It is thought that as many as 80% of menopausal women will experience some form of hot flashes (known as hot flushes in the UK). Many women are reluctant to take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and look towards herbal remedies, of which there are many, for the relief of hot flashes. In this article we are going to look at eight best herbs for controlling hot flashes and related problems like sleep disturbances and night sweats.
Signs and Causes of Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are identified as the sudden onset of feeling extremely hot and sweating which is sometimes excessive. Flashes normally affect the scalp, face, neck and chest but some women experience them over the whole body. The hot feeling often isn’t in any relation to surrounding environmental temperatures.
The hot flash is often accompanied by feelings of sickness and nausea.
Episodes can last for a few minutes or go on for up to an hour for some women and can occur at intervals of minutes or days.
Hot flashes often seem to be worse at night and can severely disrupt sleep for women during the menopause.
The exact reasons that hot flashes occur isn’t fully understood but is thought to be linked to the highly fluctuating estrogen levels occurring in menopausal women. Estrogen production is declining overall but doesn’t do this steadily and it is thought that during this time the brain receives contradictory and confused signals. This stimulates certain reactions in the body, one of which is the fluctuating temperature responses that manifest as hot flashes.
Natural Herbs for Controlling Hot Flashes
There is a wide choice and many women have their own personal favorites. Some of the natural remedies take longer to have an effect than others and you may need to experiment a little to find what is most suitable for you. Here are eight herbs to control hot flashes.
1.) Black Cohosh for Hot Flashes
One of the best known and most widely available herbs for the treatment of hot flashes. This plant has an ancient tradition as a medicine for women’s health issues. It addresses the estrogen deficiency thought to contribute to the occurrence of hot flashes as it has estrogenic properties.
Black Cohosh has many side-effects however and its prolonged use has been linked to liver damage. More commonly it can induce nausea, headaches and dizziness.
2.) Licorice Root to Control Hot Flashes
Another of the most commonly used plants for menopausal symptom relief. Again it addresses the estrogen deficiency and is thought to help regulate estrogen fluctuations.
One of the most commonly recorded side-effects is its ability to raise blood pressure.
3.) Organic Maca
This root vegetable seems to be fast taking over as the herbal remedy of choice for suffering menopausal women. It is thought to be of greater benefit than the two previously mentioned plants as it stimulates the body to produce its own estrogen when necessary rather than introducing it into the body artificially. It is also free of the side-effects associated with many other remedies.
4.) Ginseng as a Hot Flash Remedy
It is thought that Ginseng may help to regulate the body’s temperature fluctuations and thereby bring some relief to hot flashes.
5.) Evening Primrose Oil
Many women swear by this and find it particularly effective for night sweats.
6.) Red Clover
This has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries and is thought to act in the same way as licorice root and Black Cohosh for its estrogenic properties.
May help by acting as a general system coolant.
This plant may help to shorten and reduce the severity of hot flashes. This isn’t recommended for anyone experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding which can often be another problem for women during the menopause.
Hot Flashes and Sleep Disturbance
As previously mentioned, disrupted sleep due to hot flashes can bring its own set of problems. Too little or low quality sleep can have serious health implications and will affect general well-being. There are many herbs that will help to aid sleep. Valerian is an excellent natural sedative whose benefit in promoting restful sleep has been known for centuries.
Another useful herb for this purpose is sage and sage tea is widely available. Here are more remedies for better sleep.
Herbal remedies for hot flashes come in for a fairly large amount of criticism from the scientific and medical establishments. They are either debunked as useless or their many harmful possibilities are highlighted. However, open any packet of over-the-counter or prescription medicine and be prepared to spend half an hour reading all the possible side-effects that the medicine can have. There are side-effects, some with serious implications, from taking some herbal remedies but if you buy your products from a reputable supplier there will be clear instructions for dosage recommendations which should be followed to the letter.
Millions of women every year find very real relief from herbal remedies to control hot flashes and unless they are all wrong then it casts serious doubts on the medical and scientific establishments’ verdicts. Unfortunately we live in an age where giant pharmaceutical companies wield vast power. Their profits and power are threatened considerably by the alternative might of the humble herb and money is not going to be invested in proving their efficacy. Make up your own mind.