St. John’s Wort, the Soothing Hot Flash Remedy for Your Menopause Health
Every woman goes through menopause; it’s a done deal. And every woman is going to deal with negative symptoms associated with that part of that. That’s a done deal too.
But how much you suffer from it is not a done deal. One of the ways to make it better is finding medicinal help to make these symptoms less bothersome for the years to come.
There are lots of synthetic choices out there – like hormone replacement therapies – but these often come with a long list of side effects like nausea and vaginal bleeding. Some are even quite serious: heart disease and stroke.
But fortunately for us, the natural world has given us some real help when it comes to ensuring that those negative symptoms do not become overbearing.
One of which is St. John’s wort, a supplement you’re probably already familiar with.
I’m about to show you how this herb can help you with menopausal depression/mood swings – but what I’m really here to focus on is the way it can help you with your hot flashes, one of the most common symptoms menopausal women are dealing with.
The sweat, feeling overheated – it’s not pleasant. Clothes are dampened, hairstyles are ruined, and you’re just entirely uncomfortable.
Let’s see how St. John’s wort can come in and save the day….
What Is St. John’s Wort?
St. John’s wort is actually a lovely little yellow flowering plant that has been used in herbal medicine for countless years. It grows all over the world – from North and South America to Europe – and even Asia.
Its wide variety of uses has made it one of the more popular herbal remedies – with good reason. Uses vary from easing PMS, ADHD, and OCD to improving sleeping, heart palpitations, and fibromyalgia. It has even been used to help people quit smoking.
But the #1 use for St. John’s wort has been easing depression. How does a plant do that?
Well, St. John’s wort has multiple chemicals that can actually act with the chemical messengers in your nervous system. These messengers specifically control your moods.
St. John’s Wort & Menopausal Depression
Before we jump into saving you from hot flashes, let’s not forget how the primary use St. John’s wort can help you with menopausal symptoms too.
When women go through menopause, their hormones are changing dramatically. This leads to mood changes. For some, it feels like anxiety. For others, depression. For others, rapid mood swings. So the traditional antidepressant use is actually extremely helpful for menopausal women.
And science shows this herb is genuinely effective. Look at this:
A group of studies looked at St. John’s wort as an antidepressant. With 29 trials consisting of a 5,490 (some of which had major depression) total, St. John’s wort was compared to both a placebo and standard synthetic antidepressants. These were the conclusions:
- St. John’s wort was more effective than the placebo
- St. John’s wort was just as effective as the standard antidepressants
- St. John’s wort just fewer side effects than the standard antidepressants
Worst case scenario: it will help a bit more than doing nothing. Best case scenario: it will be just as helpful as a prescription, but you don’t have to worry about all the terrible side effects.
Also since feelings of depression can lower libido, St. John’s wort might also help in that department too. Many women deal with a plummeting libido during menopause. Some of that has to do with physical changes like vaginal dryness, but mood/stress/depression definitely plays a role too.
St. John’s Wort For Hot Flashes
Now we get to the interesting way St. John’s wort can be a great friend to women in menopause: hot flash relief.
Hot flashes come from the inside. You could be in a cold room and still experience the sudden, intense warmth.
So while there are lots of external things you can do to help (like: wear loose clothing and bring a change of clothes to work, install a fan by your desk or your bed, or have moist towelettes to wipe you off), the only real relief will come internally.
Like taking St. John’s wort and other natural supplements to help prevent them
Sound too good to be true? Look how this herbal remedy faired in these two studies:
St. John’s Wort Study #1
One study looked at 111 women between the ages of 43 and 65. Each of them had symptoms you would normally attribute to menopause.
They were each given St. John’s Wort three times a day. The researchers then recorded their symptoms at 5 weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks. Here’s what they discovered:
- There were “substantial improvements” in both psychological and psychosomatic symptoms
- 79.2% of the women’s complains about menopausal symptoms either lessened or completely disappeared
- Sex was also improved after taking this herb
St. John’s Wort Study #2
A more recent study looked at 100 women around the age of 50 with hot flashes. They were either given a St. John’s wort supplement or a placebo for 8 weeks.
Most women started out with around 4 hot flashes per day. By the end of the study, the average had dropped down to fewer than 2 per day.
The researchers found the St. John’s wort to be “an effective treatment for the vasomotor symptoms of perimenopausal or postmenopausal women.” AKA: hot flashes.
This is significant. Though it is not going to completely rid you of that sudden flush and sweat, half of your daily hot flashes could potentially vanish through the all-natural use of St. John’s wort.
So Why Does St. John’s Wort Help Hot Flashes?
We already learned how this herb can soothe depression through a few of its chemical compounds, but what’s relieving the hot flashes?
St. John’s wort contains phytoestrogens. These are substances that are not estrogen exactly, but act just like the hormone.
When you are going through menopause a lot of your reproductive hormones – including estrogen – start dropping. This is why you feel so terrible.
Instead of replacing that lost estrogen with hormonal replacement therapy (and all those side effects), you can add these phytoestrogens to your diet and supplementation to naturally give you relief.
That’s exactly what researchers believe St. John’s wort is doing here for women dealing with hot flashes.
Other types of phytoestrogens include:
- Soy and soy products (like soy milk)
- Red clover
What To Know Before Taking St. John’s Wort
There is really no doubt that St. John’s wort is an extremely effective natural remedy. But there is one downside: it can interact with quite a few medications. If you are on any sort of medication – especially all those I mention below – you absolutely must consult with your doctor first.
- If you are currently on a prescription antidepressant or an antianxiety medication, do not take St. John’s wort without the approval from your doctor. Combining the two can be extremely dangerous.
- Birth control pills can actually interact with St. John’s wort due to their high estrogen content, so talk to your gynecologist before taking this herb
- Other possible interactions include: Coumadin, barbiturates, photosensitizing drugs, narcotics, and HIV/AIDS medications
For a complete list of possible interactions, visit WebMD.
There are a few other groups of people who may be unable to use St. John’s wort.
- Don’t take St. John’s wort of you are pregnant or breast feeding
- Anybody with Alzheimer’s disease should not be taking this supplement either
- Those with bipolar or schizophrenia should not use St. John’s wort
- If you are currently trying to conceive, stop using the pill until you have delivered
- If you are supposed to have any surgery any time soon, you must make sure your surgical team is aware of your St. John’s wort usage; they will likely ask you to stop taking it
St. John’s Wort And Your Menopausal Symptoms
As long as you do not have any potential drug interactions and you have received the okay from your doctor, you can start benefiting from the potent power of St. John’s wort to help you through your negative menopause symptoms.
There are actually many other all-natural supplements that can aid hot flashes including black cohosh, ashwagandha, and chaste berry tree (also called vitex). Eu Natural’s Staying Cool Hot Flashes & Menopause Relief pill conveniently combines St. John’s wort with these other helpful supplements.
Take control of your menopausal symptoms so they don’t take control of your life for the next few years and give these herbs a try.
Read Next: Tight Clothing to Avoid During Menopause