Herbal Medicine For Perimenopause – What You Need To Know
Herbal medicine is as old as the hills. It’s the medicine that humankind has depended on since the dawn of time, and none of us would be here without it! But what can it do to help us through perimenopause? Having supported hundreds of perimenopausal women through peri with herbal medicine, I can promise you it’s incredible, but there are few things you need to know about it.
Herbal Medicine Is Different To Pharmaceuticals
Although many pharmaceuticals, including some forms of HRT are made from herbs, we get a very different effect with each form of medicine. Those pharmaceuticals which are derived from plants often just contain what’s considered to be the main active constituent, either in its natural form, or a synthetic version. These drugs are powerful and sometimes lifesaving, but the downside is that they can have quite a harsh effect on the body, forcing it into a state it doesn’t necessarily want to be in. Over time, we can experience unpleasant side effects, so there’s always a judgement call to be made between risk and benefit when we’re considering using them.
Herbal medicine on the other hand is different. Of course, it’snot capable of the heroics that some of our live saving drugs can perform, but it’s incredibly effective for the chronic conditions that many of us will encounter at some point. And personally, I believe it’s made for perimenopause. I think of herbs as being intelligent medicines, working in synergy with each other, and our body’s own intelligence to nudge it back towards good health. As you know, our body’s processes can have a huge wobble as we adjust to new ways of making new forms of hormones during perimenopause. Herbal medicine can support us physically and emotionally as we readjust, making the whole process work much more smoothly.
Not All Herbs Are Safe And Suitable For Everyone
Despite them being gentle, we still need to take care when we’re choosing which herbs to use. Some can increase blood pressure, tip our hormone balance the wrong way, or interact with other forms of medication. That’s why it’s good to get some specialist help if you can when you’re wanting to use herbal medicines.
There Are Two Ways You Can Use Herbs
Firstly, you can go online, or to your local high street, and buy a remedy. This may look like the cheap option, and if you’relucky, you’ll pick a suitable remedy first time. But if you’re not, you could end up wasting hundreds or thousands of pounds on preparations which may not work, and might even be unsuitable for you.
The other way is to see a Medical Herbalist who is trained to assess your needs properly, and put together a medicine especially for you. I have around 100 herbs in my dispensary, and I’d typically blend together 6-7 in each bottle of medicine. Each prescription is put together according to what my patient needs at the time, and if they have lots of different symptoms, they prioritise which ones they’d like to work on first. Herbal treatment is completely personalised, the patient is always in charge, and all the herbs are safety checked before use.
As well as prescribing your herbal medicines, Medical Herbalists will be able to see any early warning signs of potentially serious health problems. Symptoms like heavy bleeding are often down to the hormone changes we see during perimenopause, but they can be mistaken for other causes, and occasionally missed by busy Doctors. If I notice anything untoward during a first appointment, I often write to my patient’s GP with their permission to ask for further tests or referrals. Very occasionally this can turn out to be lifesaving!
You Can Use Herbal And Mainstream Medicine At The Same Time
Certain herbs will be prone to interacting with certain medications, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take any herbs if you’re on other medicines. In some cases, the two will work happily together, or help you cope with any side effects youmight be experiencing. Some of my patients use herbs to help them come safely off antidepressants, HRT, or pain medication.
Herbal Treatment Isn’t Usually For Life
The idea with herbal medicine is that it’s taken for as long as it takes for the body to function normally. Where perimenopause is concerned, that can be anything from a few weeks to a few years, depending on lots of things. There’s no harm in taking herbs long term, but I don’t advocate taking them if you don’t need to either.
Herbs Work Best Alongside Good Self Help Measures
We all live busy lives, and it can be hard to give ourselves everything we need to stay healthy. An overstressed, overtired, undernourished woman will very often find menopause difficult, because we need good vitality before those processes can run smoothly. Herbs can nudge and tweak the way our bodies work, but they’ll work far better if we eat well, sleep well, get some daily exercise and give our body everything it needs. By the time we reach perimenopause, we’ve usually spent decades putting our family, partner, or career before our own needs. When our bodies start to complain in the form of perimenopause symptoms, it’s good to try and take extra care of ourselves as best we can. Even really small changes like choosing different snacks or bringing bedtime slightly forward can make a big difference.
Where To Get Help With Herbal Medicines
If you’re in the UK or Europe, you’re welcome to book a free call online with me at www.physichealth.uk.
If you’re in the US, you can find your local Herbalist via the American Herbalists Guild website here: https://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/
If you’re in Australia, you can find your nearest Herbalist here on the NHAA website.
I came to Herbal Medicine at the end of a two year journey with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when I was just 14. Igraduated in 1999 from Middlesex University with a Degree in Western Herbal Medicine and have been in practice ever since. I now offer bespoke herbal medicine and health coaching programmes for busy women struggling with perimenopause, and work online from my home in Shropshire. I’m also trained in Reiki and Iridology, and I’mcurrently studying Hypnotherapy for pain management and physical illness.