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Sage has a positive effect on mood and perspiration

Why is sage so good for menopause & perimenopause symptoms?

 

Hot flushes are just one symptom of perimenopause. Is there something we can do to improve perimenopause symptoms like hot flashes, loss of concentration, and fatigue? We can use fantastic herbs and lifestyle strategies to improve perimenopause symptoms like hot flashes, loss of attention, and fatigue. Hot flashes are periodic sweating, palpitations, chills, pressure in the head and chest, and anxiety.

 

One woman explained that hot flushes are like a welling of heat surging upwards through our body, like Mount Vesuvius erupting at the most awkward moments producing soaking perspiration and clammy skin. Perimenopause can feel like our entire body becomes hot and skin moist, our face flushed or sweating like a well-practised high-rise fire extinguishing system. 

 

Hot flushes or flashes (depending on the country you are from) are a symptom of perimenopause, a sign that our body is recalibrating the hormones that have supported us for the previous thirty-odd years. Due to declining ovarian function, we might see changes in menstrual cycles with heavy, scant or missed periods. What if I said there is so much more to know about perimenopause? Perimenopause signals a time to own our stuff, recalibrate and be our best version of health.

What happens with the menopause transition?

Through women’s reproductive years, our circulation sex hormones rise and fall with predictability around ovulation, menses, and pregnancy. Perimenopause is the transition to menopause, where menstruation stops, and our uterus and ovaries begin to atrophy or shrink. Our sex hormones like oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone and follicle-stimulating hormone also influence our brain, metabolism and mood.

Oestrogen helps to protect and regulate our nerve cells, including serotonin levels. This part makes a lot of sense to me because most of us think that lower sex hormones are often associated with changes in the menstrual cycle; they are intrinsically associated with liver function, nervous system health, bone density, collagen and skin health and urinary tract microbiome. 

The number of stored follicles in the ovaries helps determine when the transition to menopause occurs. Women in menopause stop producing eggs, and hormones change too. We see that the ovaria production of estrogen and progesterone ends.

The ovaries continue to make a small amount of testosterone which can be converted to estradiol by an enzyme in body fat. Overall the total amount of oestrogen and progesterone in menopause is less than before perimenopause started.

Do we experience the same symptoms of menopause?

Any wonder then that perimenopause may involve symptoms like mood changes, intolerance to stress and thermoregulation like hot flushes. Peri-menopause is different for every woman. Some will experience symptoms for a year or no symptoms of hormone changes at all. Other women will experience symptoms for over a decade.   

 

Perimenopause is a time of natural when there is an adjustment to our hormones. When women’s hormones recalibrate and adjust to lower sex hormones. Do we honour and celebrate this stage of life and change? Do we, as women, discuss these changes with each other and our family or partners? Every woman will go through menopause. That is a certainty; talking about what we experience in this stage can create a smoother journey and be supportive. 

 

What can we do to reduce hot flashes?

As a herbalist and Naturopath, practical and straightforward ways are often the best ways to bring calm, help reduce hot flashes improve performance and support women through perimenopause. The most effective outcomes I see are the combination of herbal medicine and lifestyle adjustments. In my experience as a practitioner looking after our nervous system, thermoregulation and hormones are critical to helping reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes. The World Health Organisation considers complementary medicine as a method of preventing and improving menopausal symptoms.

 

Let’s talk about herbal medicine. 

Firstly it is essential to seek a professional Herbalists advice before taking any herbal medicine or self-prescribing herbal medicine. I love herbal medicine because one herb can have many actions supporting our health and come from nature. Take sage; Salvia officinalis is one of the most common kitchen herbs in the herb home garden.  

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Dried herbal tea

 

Salvia officinalis, sage, is from the Lamiaceae family and is a native of Mediterranean Europe and contains Phyto-oestrogens, plant chemicals that look a bit like oestrogen and have a weak estrogenic effect on the body. In Europe, Sage has traditionally been used to reduce sweating and the intensity of sweating during hot flashes in menopause. 

 

Traditionally sage has also been used alongside A study of 71 menopausal women having five hot flashes per day; found that taking one capsule of fresh sage per day saw a 50% reduction of intensity-rated hot flashes in just four weeks. Before you rush out and buy a heap of sage capsules, there are a few things we need to keep in mind. Fresh sage in a study shows higher concentrations of the plant actives in the hypothalamus, regions of the brain associated with temperature regulation.  

 

There is something delightful about strolling in the garden and collecting plants to make herbal tea. Here is a recipe for Sage, Lemon Balm and lavender tea; enjoy.

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Medicinal effects of sage, better to use fresh leaves.

Recipe for fresh sage, lemon balm and lavender tea

  • One tablespoon of fresh sage leaves
  • One tablespoon of lemon balm leaves and flowers, if you have them
  • One teaspoon of lavender flowers
  • One wedge of fresh lemon

Method

Pour 2-3 Cups of boiled water into your Herb Tea Pot, add the leaves and place the lid on the pot. Steep for 10 minutes, then pour your tea and squeeze fresh lemon. Alternatively, pop the tea into a glass jar when cooled and store it in the fridge as iced tea for summer days. 

 

Sage and beyond hormones?

Salvia officinalis affects GABA and serotonin receptors in our brains. Sage may regulate our body temperature and reduce the intensity of hot flashes. Research identifies fresh sage as more effective than dried sage for mood-balancing effects. Decreasing hot flashes at night positively impacts reducing fatigue and improving concentration and mood. 

Our attitude towards ageing and menopause also affects our experience of menopause and perimenopause. Cultural, social and psychological values and personal and family situations influence our attitudes toward menopause. Women with more negative values of menopause transition tend to report more symptoms during menopause

Create a positive attitude to women and ageing

Creating a positive narrative around menopause transition with our friends, family and daughters support women and their experience of natural hormone changes. Let’s look at the menopause transition as a right of passage of the wise woman and be more understanding in work and home spaces. It can influence a better experience and reduce the stress of menopausal symptoms and knowledge of the symptoms. 

 

Dietary choices also influence menopausal symptoms. High sugar diets, caffeine, alcohol intake, spicy foods, being around smoke and smoking all adversely affect menopause symptoms. Phyto oestrogens are plant chemicals similar to oestrogen structure and function; they mimic tasks of our oestrogen. Phyto-oestrogens have a much weaker effect on our bodies than endogenous oestrogens. Find out how Phyto-oestrogen help reduces menopausal symptoms here.