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Herbal Allies

The Menopause Self Help Book by Susan M. Lark, M.D.,
The Wild Rose Scientific Herbal by Terry Willard, Ph.D.,
Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way by Susun S. Weed
are drawn heavily upon for this segment. All references are provided here.

AN INTRODUCTION TO HERBS

Menopause changes occur not only in the ovaries, but also in the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, pineal and pituitary glands. Herbal allies, used wisely, provide micronutrients that strengthen the immune system, provide bone-building minerals and endocrine-nourishing glycosides.

When using herbs we need to be alert and aware, just as we are when ingesting any substance. It's best to identify all plants you intend to use by botanical name, and buy only products labeled by botanical name. Using only one herb at a time and learning all we can about it, we may begin with gentle nourishing and tonifying herbal infusions and vinegars. Each of us is unique, and although side effects are rare, it's recommended you watch your reactions carefully during the first 24 hours when first using any plant. Use herbal tinctures only after you have gained some familiarity with herbs as foods and infusions. Start with a small, recommended dose of the herb and increase slowly if needed.

Plants strong enough to act as stimulants, sedatives, and near-drugs have powerful effects on both body and spirit and may be useful in very small doses. Learn to respect the uniqueness of every plant, every person and every situation as well as the differences between herbs.

Nourishing herbs rarely produce side effects and may be taken in any quantity indefinitely. These herbs include alfalfa, borage, calendula, chamomile, chickweed, cornsilk, comfrey, elder blossoms or berries, fennel, fenugreek, lemon balm, mallows, nettles, oatstraw, plantain, raspberry, red clover, seaweeds, sweet briar (rose hips), St. John's wort, slippery elm and violet. All are considered especially nourishing for the menopausal years.

Tonifying herbs act slowly in the body and have a cumulative, rather than immediate, effect. These herbs are most beneficial when used in small quantities for extended periods of time. Side effects are more common with tonics. The more bitter they taste, the less you need to take. Tonic herbs useful during the menopausal years include birch, black cohosh, blackstrap molasses, chaste tree (Vitex), dandelion, Dong quai, echinacea, false unicorn, ginseng, hawthorn, horsetail, lady's mantle, motherwort, peony, sarsaparilla, spikenard, wild yam and yellow dock.

Sedating/stimulating herbs usually cause a wide variety of rapid reactions. Long-term use can lead to dependency, so these herbs are best used in moderate doses for fairly short periods of time. Side effects are frequent, and there may be loss of tone or a rebound effect when the herb is no longer taken. Some parts of the body may be stressed in order to help other parts. These herbs include catnip, cinnamon, ginger, hops, licorice, myrrh, passion flower, poplar, primrose, sage, skullcap, uva ursi, valerian, vervain, willow and wintergreen.

Toxic herbs are potential poisons and potent medicines, but nevertheless have a place in healing. They activate intense effort on the part of both body and spirit. As herbal "bullets" they are taken in tiny amounts for very short periods of time, usually under supervision of a qualified practitioner. If you are allergic to any foods or medicines, it is especially important to check on the possible side effects of toxic herbs. These herbs include cayenne, cotton root, goldenseal, liferoot, poke root, rue, sweet clover (Melilot) and wormseed.

BOTANICAL NAMES FOR PLANTS

Nourishing Tonifying
  Alfalfa Medicago sativa   Birch Betula sp.
Borage Borago officinalis Black cohosh Cimicifuga racemosa
Calendula Calendula off. Chaste tree Vitex agnus-castus
Chamomile Anthemis nobilis Dandelion Taraxacum officinalis
Chickweed Stellaria media Dong quai Angelica sinensis
Cornsilk Zea mays Echinacea E.purpurea, E.angustifolia
Comfrey Symphytum officinal False unicorn Chamaelirium luteum
Elder Sambucus nigra Ginseng Panax sp.
Fennel Foeniculum vulgar Hawthorne Crataegus sp.
Fenugreek Trigonella foenum graecum Horsetail Equisetum arvense
Lemon balm Melissa officinalis Lady's mantle Alchemilla vulgaris
Mallows Malva sp. Motherwort Artemisia vulgaris
Nettles Urtica dioica Peony Paeonia albiflora
Oatstraw Avena sativa Sarsaparilla Smilax officinalis
Plantain Plantago sp., P.psyllium Spikenard Aralia racemosa
Raspberry Rubus sp. Wild yam Dioscorea villosa & sp.
Red clover Trifolium praetense Yellow dock Rumex crispus & sp.
Sweet briar Rosa canina  
St. John's wort Hypericum perforatum
Slippery elm Ulmus fulva
Violet Violo odorata

Sedating/Stimulating Toxic
  Catnip Nepeta cataria   Cayenne Capsicum frutescens,
C.annuum
Cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylandicum, C.cassia Cotton root Gossypium
Ginger Zingiber officinale Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis
Hops Humulus lupuli Liferoot Senecio sp.
Licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra Poke root Phytolacca americana
Myrrh Comminphora myrrha Rue Ruta graveolens
Passion flower Passiflora incarnata Sweet clover Melitotus
Poplar Populus tremuloides,
P.nigra & others
Wormseed Chenopodium abrosioides
Primrose Primula officinalis  
Sage Salvia officinalis
Scullcap Scutellaria lateriflora
Uva ursi Arctostaphylos uva ursi
Valerian Valeriana officinalis
Vervain Verbena hastata
Willow Salix nigra, S.alba
Wintergreen Galtheria procumbens

 

Click for herbal, vitamin, mineral, and other alternative Remedies for menopausal symptoms.

Researched and written by the ProjectAWARE group, 2000

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Updated 09/29/2010