By Lucy Gornall
Going through the menopause is part of life’s natural rhythm and marks the beginning of a new chapter in a woman’s life.
During this time, the change in a woman’s two key sex hormones - oestrogen and progesterone - can create an unwanted challenge, with both emotional and physical symptoms to deal with, such as hot flushes, night sweats, loss of sex drive, weight gain and mood changes.
Jo Webber, Head of Herbal Education at Pukka Herbs, reveals that it would be "unusual for a women to not experience any form of change at all whether it be physical or emotional".
"The main difference is in the severity of the symptoms," she adds.
This World Menopause Day on the 18th of October, Jo shares her simple advice on naturally easing the symptoms of menopause using herbs and daily practices…
"One of the very best herbs for supporting hormonal change throughout a woman’s lifecycle is Shatavari. The name shatavari is derived from the Sanskrit words shat, which means ‘100’ and vri, which means ‘root’.
"The word vari can also mean ‘husband’, which may explain why shatavari is often referred to as ‘she who has a hundred husbands’," reveals Jo. For centuries, this root has been used to treat and nourish women’s health.
Jo adds that Shatavari is a renowned tonic for the female reproductive system and contains natural precursors to female hormones to help to balance them and reduce menopausal symptoms.
"It’s also naturally cooling and moistening to the reproductive tract, making it perfect for the hot, dry symptoms of menopause."
We love Pukka's Womankind Menopause supplement, which contains Shatavari along with a blend of botanicals.
Watch Your Diet
Look at foods that help to balance oestrogen levels within the body, says Jo. Try…
Cruciferous veggies: Such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, which contain several powerful nutrients to help metabolise oestrogenic molecules.
Healthy fat-rich foods: These are foods rich in saturated and omega-3 fatty acids, including plant-based fats such as coconut oil, hemp seed oil, extra virgin olive oil and avocados. Raw nuts (other than peanuts) and seeds contain oestrogen balancing plant sterols.
Allium family: The alliums include garlic, onions, scallions, chives and leeks. These are all rich in sulfur-containing amino acids and the powerful flavone anti-oxidant quercetin that both help the liver detoxify and reduce the production of oestrogen.
Herbal Teas: Green tea and liquorice specifically balance oestrogen levels.
Lentils: All lentils contain appreciable amounts of phyto-oestrogens that help to balance oestrogen-progesterone levels. Soy is well known for this but all pulses are helpful.
Jo explains, "As a practitioner, one of the primary influencing factors I have noticed on the severity of symptoms of menopause is stress. Incorporating daily practices such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness can be helpful. But also listening to what your body needs, being in tune with your energy levels and making sure you are not overdoing it."
And for post menopause…
"Lower levels of oestrogen can impact on bone density, so increasing key minerals to support bone health and incorporating herbs that boost circulation to the muscles, such as turmeric, can be especially helpful," says Jo.
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