Throughout a woman’s life there are some pretty significant hormonal changes! There’s puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause. Some people seem to be able to breeze through the changes with ease, whilst others struggle. Hormonal imbalances and conditions that are caused by these changes have always existed, however they are becoming more and more common. This can be contributed to the modern way of life. Increased stress, higher use of screens and the impact this has with our cortisol levels, plus environmental conditions and the way we eat can all wreak havoc on our delicate hormones.
Mid-Life Hormonal Changes
Between 45 and 55 is when women can start to notice some changes. This is due to perimenopause, where we start to see a decline in the regularity of ovulation and fluctuations of our hormones. When hormonal levels drop in perimenopause some women suffer from worry, have difficulty sleeping, and mood imbalances that they may have never experienced before.
The main function of the adrenal glands is to respond to stress, but after menopause they take over the production of hormones. Women who suffer from high stress may find that in perimenopause their symptoms become worse – this is due to the increased demands that are placed on their hormone-producing capability in the lead up to this time.
Plant Extracts for Hormone Support
Extracts from traditional medicinal plants and in particular adrenal and nervine plants, can help with this transitional period. Specifically, working on the worry and lack of sleep that comes along with hormonal changes:
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), supports resistance to stress and is useful in times of increased demand and the perimenopausal time.. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin which is structurally similar to our stress hormones produced by the adrenal glands. It supports a healthy stress response and can also support adrenal exhaustion that can interfere with normal sleep.
- John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) naturally supports balanced mood and serotonin production. It calms the brain, lessens worry and supports sleep. In addition, it has been shown to support the body’s temperature balance, which can fluctuate during peri-menopause.
- Sage (Salvia officinalis) also deserves special mention, since it is the most important herb to support normal sweating and temperature balance in perimenopausal women.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle During Menopause
To support and smooth the menopausal transition, implement a wholefood diet with minimal processed foods, and try to minimise alcohol and caffeine. Caffeine doesn’t help if people struggle with worry as it activates the fight or flight response and can often worsen symptoms.
Liver support is vital! The liver detoxifies everything; food, alcohol, caffeine – including built up hormones. With hormonal imbalances it is important to support this process. An easy way to do this is to start your day with bitter herbs, such as St Mary’s Thistle and Globe Artichoke.
A moderate exercise regime, stress management strategies such as meditation, mindfulness and sufficient rest and sleep are also crucial. Remembering to practice self-care and kindness through this tough time is important also.
Artemis Cool and Calm Tea is traditional plant medicine to support women through menopause. The formula’s powerful properties help manage irritability, support temperature balance and a good night’s sleep. Support your hormonal balance with Artemis Cool and Calm Tea.
Author: Skye Macfarlane
Skye is a Medical Herbalist and Naturopath, holding a Bachelor in Natural Medicine from the South Pacific College of Medicine.