Anxiety, Irritability, Insomnia - Alternative remedies
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Remedies for Menopausal Symptoms

The Menopause Self Help Book by Susan M. Lark, M.D.,
The Wild Rose Scientific Herbal by Terry Willard, Ph.D.,
Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way by Susun S. Weed
are drawn heavily upon for this segment. All references are provided here.

 ANXIETY, IRRITABILITY & INSOMNIA

Raging and weeping are typical PMS and menopause symptoms. Take time for yourself when you find yourself weeping, yelling, raging, and depressed–out of control. Create your own special place where you can be alone, without responsibilities. Begin a journal and note your feelings. Get a massage, take a cup of garden sage tea with honey, use liferoot, black cohosh, dong quai, motherwort, or valerian which can all help you through this volatile time. It is advisable to avoid tranquilizers, antidepressants, alcohol, cocaine, and opium as these drugs may lead to dependence.31

Motherwort contains alkaloids, tannins and saponins that act as antispasmodic and nervine, calming the heart and nerves without sedating. It may be taken in large doses and tones the uterus by strengthening uterine muscles, resulting in fewer menstrual cramps. It is also of value for delayed menstruation, treating bladder cramps, albumin in the urine and eliminating unwanted catarrh.33

Passionflower is known to display sedative and analgesic properties, having a calming and restful effect on the central nervous system (CNS). Modern research indicates that passionflower’s longstanding reputation as a non-addictive sedative and tranquilizer has some merit, although chemicals that stimulate the CNS have also been found in the plant. Some studies have shown that passionflower increases the rate of respiration and causes a temporary drop in blood pressure. German health authorities endorse the use of passionflower for nervous unrest, but other sources say that the sedating and tranquilizing effects have yet to be proven in well-designed human studies.23

The herb’s harmala alkaloids appear to relax certain smooth muscles such as the lining of the digestive tract and uterus. It may be a soothing agent for menstrual discomfort. In addition, it has been used by Native Americans as poultices for cuts and bruises, and in recent research has been found to be antibacterial and antifungal.23

Valerian root also affects the central nervous system, and has been used in Europe extensively as a sedative and calmative. Clinical trials have confirmed that it is an effective treatment for insomnia, improving both the quality of sleep and shortening the time it takes to fall asleep.23

Chamomile (German chamomile) is commonly and successfully used for anxiety and insomnia, in addition to easing indigestion and gastrointestinal inflammations. It may be used in any combination; however, if you are allergic to other members of the aster family such as ragweed, carefully avoid chamomile.23

Hops acts as a central nervous system depressant and sedative. The principle ingredient is lupulin, which is sedative in small doses, hypnotic in large doses, and paralyzing in overdoses.34 It helps relieve water retention and induce peaceful sleep. Some scientists have reported detecting a significant level of estrogenic activity in one part of the hops plant; however, other experts disagree. No well-designed clinical trials have been carried out to determine the potential impact of hops on women’s menstrual periods, men’s sexual arousal, or any other related condition.23

Catnip is a powerful diaphoretic, can be used in any feverish condition, and has a sedative action on the nerves. Though lacking detailed chemical research, catnip works both as a mild CNS (central nervous system) stimulant and relaxant in clinical settings. It is presumed that the effect is due to the nepetelactone, which has a similar chemical structure to valepotriates (the sedative principle of valerian). As a carminative with antispasmodic properties, catnip eases stomach upsets, dyspepsia, flatulence and colic.34

Peppermint, a carminative herb, has a relaxing effect on the visceral muscles as well as stimulating bile and digestive secretions, thus improving digestion. Where migraine headaches are associated with digestive upset, peppermint may be used. As a nervine it eases anxiety and tension. In painful periods it relieves the pain and eases tension. It has been proven to have antimicrobial as well as antiviral properties against Newcastle disease, Herpes simplex, vaccinia, Semliki culture, fungi and others.34, 13

(More information under Emotional Uproar and Sleep Disturbances)

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Researched and written by Joan McPhee, MH, WT, 2000

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Updated 04/01/2012