Chinese Herbs For Menopausal Symptoms
Chinese herbs are a known natural remedy for the management of menopause symptoms — especially anxiety, depression, hot flashes, insomnia and weight gain.
Tired of Being Called a ‘Tree Hugger’ Because You Use Alternative Medicine?
I wonder if all the people in China consider western medicine ‘alternative medicine.’ Maybe they call us ‘pill-poppers!’
No Longer Taboo, Chinese Medicine is Mainstream
However, you can now easily find western doctors who use alternative medicine in their practices, especially acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs. Sorry, this is no longer just for tree huggers.
Medicinal Chinese Herbs Used For Over 5000 Years
The medicinal effectiveness of Chinese herbs as a natural remedy for menopause symptoms has been historically proven. The Chinese have been developing and refining the use of medicinal herbs for longer than western medicine has existed. By these estimates, we are a little behind the Chinese – only by about 5000 years!
History of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Medicinal Herbs
Here’s an interesting history of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the development, understanding and use of medicinal herbs. We don’t want to copy all the info but you can read about it on your own.
The Art of Prescribing Herbs Takes A Lot of Training and Experience
Prescribing Chinese herbs for menopause or any other health issue is an art form. An herbalist spends years gaining education and experience to understand all the different medicinal herbs and their particular curative qualities. Many acupuncturists or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctors do their work by combining acupuncture with the use of herbs chosen for your particular and unique symptoms. It takes a Master’s Degree and extensive experience to prescribe medicinal herbs in the USA.
How To Find A Great Herbalist
Having moved across the country recently, one thing I really miss is the surplus of wonderful herbalists in California. I asked people in my new East Coast neighborhood for personal recommendations. Then I went onto Yelp to find reviews of those herbalists. Type in “best herbalist/acupuncturist in wherever you live” in Google and see who comes up. Look for the TCM practitioners with the greatest number of good reviews. Don’t trust just three reviews. Check on their education. Look at the college they attended. Was it accredited? How long have they practiced? When you go to your first appointment, notice if the place is clean. Do they prepare the tables with a clean cover after each patient? Wash their hands between appointments? Check out their bathroom…that’s sort of a dead give-a-way for high health standards.
Prescribing — The Chinese Way
After questioning you about your symptoms, perhaps looking at your tongue and your eyes, a TCM doctor will take your pulses. There are three pulse points on each wrist that illuminate the deficiencies and excessive energies in your organs and body as a whole. A diagnosis is then determined and a mixture of herbs prescribed just for you.
Drink Your Herbs As A Tea
Your TCM doctor will tell you how to prepare your herbal tea and what amount to drink. Generally, you would brew the herbs for about an hour. You may be told to strain the tea, or leave it sitting on the herbs. Sometimes your can use the same herbs to brew another batch. The best way is to brew your herbs fresh each morning and then drink it during the day as prescribed.
The Traditional Herb Brewing Pot
This is the Chinese herb brewing pot that I use and is similar to those used traditionally in China. It’s inexpensive, easy to use and, a big plus, easy to clean. Avoid any pots with small openings. The herbs really expand and are hard to dig out.
Electric Herb Cooker
This Chinese Herbal Medicine Cooker is an electric plug-in. You can travel with this herb cooker and make your tea in your hotel room or at Mom’s house. Sure she’d love the smell! She may think you brought your dirty laundry home for her to wash. An unfortunate result of cooking some of these herbs.
Or Use Dried Chinese Herbs
Chinese herbs also come in dried form. Some people dump their dosage into a glass of water or juice and drink it down and chase it with a lemon or orange wedge to kill the taste. Some people love the taste. Can’t say that I do. I just hold my nose!
Mountain Rose Herbs
Check out our favorite supplier of fresh herbs, Mountain Rose Herbs. A young, organic, and zero waste company, they have had nothing but rave reviews since their beginning. You can buy bulk herbs here which saves you a ton of money!
Vegetarian Gel Caps and Encapsulating Machine Make It Easy
Mountain Rose Herbs also sells both empty vegetarian gel caps as well as an encapsulating machine. I first measure the dosage. Then put the dosage into capsules. Then I know how many capsules I have to take/ make for the correct dosage.
Machine and Gel Cap Size Must Match
Careful! There are two sizes of capsules, 0 and 00. Make sure you purchase the encapsulating machine that matches the size of the gel cap.
Over-The-Counter Chinese Herbs Just For Menopausal Women
There are a few over-the-counter formulas that are specifically designed for menopausal women. They probably won’t be as effective as visiting an herbalist because they won’t be mixed specifically for you. At least you can get started until you find the best TCM practitioner in your town. Here are a few:
This one, Three Immortals, addresses and balances the general patterns associated with the menopausal transition. Rather then centering in on a specific symptom, these herbs treat the overall issues which create the symptoms.
Moutan bark (used to invigorate and cool the Blood in Chinese medicine) is also included in Three Immortals.
Great Yin is used to treat hot flashes in menopausal women. Personally, I would prefer some great gin, mixed with a bit of tonic, but….
Er-xian Decoction (EXD)
A study was done of all the research on this Chinese herbal blend, Er-xian Decoction. The conclusion was that, “the curing effect of EXD with all symptoms relieved was significant as compared with the control groups.” Especially for hot flashes. Yeah! Finally beat the placebo effect. You can read more here about the research.
The University of Maryland Medical Center has an overview of Don Quai that you can read here. Dong Quai (Angelica Sinensis), also known as the female ginseng, has been used in China and Japan to relieve:
- Menopausal symptoms
- Irregular periods
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure.
Take Don Quai with some diligence as it comes with many precautions. It may make you hyper-sensitive to light; it shouldn’t be taken with blood thinning medications; it shouldn’t be taken by children; and there are more. Please ask your doctor about it first. And make sure your Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor is aware of any medications or other remedies, herbs, or whatever else you are currently taking.
Here’s a good book on Chinese herbs and Western medicine: Ancient Herbs, Modern Medicine – Improving Your Health by Combining Chinese Herbal Medicine and Western Medicine by Henry Han O.M.D., Glenn Miller M.D., Nancy Deville.