It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.
– Gabriel García Márquez
Menopause: An Overview
The climacteric time of menopause starts around the age of 50. Menopause is a completely natural and necessary process that brings profound psychological and physiological changes. This menopausal stage begins when the reproductive cycle comes to an end. This indispensable pause brings with it the yearning for a new identity. Motherhood ends, children leave, age is accelerated and the final, third stage of life begins.
The varying signs of Menopause may include: loss of vitality, dryness, reduced elasticity and skin luster, rigidity of joints, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, weight gain, hot flashes, and many other symptoms.
Various books exist on the topic:
- Ayurveda: A Way of Life by Dr. Vinod Verma.
- Ayurveda for Inner Harmony by Dr. Vinod Verma and Prakruti.
- Your Ayurvedic Constitution by Robert Svoboda.
Using Ayurveda to Understand Menopause
Ayurveda, an ancient and wise Indian health system can help us understand our mind-body tendencies (constitution). Once we understand our individual physical and emotional predispositions, we will be able to follow some basic universal rules that can bring great ease, understanding, and meaning in this particular period of life.
13 Ayurveda Remedies for Menopause Symptoms
The following are some of the most common remedies suggested by Ayurveda:
- Massage skin with organic cold pressed oils (coconut oil is best in this period of life). If you have a Vata constitution, sesame oil is recommended.
- Drink plenty of water (never from plastic bottles as BPA has a harmful effect on female hormones).
- Take Omega-3 fatty acids in high doses.
- Consume high-quality fats: organic butter, ghee, olive oil, flax seed oil, grape seed oil.
- Take a vitamin D supplement.
- Limit caffeine, wheat, sugar and alcohol! Refined sugar dramatically increases hot flashes and discomfort. Consume natural sugars that are found in fruits instead.
- Increase your intake of nuts and seeds, especially almonds, pumpkin, sunflower, (never peanuts).
- Increase your intake of avocado, fish, and a colorful variety of vegetables.
- Take two tablespoons of lightly roasted sesame oil which provides a good source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant.
- Increase your consumption of foods rich in tryptophan: organic cottage cheese, oats, legumes, and fish; this may help you have a good night sleep.
- Consume foods high in magnesium: pears, grapes, dates, legumes, and nuts.
- Increase your intake of foods rich in phytoestrogens: alfalfa, linseeds (flaxseeds), organic miso and tempeh, celery, green beans. Avoid soy milk and soy powders.
- Increase your consumption of whole grains: quinoa, brown rice, and oats.
Herbs to Ease Menopause Symptoms
In addition to the above-noted techniques, herbs can also aid in symptom relief.
An old safe adaptogenic Peruvian plant tones the endocrine glands. Maca is a very nutritious bulb that seems to nourish and rejuvenate the whole glandular system; not only that, but the root has a strong affinity for the nervous system, helping with memory, depression and anxiety, three of the main symptoms of menopause and aging. Maca extract can also be taken before menopause sets in; this will help make the transition easier.
This Native American plant that acts as an effective remedy for menopause symptoms. Several studies have reported black cohosh reduces symptoms associated with this stage of a woman’s life. Some women respond very quickly to it as it rapidly reducing symptoms like vaginal dryness, palpitation, and hot flashes. Other women need higher doses and it takes a bit more time to see results. The mechanism of action is still unclear, although research suggests that it has no direct relation to the estrogen receptors (however, this issue is still open). Black Cohosh in combination with St. John’s Wort can broaden the therapeutic effect to relieve lower back pain, mood swings, and depression.
Like Maca, Ashwagandha has many properties that can provide relieve from a variety of symptoms. Ashwagandha can help control the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that creates tension, weakness, immune suppression and insomnia all of which dramatically accelerates the aging process.
Ashwagandha acts to balance hormones. Female hormones benefit from this root, but male hormones can also be affected, especially testosterone. When balanced, the body has more energy and the libido improves.
In addition, Ashwagandha acts on the nervous system. Recent research demonstrates that Ashwagandha helps memory by reducing oxidative stress in the nervous system.
Synthetic modern medicine simply cannot offer what adaptogens provide.
Have you used any of these practices? We would love to hear what works for you!