Two of the most common problems women experience during menopause are hot flashes and night sweats. They’re really the same problem, since night sweats are simply hot flashes that occur at night and cause heavy perspiration.
Women with good overall health and hormonal balance have less extreme hot flashes and may experience little discomfort. Women whose bodies are more out of balance may have severe hot flashes that cause a great deal of discomfort.
Hot flashes occur via the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that sends signals to the pituitary gland to activate various hormones. The hypothalamus also regulates the body temperature.
When the hypothalamus senses there is a need for more estrogen it sends the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GNRH) to the pituitary. GNRH stimulates the release of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). During a woman’s child-bearing years, FSH stimulates the development of an egg follicle, which releases estrogen. The hypothalamus senses the increased estrogen level and stops producing GNRH.
During menopause, when there is no viable egg to develop, there is no estrogen response from the ovaries. So, the hypothalamus increases production of GNRH to try to increase estrogen. The low estrogen can cause epinephrine to release from the adrenals, which stimulates the hypothalamus and resets the body’s internal thermostat. This doesn’t just create the sensations of heat, it can also cause the heart to speed up, resulting in feelings of anxiety and a pounding sensation in the chest.
Fortunately, there are ways to help balance hormones to reduce the severity of hot flashes, if not eliminate them entirely. One of those remedies is Flash-Ease, a blend of two herbs that have been used historically to balance female hormones. Those herbs are black cohosh and dong quai and here is a little information about what each of these remedies does.
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that have estrogen-like properties. These compounds can partially make up for the lack of estrogen production during and after menopause.
Black cohosh has been a popular phytoestrogen remedy for hot flashes since the 1800s. Unfortunately, in high doses it can cause vasodilative headaches because of its vasodilative effects. To get the benefits of black cohosh without these undesired effects Flash-Ease puts black cohosh into a slow release form, so it has a more sustained action.
Black cohosh is not only a source of phytoestrogens, it is also an antispasmodic, so it eases muscle tension. It also contains salycilates, natural compounds that form the basis of modern aspirin. This makes black cohosh a pain-relieving remedy that can be beneficial for arthritic conditions.
Black cohosh also benefits mood during menopause. It is an antidepressant remedy, particularly helpful for depression related to imbalances in female hormones during PMS, after childbirth or during menopause.
Dong Quai has been used extensively in China and Japan as a tonic for the female reproductive system. It’s considered the “Queen of Herbs” in China where about half a billion women take it daily. It is a sweet and aromatic herb that is nourishing to the blood, heart and liver. It helps move blood throughout the body, but particularly in the pelvic area, improving digestion and reproductive function.
Dong Quai has been used for a wide variety of female problems, including PMS, irregular menstruation, menopause and vaginal dryness. It helps regulate periods, normalize monthly blood flow and ease pelvic pain during childbearing years. During menopause it can be helpful in easing hot flashes, insomnia, mood changes and vaginal dryness.
Take one tablet in the morning and at bed time. Flash-Ease provides time-released coverage offering a full 10 hours of benefits.
Many women find Flash-Ease effective, but it’s not the only remedy that can help. Women should also consider taking herbs to support the adrenal glands, such as Nutri-Calm, pantothenic acid or Adrenal Support. Good fats also help to reduce hot flashes, so flax seed oil, Super Omega-3 EPA or krill oil may also be of benefit.
Essential oils with estrogen-stimulating effects can also be helpful. These include clary sage, pink grapefruit and geranium.
Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica by Dan Bensky and Andrew Gamble
Nutritional Herbology by Mark Pedersen
The Comprehensive Guide to Nature’s Sunshine Products by Tree of Light
Secrets of Chinese Herbs course by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa and Steven Horne