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Herbs & Homeopathic Remedies May Alleviate Menopausal Symptoms

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/22/2006 | Alternative Medicine
Does hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for your menopause make your blood run cold? Many women are faced with the potential risks associated with HRT. First, lets take a quick look at the three stages of menopause.

Menopause begins in your early 40s as your ovaries gradually produce less and less of the hormone estrogen. Your periods become erratic sometimes skipping a month or alternating between light and heavy.

The next period of time is the transitioning to actual menopause. During this time you may continue to have erratic periods and the fun stuff begins to settle in for a long visit. Yes, fun stuff like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings and insomnia are some of the symptoms.

The final and actual onset of menopause usually occurs in your early 50s and is represented by the absence of your period for a full 12 months. Its those in between years that can wreak havoc in your life.

Are there natural alternatives for chemical HRT? The good news is yes! Its a sad fact that less than two percent of doctors even mention alternative therapies and that most of them feel there is no benefit. Thousands of women would disagree. Here are just a few of the many natural alternatives:

Try adjusting your diet to include vegetables and fish that are high in Omega-3 as they contain nutrients that can help your body deal with menopause naturally. Conversely, there are foods that can make your menopausal symptoms worse. Caffeine, sugar, fatty dairy products, salt, alcohol and saturated oils can aggravate the symptoms.

Be sure and take a daily multivitamin making certain that the vitamin contains 100% of the daily allowance for nutrients. Just be aware that vitamins are no substitute for following a healthy diet.

If menopause causes mood swings, it only makes sense that its possible to experience extreme responses for stress. Try using deep breathing techniques, meditation or some other methods of relaxation that works for you and practice the technique for 10 to 20 minutes per day. You will be left feeling calmer, more able to cope and more in control.

Exercising regularly can also help alleviate menopausal symptoms. Scheduling at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week will relieve hot flashes. You will be able to think more clearly and reduce your risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

Some women have found relief through yoga and acupressure. Both are mainstays of practitioners of eastern medicine.

Last, but not least, we come to herbal treatments. Beans and certain other plants have a mild estrogenic activity in their makeup thanks to "phytoestrogens." These are compounds that include isoflavins, lignans, phytoseterols and saponins. In additional to helping your body through menopause, animal experiments show they are significantly effective in preventing tumors of the breast tissue.

Without sending you off for a medical dictionary to understand the compounds listed above, here are some of the foods and herbs that contain healthy compounds: Soy, black cohosh, licorice, alfalfa, chasteberry, Chinese angelica, red clover, strawberry, celery stalks, dates, elder, false unicorn root, fennel, Honduran sarsaparilla, ladys slipper, liferoot, Mexican wild yams, passion flower, pomegranates and sassafras.

The foods, of course, are available from your local grocery. Visit your local health food store where you should be able to find the herbs and methods to include them in your daily diet.