9 Awesome Herbs to Kill Your Hot Flashes
Ah, it’s that time of your life. Sometimes it’s hard not to imagine Mother Nature as an indecisive little lady. One moment it’s all happiness and rainbows, next thing you know she’s the raging, hot tempered empress of doom.
Unfortunately, mommy has been in one of her moods lately so we’ll help you counter her heat with well… herbs! Read on to find out more.
1. Black cohosh
Chances are that you’ve probably heard of this herb already because it’s becoming more popular in the United States and is the most researched herbal remedy for hot flashes.
The North American Menopause Society supports the use of black cohosh for up to six months because of its low incidence of side effects compared to other alternative treatment methods.
Black cohosh works like estrogen in the body. It decreases luteinizing hormone, the hormone that’s released by the pituitary gland and may be linked to your hot flashes.
It also has an impact on your serotonin receptors which also play a role in causing hot flashes. While one study showed its reduces hot flashes by a whopping 84 percent, some studies still show mixed views about the herb, indicating it may have little or no benefit.
In any case, it is still definitely worth a shot. Not only because it’s safe, but also because it has been proven to be effective in most women, and you may be one of them too!
Make sure you speak with your doctor before taking it and choose products that suggest a recommended standard dose, i.e. 40 mg daily or 20 mg twice a day.
2. Red clover
Red clover is an excellent herb for infertility as it consists of isoflavones, plant-based chemicals that mimic the action of estrogen in the body. Moreover, some researchers also state that using red clover may lead to improvement in menopause symptoms such as hot flashes too.
In addition, it may also reduce your risk of many complications associated with menopause such as heart disease and osteoporosis – however, further research is still needed to study its effectiveness in doing so.
Here’s a study on red clover’s efficacy on reducing your risk of menopause complications.
There is some evidence which states that red clover may not be safe for women with breast cancer as phytoestrogen supplements may interfere with breast cancer treatments. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements to prevent any complications.
A 2010 Swiss study conducted in 8 practices with 71 postmenopausal women was the first study to prove sage’s efficacy in treating and preventing menopause symptoms, particularly hot flashes. These women were menopausal for a period of 12 months and were going through at least 5 hot flashes every day. They took one sage tablet with fresh sage leaves every day for 8 weeks.
Results showed that the average frequency of hot flashes had dropped by half within just 4 weeks and it had gone down by 64 percent in 8 weeks.
Those with severe and very severe hot flashes enjoyed greater benefits as their frequency had gone down by 79 percent for the severe group and 100 percent for the severer group.
Recommended Reading: How to Beat 6 Major Menopause Symptoms with Your Diet
You don’t have to take a sage pill to reap its benefits. Simply add a tablespoon of fresh or a heaping teaspoon of dried sage to a cup of boiling water and let the tea steep for 5 minutes. Strain and have it warm or iced – whichever way you like it.
We recommend having it iced because having a cup of a cold beverage definitely feels better when Mother Nature is heating up on you! Avoid adding sugar or artificial sweeteners to sweeten your tea and use natural flavors such as lemon, honey or agave nectar to make the tea more reinvigorating and nutritious.
4. Red ginseng
A 2012 study published in the journal, Menopause, New York, evaluated the effects of red ginseng, the most popular form of ginseng, on menopausal symptoms as well as the risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women.
Ginseng is widely used in East Asian countries as a treatment for a large number of illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study was conducted with 72 women of ages 45 to 60 years. The participants were divided into two groups. One took red ginseng and the other took the placebo for a period of 12 weeks.
The scored on the Kupperman index and the menopause rating scale showed that there was a significant improvement in menopause symptoms in women who took red ginseng compared to the placebo group. Furthermore, low density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol (the bad one) and total cholesterol levels were much lower in the red ginseng group as well.
Red ginseng has active components that are not prevent in raw white ginseng and is thus, far better than the traditional ginseng most people use. The study showed that red ginseng did not only improve hot flashes in menopausal women, but reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease too.
The authors in the study state that red ginseng’s star component is its phytoestrogens, which are plant versions of estrogens that work similar to estrogen in the body.
5. Licorice root
Yes, we all love licorice but aside from its candy form and yummy goodness, licorice root has a long history in eastern and western medicine. Traditional medicine suggests that using licorice root can actually help reduce symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, mood swings, depression and adrenal fatigue. A study proving its efficacy is summarized here.
It’s available in a wide array of forms so you can come up with something super cool or we’ll guide you with a recipe at the end of this section.
As with most other hot flash remedies, licorice also contains a pack load of isoflavones that act like estrogen in the body. In fact, over 40 active compounds have been identified in licorice.
While certain isoflavones help improve hot flashes, other compounds help with mood swings and depression.
Licorice root extract is readily available and is known to be more potent than its dried form. The root is smashed and boiled in water. The liquid is evaporated and it leaves a powder or syrup. Licorice root may also be effective in preventing auto immune diseases, skin irritation and gastrointestinal diseases.
Researchers describe licorice root as being an antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory remedy for many ailments.
To prepare a cup of licorice herbal tea, mix one teaspoon of licorice root, in whichever form available, with one cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 20 minutes. As mentioned earlier, it’s better to have it iced especially if your flashes or on a rage plus, its more refreshing. A cup of licorice tea in one hand and a book in another. Total zen mode.
Bonus: You can also have this tea warm for coughs or nasal congestion. Oh and licorice also acts as an aphrodisiac too. It doesn’t only do all of the above, but some people say that it may also improve your libido. Might as well give it a shot!
6. Magnolia bark
A recent study examined the effects of isoflavones and amino acid preparation on hot flashes and one or more of the other symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings, pain, sleep problems, cognitive problems etc. that women often report from their menopausal to early postmenopausal stage.
Randomized control trials were conducted between 2004 and July 2011 with seventeen trials of ammonia acid and isoflavones on hot flashes and another menopause symptom. Along with other herbal treatments used in the study, magnolia bark also showed a significant improvement in hot flashes, sleep problems and mood swings in menopausal women.
Ashwagandha is known to be effective in treating hot flashes in premenopausal women because of its effect on the central nervous system. According to the North American Menopause Society, the frequency of hot flashes reduced when antidepressants were taken in three randomized placebo controlled studies.
The most effective of these drugs were serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These drugs inhibited serotonin from being reabsorbed by nerve cells. A study that was conducted by researchers at M. L. Sukhadia University and published in the journal, Neurochemical Research in 2009 found that ashwagandha increased serotonin levels in the brains of mice and thus, helped reduce stress.
Guess what, even the Kama Sutra states that ashwagandha is a strong sexual stimulant. That’s a definite bonus! Research shows that this herb boosts sexual health by increasing blood flow and easing muscle tension.
Hops have been used in traditional medicine to treat hot flashes for thousands of years. According to research, they have the most potent phytoestrogens discovered till today.
These phytoestrogens are called 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN), just in case you’re curious and they’re awesome at fighting hot flashes, according to this study published in the November 2006 issue of the Journal of Endocrinology.
Hops has two main components that attracted researchers, one is an estrogen-like compound and the other may be a powerful anti-cancer treatment. Some people also report improvement in anxiety and insomnia after taking hops.
9. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is a popular herbal remedy best known for its effects in treating mild to moderate depression however, a study published in the journal, Menopause in 2010 showed that it may even be effective in treating hot flashes.
The study included 100 women, which were divided into two groups. One group was treated with the St. John’s wort extract, while the other received a placebo for a period of eight weeks.
The average age of the participants was 50.4 years and the differences in the frequency, severity and duration of their hot flashes were recorded. The women who took St. John’s wort showed a significant decline in their hot flashes.
Hot flashes reduced to around four a day at the beginning of the study and had gone down by only two per day by the eight week. The herb reduced the severity and duration of the hot flashes as well.