Tag: red clover

Herbs and hormones – menopause

Hormone related problems are a common sight for many herbalists, and the most common symptom seen is menopausal hot flushes.

Herbs have been used for hundreds of years to help women through all stages of life, but in the 21st Century more and more women are looking to alternatives to help relieve their menopausal symptoms.

Most women will experience the menopause between the ages of 40 and 52 years. During the menopause, ovarian hormone levels decline, leading not just hot flushes but also loss of confidence, nervousness and mood swings. Symptoms can begin before the loss of a regular period, often presenting as an increase in pre-menstrual symptoms.

Following an article in the Lancet in February this year stating the link between Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) use and ovarian cancer, more and more women are looking to herbs.

A research study published in the Oxford Journal for Family Practice in 2007 found that herbal medicine could significantly reduce the menopausal symptoms.

Herbs are often chosen because they can support the hormonal and nervous systems, reducing symptoms and helping to balance fluctuating hormone levels.

Red clover
Trifolium pratense (red clover) is another common herb used in the menopause. The flower and leaves of red clover contain phyto oestrogens, which can be used to improve the hormonal status within the body, by providing the starting point for manufacturing its own hormones.

Salvia officinalis (common garden sage), has been found to be effective in reducing excess sweating, hot flushes and night sweats in menopausal women. Using sage tea to this effect is a traditional remedy but a study in 2011 confirmed its efficacy. If you would like to try this remedy for yourself at home, you can use either dried or fresh leaves of common sage. Take a small handful of fresh leaves or 1-2 tsp of dried leaves, add to a cup of hot water, allow to steep for 10 – 15 minutes. Leave to go completely cold, strain and drink.

Black cohosh
Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh) is another herb often associated with reducing menopausal symptoms. The roots of black cohosh have been used for many years traditionally, but the research on its effectiveness for menopausal symptoms is mixed. It appears that it works for some women but not always for all women.

Soy is often mentioned as a way of improving the hormone balance within the body during menopause because it contains phyto oestrogens. This is confirmed when looking at the health statistics across the world. Countries that consumed a high amount of natural phyto oestrogens in their diet had not only lower rates of cancer but also a very low incidence of menopausal symptoms.

If you are taking any medication or have other health problems it is important to seek professional advice from a medical herbalist before taking herbal medicine. To find your nearest medical herbalist visit www.nimh.org.

Blog published in Thrive Magazine.

July 14 – Research on herbal medicine and health blog

In July the following research on herbs and health has caught my eye.

1. A new report in the USA has been looking at antibiotic resistant infections and links to the overuse of antibiotics.

“Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, CDC Director, points out, “It’s clear that we’re approaching a cliff with antibiotic resistance. But it’s not too late. Clinicians and healthcare systems need to improve prescribing practices. And patients need to recognize that there are both risks and benefits to antibiotics — more medicine isn’t best; the right medicine at the right time is best.”

2. Pomegranate has been studied recently and found to have positive effects on musculoskeletal conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

3. Turmeric has been studied recently for its potential use in the treatment of digestive problems, for example bowel disease.

4. Plantain (Plantago spp.) seeds have been studied in a laboratory and found to have anti-inflammatory properities.

5. A new laboratory study has found that feverfew can prevent skin damage.

6. A new study in Spain has been researching ways for patients to safely reduce their 

benzodiazepine usage (drugs such as diazepam).

7. A new laboratory study on Trifolium spp. (clover) has found they can protect red blood cells from damage.

Monthly research blog – Herbal medicine and health – Feb 14

This month the following research on herbs and health has caught my eye.

1. A new laboratory study has found that pomegranate can repair liver damage.

2. A new study in New York is looking at the affects poor diet has on brain function. In      particular the links between junk food and poor concentration and aggressive behaviour.

3. Ashwagandha has been shown to improve brain function in people with bi-polar disorder.

4. Phytoestrogens such as soy, red clover and liquorice in a new study have been shown to prevent and treat metabolic syndrome.

5. A new laboratory study has shown that rosebay willowherb contains plant constituents that suggest its effectiveness in treating benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

6. Red sage has been used traditionally to treat fatty liver disease and has been studied recently to find out if it can be used in hospitals. Further studies are being undertaken.

7. Self heal (Prunella vulgaris) has been found to prevent atherosclerosis.

8. Cinnamon has shown a new mode of action in laboratory studies which may mean it can be used to treat some neurodegenerative diseases.

9. Beetroot juice has been shown to increase exercise tolerance in a new study.

10. A new laboratory study has found that the root of St John’s wort may be effective against fungal infections.

11. An extract of broom could be in your next sun cream, as a new laboratory study has found that it can protect skin from UV rays.

12. A new controversial recommendation was announced that people with 10% risk of developing cardiovascular disease would be advised by their GPs to take statins. The threshold has halved as previously the risk was 20% before statins were suggested. Many believe a more natural approach should be tried before statins are introduced.