Hot flashes are a common and troublesome symptom of menopause. Hot flashes at nighttime are called night sweats. Though the cause of hot flashes or night sweats is not exactly known, hormonal changes are the likely culprit. Whatever the cause, they are certainly uncomfortable! The most common treatment is estrogen replacement therapy, which might or might not work. An alternative treatment is the use of herbs for hot flashes.
Symptoms of Hot Flashes
- Reddening of the skin
- A sudden overwhelming feeling of heat, lasting from a few seconds up to 15 minutes
Triggers of Hot Flashes
There are many things that can trigger, or bring on, a hot flash. These include:
- Spicy foods
- Hot beverages
- Saturated fats
- Hot weather
- White sugar
- Foods with high acid content
- Vigorous exercise
Herbs for Hot Flashes
Herbal remedies for hot flashes include:
- Black Cohosh- Black cohosh is an effective treatment for hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Black cohosh is a member of the buttercup family. The stems and roots are used to make capsules, liquid extracts, and teas. Dosage of liquid extract is 10-15 drops one to two times daily.
Note:Women with liver disorders should not use black cohosh. Although rare, there have been some cases of hepatitis, and liver failure in women taking black cohosh. These cases are rare, and whether or not black cohosh is to blame is yet to be determined. Side effects generally include stomach upset, headache or a mild rash.In a clinical study, most women using black cohosh to treat hot flashes had no serious side effects. If you are taking medication, discuss the use of black cohosh with your doctor, as it may interact with medication.
- Flaxseed- Flaxseed is the seed of the flax plant, which grows in Canada and the northwestern United States. A dosage of 40 grams daily is recommended for treatment of hot flashes.
Side effects of flaxseed use are rare; however, flaxseed can interact with certain drugs, so check with your doctor if you are taking any medications.
- Soy- Soy is plant in the pea family. Soybeans contain isoflavones, which are similar to the hormone estrogen. Some studies have suggested soy supplements have been effective at reducing hot flashes.
Soy is available in 50 mg. capsules and can be taken two to four times daily. Soy is considered safe for most people; however, some people do experience allergic reactions.
- Red Clover- Like soy, red clover contains isoflavones, an estrogen-like chemical that often helps to relieve hot flashes. A study conducted at the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, found a daily dose of 40 mg. of red clover, in tincture or capsule form, greatly reduced the frequency of hot flashes.
Red clover also helps replenish Vitamin B, Vitamin C, magnesium and potassium levels, which are depleted by hot flashes. Red clover has been found to be safe in most adults when taken at the recommended dosage for short periods of time.
- Dong quai- Dong quai is thought to relieve hot flashes by dilating blood vessels and improving circulation, and helping to control body temperature.
Dong quai is available in capsule form, and recommended dosage is 400 mg., increasing up to 600 mg. if needed, per day.Dong quai may cause increased sensitivity to sunlight.Also, dong quai can slow blood clotting. Stop taking dong quai 2 weeks before surgery or dental work.
Do not take dong quai with anticoagulant medication, aspirin, antiplatelet drugs, ibuprofen, warfarin and other similar type drugs. If unsure, ask your doctor.
- Chasteberry- Chasteberry is the fruit of the chaste tree, and helps to regulate pituitary function, thereby reducing hot flashes. This herb is slow to take effect; results become evident after 2 or three months of daily use, and permanent results can take 1 year.
Chasteberry is available in liquid extract, tablets and capsules.Chasteberry has not been associated with any serious side effects. Mild side effects include stomach problems, rashes and dizziness. People who take dopamine-related medicine, such as medicines for Parkinson’s or antipsychotic drugs should not use chasteberry.
- Motherwort- Motherwort lessens the severity and frequency of hot flashes or night sweats. Recommended dosage is 15-25 drops of tincture, 1 to 6 times daily, for at least 3 months.
Tip: Keep motherwort beside your bed and if you are awakened with night sweats, take 10 to 15 drops with a drink of water.Motherwort is safe for most people. Side effects can include sleepiness, diarrhea, stomach irritation, and allergic reactions.Those with heart conditions should not take motherwort.
Motherwort can slow the central nervous system, so stop taking motherwort at least 2 weeks before any scheduled surgery. Motherwort should not be taken with sedatives.
- Licorice Root- Licorice root contains a compound called chycyrrhzin, which has a regulatory action of estrogen metabolism. The maximum dosage is 100 mg. daily.However, it should only be used short-term (4-6 weeks), unless otherwise advised by a doctor.
In large doses, licorice root can cause high blood pressure, water retention and potassium depletion; therefore, it’s not recommended for individuals with heart or blood pressure problems. Taking licorice root with diuretics can deplete potassium to dangerously low levels.
These herbs for hot flashes have been found to be very effective. Remember to follow recommended dosages, and take the herb for at least a few weeks (longer for some herbs) to notice an improvement in your symptoms.
If you don’t get results with one herb, try another herbal remedy. Talk with your doctor before combining several herbal remedies.
Have you tried any herbs for hot flashes? Did they work? Let us know below
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