopausal symptoms and cause little to no side effects. However, limited research has been done on natural herb hormone replacement, so there is little data backing its safety and efficacy.
  • Types

    The most popular types of natural alternatives to hormone replacement are herbal supplements. Some herbal alternatives to prescription hormones include dong quai, black cohosh, licorice, gingko biloba and fenugreek. For optimal results, herbal remedies can be combined with natural therapies such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, biofeedback and chiropractic care.
  • Benefits

    The greatest benefit of natural remedies is the lack side effects. Furthermore, many natural remedies help to restore overall balance and good health. For example, therapies like acupuncture are known to improve your energy level and help you achieve a sense of well-being. Natural herb hormone replacement alleviates a wide range of menopausal symptoms. Dong quai is a Chinese herb that is known to balance estrogen. It works especially well to treat hot flashes. Black cohosh is an herb native to North America. It was used by Native Americans for centuries to treat menopausal symptoms. Of all natural herb hormone replacement therapies, black cohosh has been researched the most. According to the Mayo Clinic, clinical studies show that it is effective in treating a number of menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, headache, heart palpitations and ringing in the ears. Go to http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/black-cohosh/NS_patient-blackcohosh for more information about the clinically proven benefits of black cohosh. Licorice has been used for thousands of years to treat menopausal symptoms because of its effects on estrogen and progesterone levels. Natural progesterone creams made of wild yam extract are used to alleviate vaginal dryness and hot flashes.


  • Considerations

    Because herbal remedies and other natural hormone replacement therapies are not regulated by the federal government, there are some doubts regarding their safety and efficacy. Before taking a natural herb hormone replacement, talk to your doctor. Some herbs can interact dangerously with prescription drugs and aggravate certain health conditions. It is important to be patient when trying a natural herb hormone replacement. You may not see results for several weeks. In fact, you may not even get results at all. Try experimenting with different remedies and therapies, but don't take more than one herbal supplement at a time to avoid negative interactions. Follow the instructions on the label of any supplement you take and don't exceed the recommended dose.
  • Diet/Lifestyle

    Your diet and lifestyle can make a big difference in how you feel during menopause. By eating right, getting enough exercise and leading an overall healthy lifestyle, you can keep the symptoms of menopause at bay. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that Japanese women suffer significantly less hot flashes due to the high quantity of soy in their diets (see http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/153/8/790). Soybeans contain natural plant estrogens. Incorporate soy products like tofu, tempeh, miso and soymilk into your diet. Other foods known to contain natural plant estrogens are alfalfa, beets, yeast and sesame seeds. Make sure your diet is high in calcium to prevent the loss of bone density. Avoid spicy foods and caffeine because they are known to worsen hot flashes. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Find ways to relieve stress and increase your energy level. Many women find yoga helpful. Maintaining overall good health by eating well and leading an active, healthy lifestyle is far more effective in alleviating menopausal symptoms than any natural herb hormone replacement.
  • Warning

    Avoid herbal medicines that are touted as a one-stop solution to menopausal symptoms. They are typically nothing more than bogus marketing claims and their safety is questionable at best. Experts support the use of black cohosh in treating menopausal symptoms for up to 6 months. The long-term safety of black cohosh is debatable. There is some concern that taking black cohosh can increase the risk of endometrial cancer because it causes estrogenic activity in the endometrium. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), women with breast cancer should not take black cohosh. For more information about the complications and adverse effects of taking black cohosh, go to http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030701/114.html.
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