In some of the herbal supplements, I recommend using tinctures, which are liquid herbal extracts, because I believe they act more quickly, are more potent, and generally offer better results than capsules. If you don't like their taste, try diluting tinctures in a little fruit juice. These doses are appropriate for tinctures in 1:3, 1:4, and 1:5 concentrations.
You can find most of these herbal supplements at health food stores; increasingly, herbal supplements are sold at pharmacies and even supermarkets. Choose only single-herb products. Some formulas take time to work, so you must take them for as long as indicated to feel better. For all remedies, when a range of doses is noted, start with the smaller dose, and increase if necessary.
Hot Flashes & Nights Sweats
* 1 oz chaste tree tincture
* 1 oz motherwort tincture
* 1 oz hawthorn tincture
* 1/2 oz black cohosh tincture
* 1/2 oz sage leaf tincture
Combine tinctures in a bottle. Take 1 teaspoon in 1/4 cup hot water, three times daily. You should notice an improvement within a week or two. You can take this formula until hot flashes are no longer a problem.
* 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
* 1/2 tsp dried lemon balm
Steep for 10 minutes in a cup of water, covered; strain, and sweeten with honey to taste. Drink 1 to 3 cups daily.
If after 4 to 6 weeks, you're still having trouble finding your car keys, try this: 1/2 teaspoon each of gotu kola and ginkgo tinctures 2 or 3 times daily. These can be added to the above tea or taken in 1/4 cup hot water.
* 1 oz skullcap tincture
* 1 oz motherwort tincture
* 1/2 oz lavender tincture
* 1/2 oz passionflower tincture
Combine in a bottle, and take 1/2 teaspoon every 30 minutes for 2 hours before bed. If necessary, take two additional 1/2-teaspoon doses during the night.
Caution: This should not be taken with prescription tranquilizers.
Soy Foods for Heart Risk
Soy products, especially tofu but also tempeh, soybeans, soy milk, soy flour, and soy protein powder, are important foods for menopausal women.
That's because some studies suggest that soy can reduce some risks associated with the drop in estrogen. And in combination with a healthy, low-fat diet, whole soy foods can lower LDL cholesterol and possibly triglycerides to help protect your heart.
One-half cup tofu, or 1 cup soy milk, contains about 30 mg isoflavones, the amount that researchers estimate is in the traditional Asian diet.
Occasional heart palpitations are common for otherwise healthy, perimenopausal women.
Caution: If you notice frequent heart rate or rhythm changes or feel pain, see your doctor promptly, and do not treat yourself with herbs. If you are taking cardiac medications, consult your doctor before taking any herbal remedies, and never adjust your prescribed meds without first consulting with your doctor.