The Top 26 Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
Hot flashes, hot flushes, night sweats, power surge, and personal summer – the number of terms to describe this oh-so-vexing symptom of “the time” in a woman’s life is as varied as the women that are affected.
But one thing’s for certain – most women are sweaty and not so happy about it.
A hot flash is a rapid feeling of heat that is often accompanied with a sweating and flushed, red face. Blood vessels near the skin’s surface begin to dilate and cool the body. Sweating is also a mechanism through which the body tries to cool itself. Some women may have chills and a rapid heart rate during a hot flash too.
While hot flashes happen to be the most annoying and troublesome symptom of menopause, it is also the most common symptom sending women to the doctor. Understandably – they want it to be done and over with.
All of this has been not-so-great news so far.
But I do have good news! Really good news.
You can actually control, ease, and limit your experience with hot flashes as you travel through the journey of menopause.
And you can do it without the controversial hormone therapy. I’m here to show you how.
So Why Are YOU So Hot?
What exactly causes hot flashes is not yet understood. And though most women do experience hot flashes – a few will go through menopause without a single episode
So what determines your susceptibility? Most experts believe that one contributing factor that allows you to experience hot flashes may be your weight.
Research shows that overweight women are more susceptible to hot flashes than women who have maintained a normal weight.
Another contributing factor may be your ethnicity (African and Latino women are more likely to experience hot flashes than Asian women, for example). And unsurprisingly, your diet and lifestyle choices play a role. For example, smokers have a greater risk of experiencing flashes than non-smokers.
On the flipside, if you have an active lifestyle and consume nutrient-dense, clean food – then you’re less likely to get affected.
Studies also show that people who practice yoga may be spared the worst. (How’s that for a reason to down dog?)
Finding Your Hormonal Balance
So researchers believe hot flashes are most likely related to hormonal fluctuations that take place during menopause.
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that are needed in the female cycle. The balance of these two hormones is important for optimal health in women. Menopause makes these hormones drop off.
Many women experience an imbalance in these hormones during various stages of their life – (how could we forget puberty?! Or hello pregnancy hormones!)
Or the imbalance could come from other factors. For example, insufficient progesterone levels could be brought on by chronic stress.
Therefore, in some women, minimizing stress is a great way to cope with the effects of hormonal levels without hormonal therapy.
Additionally, consuming the right foods with high nutrient levels and exercising regularly may keep your hormones balanced and allow you to age gracefully. Also, avoid caffeinated beverages, wine, milk chocolate, aged cheese and deep-fried and spicy dishes as they typically trigger hot flashes in women.
To balance your hormones and reduce hot flashes, go for organic plant based foods from your local farmers market or organic food store.
Note that all women are different so what doesn’t affect another woman may affect you. Therefore, your best bet would be to keep a food journal and note down everything that you eat and drink and mark those that make you feel uncomfortable. You can even use a food journal app on your phone to do this.
If you love a certain food but feel it may be triggering hot flashes, save it for special occasions only or have it later when you’re symptom-free so you can see if you are able to tolerate it better at this stage.
Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes
You can cope with hot flashes naturally instead of seeking hormone therapy.
Lifestyle changes, alternative treatments such as herbs, vitamins and foods – as well as mind-body techniques to release mental and physical stress – are excellent choices. Read on for the full rundown.
Top Foods For Hot Flashes
First up, let’s look at some dietary choices you can be making to help you cope with this steamy menopause symptom.
Remember diet is the bedrock for healthy menopause.
The foods I am about to highlight are not the only foods to help with hot flashes, but they are examples of foods that have nutrients that will help you through the process.
Broccoli, especially young broccoli sprouts, is rich in the antioxidant compound, sulphoraphane that helps balance estrogen levels in the body by activating phase II detoxification enzymes.
Other vegetables such as watercress, kale, spinach, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, radishes and cauliflower are also linked to balancing estrogen levels in the body.
These vegetables are packed with phytochemicals called glucosinolates, which are converted into powerful detoxifying compounds in the body.
If you don’t understand the science behind how these delicious greens benefit your body, you don’t need to worry.
Just consume heaping helpings of organic greens and plant-based foods daily – they’re not only linked to fewer hot flashes but are also scientifically proven to prevent weight gain, diminish risk of many diseases, and improve your overall lifestyle.
Make sure you consume lots of young broccoli sprouts –simply throw them into your salads and munch on. Add in other antioxidant and mineral rich food such as nuts and seeds, dried fruits, and your favorite veggies.
With every season, you get a plethora of colorful and gorgeous vegetables so make sure you make use of them in every meal.
According to Health Castle, soymilk consists of phytoestrogens, which are similar to estrogens.
So in many cases, women are cautioned about consuming too many soy products – especially young women in their childbearing years.
So why during menopause?
Soy products can potentially decrease the number of hot flashes women experience by mimicking the biological activities of estrogen, which has dropped during these years. Your estrogen is low, so why not do something to help boost it back up?
The safest way to benefit from the phytoestrogen properties of soy is by incorporating whole soy varieties into your diet, such as tempeh, soymilk and tofu. Start with a serving or two a day and see how it makes you feel.
3. Whole grains
Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa have spectacularly high levels of fiber – a substance that has been known to be beneficial in treating hot flashes.
Fiber is a key component in women’s diet to primarily help estrogen dominant, estrogen deficient, and pre-menopausal women in regulating their estrogen levels.
In addition, fiber helps in the rapid removal of waste through the intestines. Fiber helps women feel full and satiated, but it actually aids in weight loss (sounds like a blessed contradiction, right?!) This is especially beneficial for menopausal women as weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of menopause.
Whole grains and fruits and vegetables such as bananas, apples, cabbages, collard greens and broccoli are some great sources of fiber.
4. Low-fat yogurt
Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium that aids in reducing menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. Calcium cleanses excess estrogen from your liver and thus helps relieve hot flashes.
On top of the hot flash dilemma, rapid bone loss is one of the many complications associated with menopause, which may lead to degenerative bone disorders like osteoporosis.
Consuming more calcium-rich foods may minimize loss of bone tissue over time.
Other great non-dairy sources of calcium, collard greens, kale, sardines in oil, fits, okra, turnip greens and almonds.
Liver is a polarizing meal choice. If you love it, you probably really love it. If you hate it, you hope to never have it on your dinner plate again.
But for the women who are fans of liver, rejoice! This controversial meat, especially beef liver in particular, is packed with folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, which helps reduce hot flashes in women.
A February 2010 issue of Medical Hypotheses showed that beef liver and spinach are foods that help reduce hot flashes due to the high folic acid content in them.
Folic acid, which also works as an estrogen replacement, may be used as an alternative treatment. Apart from liver, leafy greens, dried beans, asparagus, avocado and rice are some sources of folic acid that should be included in your everyday diet.
Walnuts have always been popular for their great taste (especially in desserts… mmm brownies.) and for their high good fat content.
(Yes, consuming certain fats can actually be good for you and help you lose weight so if anyone tells you that nuts make you fat, stop listening.)
The good fats in nuts, or the omega-3 fatty acids, help reduce hot flashes in menopausal women by regulating certain cellular functions in the body. A diet rich in omega-3s may help diminish your risk of many complications related to menopause such as osteoporosis and heart disease. It’s also amazing for the skin!
Other fantastic sources of omega-3s include salmon, tuna, shrimp and tofu.
Pineapples are a great source of antioxidant vitamin C, which helps reduce hot flashes in menopausal women. As we mentioned before, antioxidants protect the body from free radical damage.
Free radicals are molecules in the body that are often responsible for tissue damage, premature aging and a variety of health issues.
Consuming ample vitamin C rich foods everyday will help reduce hormonal oxidative stress and thus, hot flashes – which is an great win for women because there’s nothing like vitamin C rich fruit to make us feel like we are in a tropical getaway.
To make a refreshing drink with pineapple, simply add chopped pineapple into the blender with other tropical fruits or berries that you have, a lot of ice and blend.
It’s super refreshing, especially during a hot flash!
8. Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil
The fatty acids found in flaxseed oil may be effective in treating symptoms of menopause, especially hot flashes. Flax consists of plant lignans, which are plant-versions of estrogen.
These will help in balancing and stabilizing estrogen levels in menopausal women while reducing the frequency of hot flashes.
The efficacy of flaxseed according to studies comes with mixed reviews, but Mayo Clinic researchers in a study of 29 women with hot flashes found that flaxseed may actually help reduce hot flashes in women.
Participants had to consume 1.5 ounces of crushed flaxseed every day for 6 weeks.
Results showed that the frequency of hot flashes went down by half and the severity was reduced by 57 percent.
Women also reported that their mood improved, and they experienced less chills, joint and muscle pain, and sweating.
On top of these findings, flaxseed is a great source of insoluble fiber, which aids in weight control (helpful for menopausal women struggling with hormone-related weight gain) and regulating cholesterol levels.
To reap optimum benefits from flaxseeds, make sure you have them crushed – using a coffee grinder to do this may make your life much easier.
Store the ground seeds in the refrigerator and have it with yogurt or oatmeal (two amazing hot flash killers) every day.
Supplements For Hot Flashes
Now we will focus on all-natural supplements that can calm hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
As you will quickly see, there are so many great options to help you through this time.
If this list feels overwhelming, know that Eu Natural’s Staying Cool supplement combines many of these into one easy-to-remember hassle-free pill.
9. Black Cohosh
Black cohosh is a plant widely used in Europe as a treatment for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.
Some studies show that black cohosh may be as effective in balancing estrogen levels and providing relief from hot flashes as pharmaceutical estrogen. One study showed that black cohosh can be used to prevent excessive sweating too – a common problem many women complain about during hot flashes.
A small study published in the 2006 issue of Cancer Investigation showed that women who took black cohosh noticed that their hot flashes had reduced by half and their weekly flashes were brought down by 56 percent.
To prepare black cohosh tea, the UMMC recommends boiling 34 ounces of water with 20 grams of black cohosh and letting it steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Drinking 3 cups daily is sure to reduce the frequency of your hot flashes. The UMMC also states that women with hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast, uterine and ovarian cancer should avoid black cohosh tea.
10. Ashwagandha Extract
Ayurvedic medicine has been using the ashwagandha herb for thousands of years to treat all sorts of physical and mental ailments.
Of course I’ll start with the obvious – Ashwagandha helps menopausal hot flashes by inhibiting something called your IL-8 gene. This is something called a vasodilator (AKA something that widens your blood vessels) and can lead to hot flashes.
But Ashwahandha does even more for menopausal women including:
- Aiding mood swings
- Improving sleep quality
- Limiting stress and anxiety
Taking this in supplement form is extremely helpful, as is buying Ashwagandha powder to put in your smoothies!
11. Magnolia Bark
The magnolia plant is more than just beautiful; it’s medicinal. Both the buds and the bark have been used in traditional medicine (especially in Asian cultures) for thousands of years.
The bark in particular can be especially effective in helping women in menopause.
One study showed that magnolia bark could participate in lowering menopausal symptoms like insomnia, mood swings, vaginal dryness, low libido and – you guessed it – hot flashes (flushing, nocturnal sweating, palpitations, etc.)
When I say “hops” – what do you immediately think about? Beer, right? (Well don’t get your hopes up too much.)
But now I want you to also think about hot flash relief anytime you hear the word.
A 2006 study worked with 67 women in menopause over a 12-week period. They were given hop extract as a phytoestrogen. The researchers found it can be a great help for both hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
But before you go chugging beer to limit your hot flashes, know that alcohol is not as friendly to hormone issues. Stick with the supplement form on this one.
13. St. Johns Wort
St. John’s Wort is a fairly common herbal treatment for symptoms of depression. Coming from a plant with yellow flowers, the extract has been shown to treat minor bouts of depression (anybody with serious major depressive disorder should seek other medical care.)
But it is also effective in treating hot flashes.
One study looked at 100 women who took St. John’s Wort extract for 8 weeks (compared to a placebo group). Though some weeks showed more effectiveness than others (which just shows you should take it for awhile to see the full range of benefits), the overall results were that St. John’s Wort could be an effective treatment for hot flashes.
14. Chasteberry Tree
The chasteberry tree is actually a shrub and its medicinal uses are powerful for women of all ages.
Chasteberry tree extract, also commonly known as Vitex, is one of those Holy Grail items for women’s hormones and reproductive health.
It is just as powerful for balancing hormones, relieving PMS symptoms, and improving fertility in younger women as it is for easing menopausal symptoms in older women.
It’s an herb that most menopausal women take to help relieve countless symptoms safely. But there have been studies that show its effectiveness in hot flash treatment specifically.
15. Pueraria Mirifica
This is one herbal treatment you’ve probably never heard of before – but if you’re concerned about hot flashes – it’s definitely one to pay attention to.
Pueraria Mirifica is a plant found in Thailand and Myanmar, and it is a strong phytoestrogen.
And as we have already seen time and time again, these phytoestrogens help bring balance to a menopausal woman’s hormones without the use of synthetic prescription hormone replacement therapies.
Researchers who have evaluated this supplement concluded that it “demonstrates great promise in the treatment of climacteric symptoms among perimenopausal women.”
The easiest way to take this is through a supplement.
16. Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is a general tonic for reproductive health in women. It also has a cooling effect of the skin and can help women cope with their hot flashes.
In addition, some studies also show that it may regulate estrogen levels and also work like a sleep aid due to its high levels of gamma linoleic acid.
Drinking a few cups of sage tea daily, which can be found in your local grocery store or an online health food store, can help provide relief from hot flashes.
A 2010 Swiss research studied the effects of a once a day sage with 71 women in their premenopausal stage.
Results showed that the number of hot flashes went down by half in just 4 weeks and by 64 percent in 8 weeks.
Premenopausal women who had severe hot flashes noticed even greater benefits.
About 79 percent of the women with severe hot flashes and 100 percent with very severe hot flashes noticed improvements while taking sage.
To brew your own sage tea, simply add 1 tablespoon of fresh sage or a heaping teaspoon of dried sage to one hot of boiling water.
Let the leaves steep for about 5 minutes, strain, and enjoy. You can have this tea hot or cold. Stay away from sugar and add flavor with lemon, honey, stevia, or agave nectar.
Drinking sage tea every day has also shown to be effective in improving digestion and reducing headaches.
18. Vitamin B
Also known as anthothenic acid, vitamin B5 is a potent vitamin that plays a major role in maintaining adrenal gland function, which helps in regulating and synthesizing hormones.
As mentioned above, regulating a woman’s hormone levels, especially estrogen and progesterone, may reduce her likelihood of experiencing hot flashes during her menopausal stage.
Another B complex vitamin, Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), promotes the circulation of estrogen and modifies the metabolism of this hormone. Some excellent sources of PABA include rice bran, wheat germ, and milk.
Vitamin B5 can be found in poultry, fish, cheese, milk, eggs, legumes, whole grains and whole grain cereals, nuts, avocados, and bananas.
19. Vitamin E
Some studies show that vitamin E may actually act as a substitute for estrogen in the body, thereby reducing the number and severity of hot flashes.
A study conducted at the Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran, Iran, showed that vitamin E could be recommended as an alternative treatment for hot flashes among menopausal women. Not only does vitamin E reduce hot flashes by protecting cells from oxidative stress, it also replenishes electrolytes lost via perspiration during hot flashes.
The recommended amount of vitamin E is 400 IU twice a day – i.e. a total of 800 IU daily. Make sure you consult a physician before taking vitamin E supplements as an overdose may become toxic.
Ideally, you should consider choosing natural and wholesome sources of vitamin E and including them as much as you can in your diet. Some great choices include nuts such as almonds and walnuts, peanuts, whole grain cereals and other whole grain products, safflower oil, wheat germ oil and wheat germ.
20. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that’s also a potent antioxidant, which helps in reducing hot flashes and inflammation. This nutrient essential for optimum immune system health and the proper functioning of the adrenal glands – a vital source of post-menopausal hormones.
Balancing the hormone production in the body will also help regulate the number of hot flashes menopausal women experience. Some exceptional sources of vitamin C include limes and lemons, oranges, grapefruit, guava, berries, strawberries, bananas, kiwi, papaya, cantaloupe, watermelon, cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, spinach, kale and other green leafy vegetables.
21. Homeopathic remedies
Some homeopathic treatment options that may help reduce hot flashes include:
- Ferrum phosphoricum – helps by reducing stress
- Sanguinarina – offsets hot flashes on the face, ears, and neck
- Belladonna – excellent for reducing rapid hot flashes
- Kali Phosphoricum
Lifestyle Changes In Menopause
Finally, let’s finish up with some lifestyle choices you can be making to help with your hot flashes. Finding relief really can be as simple as finding ways to stay cool and even changing your perspective.
22. Manage your body temperature
According to the Mayo Clinic, an increase in the body’s core temperature can lead to hot flashes. Therefore, women, especially in their premenopausal and menopausal stage should pay extra attention to how they dress and the temperature of the environment they are in.
Wearing lightweight, loose clothing made of natural fibers such as cotton and keeping the room cool by opening the window or having a fan or air conditioner running are great ways to keep yourself cool. Something as simple as drinking cold water during a hot flash may aid in reducing the body’s core temperature.
23. Practice paced breathing
Also known as diaphragmatic breathing, paced breathing involves taking deep and slow breaths through your nose for at least 5 seconds and then slowly breathing out through your mouth for another 5 seconds. To check whether you’re doing this right, simply look to see if your abdomen rises with each breath you take in – you should feel your lungs inflate. You’ll notice that this feels quite different from your normal shallow, tight breathing.
Practicing paced breathing every day helps calm the sympathetic nervous system and also improves circulation in the body.
In one study with 33 female participants suffering from frequent hot flashes, the effects of paced breathing, biofeedback, and muscle relaxation in improving hot flashes were studied within eight sessions. Results showed that women who were in the paced breathing training showed half as many hot flashes as those in the biofeedback group. They also developed a habit of breathing slowly.
The women in this study spent 15 minutes a day to practice paced breathing. We understand that giving it 15 whole minutes may sound difficult, but giving your body and mind this time to relax and feel better is so valuable to the rest of the day.
Some great times to practice paced breathing are during TV commercials, when you’re stuck in traffic and while checking your email.
24. Go to yoga
You don’t need to be able to bend yourself into a human pretzel to cool yourself down. A pose as simple yet rejuvenating as the child’s pose can help bring your body temperature down and make you feel cool again.
A small study with 14 premenopausal participants who experienced four or more moderate to severe hot flashes every day examined the effects of yoga. Apparently yoga calmed these women and reduced their stress levels, but it gets even better…
The weekly 90-minute restorative yoga class which was held for 8 weeks actually led to one third of a drop in the frequency and severity of their hot flashes.
The classes only included eight restorative yoga poses, which means anybody could do it. You don’t need to be an expert in yoga to reap its benefits. The simplest and easiest poses if done properly can make a huge difference to your mood and body.
Try following the sequence in this video and do it every day to restore your energy levels, calm your soul and cool your body down:
Researchers believe that one of the key reasons for yoga’s efficacy in treating menopausal symptoms is the sense of control you achieve which can be brought to hot flashes too. The deep relaxation engages your parasympathetic nervous system (the part which controls unconscious responses like sweating) and allows the body to control the effects of hot flashes too.
25. Try acupuncture
I know needles aren’t fun, but acupuncture may actually help improve hot flashes.
How it works is still not entirely understood, but some evidence does indicate that it may be due to its effects on the sympathetic nervous system and also the release of hormones such as the stress hormone cortisol and the feel good hormones, serotonin and endorphins.
A randomized control trial published in the May-June 2009 issue of the journal Menopause, with 267 women, found that participants who had ten acupuncture treatments over a course of 12 weeks had fewer hot flashes than those who were given a placebo treatment. The women also reported that they had less pain and slept much better than they used to. Research shows that acupuncture is a great way to relieve stress and reduce hot flashes during menopause.
As with many other treatment methods, acupuncture also takes time to work and you may need several sessions to see results. Make sure you see a qualified acupuncturist for the procedure.
26. Be positive
Hitting menopause is a stressful time for many women even before you throw in the hot flashes and other symptoms. It’s retirement age, your kids are having young adult experiences, and your parents are aging.
Then throw in weight gain, sweating, and low libido… and it can be all too much to handle.
And when it comes to hot flashes, it can take hours to return to your normal, practical-thinking, calm self after the first tingle of your menopause hot flash.
During a hot flash, do everything you can to remain positive. Remind yourself that this particular hot flash will pass – and even the pattern of hot flashes will eventually pass too. Because stressing yourself out and thinking negatively about the situation can actually exacerbate the intensity of your hot flash and make it more troublesome.
Don’t forget to think ahead. Pack a hot flash kit with a fresh shirt, moist toilets, and even a nice lotion. By simply prepping for a hot flash, you can go into your day with a positive, confident mindset.
If you are simply frustrated and all that positive thinking gets thrown out the window at least hold on to these true facts:
- You’d pay a bunch of money to go to a sauna and experience the detoxing effects of a good sweat; this one’s entirely free!
- You don’t have to deal with PMS and cramps for the rest of your life. That’s good news.
If you find yourself entirely bogged down by stress, anxiety, or depression (or a swinging mix of all the above), thinking about talking to a professional. They will be able to help you navigate the frustrating life events and body changes that can pop up around this time.
That way these menopausal years don’t have to be terrible – they can actually be an empowering stage of life.