Friday, July 28, 2017

Herbal Remedies for Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Herbal remedies for hot flashes.
Hot flashes and night sweats are among the most common and the most uncomfortable symptoms that women going through menopause suffer with.  Research has indicated that up to 85% of women experience hot flashes starting the first year or so of the onset of menopause.  Currently, the most widely used medical treatment for these symptoms is estrogen replacement therapy.  This may be a somewhat effective treatment for these symptoms.  However, it isn't a cure, and any time hormone levels are modified, there can be unwanted side effects and possible negative impacts on the body.  Because of this, more and more women have been seeking out herbal remedies for hot flashes and night sweats, and other alternative therapies.

The actual causes of hot flashes remain rather unclear.  However, fluctuations in hormone levels involving elevated amounts of the hormones FSH and LH, both during and after menopause, are presumed to be the culprits. In an attempt to raise dropping estrogen levels these hormones can be increase to 13 times normal levels during the menopausal period.

During a hot flash, waves of heat pass through the body and face, which can cause redness of the skin and excessive sweating. The redness could appear blotchy or dispersed evenly, and the sweating could be light or heavy. Hot flashes could be brief, lasting for a matter of seconds or a few minutes, or last for a longer periods of time.  They may last for 10-15 minutes, and, in rare cases, up to an hour.

The intensity and discomfort of hot flashes and night sweats results in many women seeking out the use of drugs to try to reduce their symptoms.  This is often exacerbated by the societal notion that natural menopausal changes are somehow a medical condition. However, it is often possible to treat these symptoms more safely and effectively using herbal remedies and alternatives.

A hot flash which occurs during the night is referred to as a night sweat.  These often coincide with feelings of anxiety or fear. A simple solution may be to always have a glass of water and a some motherwort available near you at night.  Simply take 10-12 drops of the motherwort with a small amount of water. Not every woman has hot flashes, and only a portion of the women who do also get night sweats. However, there are still a large number of women who suffer with both.

Exercise can directly help to reduce the intensity and occurrence of hot flashes by reducing LH and FSH, by moderating the hypothalamus, and by increasing endorphin levels. Even a minimal amount of exercise - 15 minutes a day, three to four times a week - could help noticeably reduce the occurrence of hot flashes.  Additional natural and alternative variables which can help treat the root causes of hot flashes, include diet and nutrition, taking supplements, and herbal medicines and remedies.  We have compiled some of the most commonly used herbal remedies for hot flashes and night sweats to help provide relief from these uncomfortable symptoms of menopause.

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh is a plant popular in Europe for treating hot flashes. Research has shown that Black Cohosh may be as effective as estrogen for reducing hot flashes and one study also indicated that it was effective for reducing sweating.

Motherwort

Motherwort has been reported to reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes.  It is also know to help calm nerves, reduce anxiety, and help fight insomnia.  You should use this herb regularly for  a period of 3 months to achieve good results. A common dose amount for treating hot flashes is about 15-20 drops of a tincture, taken several times a day.  You should never use this if you have menstrual flooding, since motherwort can exacerbate this.

Flaxseed Oil

Fatty acids, like flaxseed oil, are generally considered to be an effective treatment of symptoms associated with menopause. Flax contains lignans, which have similarities to estrogen, and may help to moderate and stabilize estrogen levels during menopause.

Evening Primrose Oil

A standard and general remedy used for the reproductive health of women, evening primrose oil has a soothing effect on hot, red skin and can help moderate and control the production of estrogen. It is also used as an aid for sleep.

Chickweed Tincture

Taking this herb on a daily basis has been known to reduce the intensity of hot flashes, as well as their rate of occurrence.

Chaste berry

Chasteberry affects the function of the pituitary glands and has been shown to be effective for helping to reduce hot flashes and dizziness. Its beneficial properties during menopause could be due to its ability to modify LH and FSH levels. Chasteberry reduces estrogen levels and raises progesterone levels.  This helps to strengthen not only bones, but also the vaginal walls.  Results are generally felt after 2-3 months of regular use, and steady, long-term results require taking it for a year.

Licorice Root 

Licorice Root is a long-used, traditional treatment used for a range of female-related issues and disorders.  Incidentally, it also acts as an effective expectorant and cough suppressant for treating respiratory infections and asthma. It is theorized that it acts to lower estrogen levels, while also raising progesterone levels, which makes it a good candidate for treating hot flashes and night sweats.

Red Clover

Red clover contains high levels of phyto-estrogens.  It has been observed to aid in reducing the occurrence of hot flashes, as well as their severity.

Other Herbs

Other herbs which have been reported to have similar, hot flash reducing attributes are spearmint, damiana, wild yams, and red raspberry leaf.

Vitamins E and C

Research has shown that Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, can significantly aid in reducing hot flashes.  It is always best to get vitamins from dietary sources.  However, a vitamin E supplement is also fine to take.  Also, some menopausal women have reported that Vitamin C has reduced the rate of occurrence of their hot flashes.

Homeopathic Remedies

In addition to herbal remedies for hot flashes, homeopathic treatments are also somewhat popular with many women. Treatments such as ferrum phosphoricum, Belladonna, Sanguinarina, and Kali Phosphoricum are often used for various menopause symptoms, including hot flashes.

Other Tips For Relieving Hot Flashes

In addition to using the herbs and other remedies we've listed above, there are additional, simple steps you can do to help alleviate symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats:

Do not use synthetic bedding and/or clothing.

Keep your body cool.

Quit smoking, if you smoke.

Take measures to reduce stress.

Reduce your intake of spicy foods.

Avoid drinking alcohol.

Lower your intake of caffeine.


For more information on treating hot flashes see Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes (The North American Menopause Society), and Menopause Symptoms And Treatments (Dr. Weil).

Friday, July 21, 2017

A Compound Found in Turmeric May Increase Cancer Cells' Sensitivity to Radiation

Turmeric may increase cancer sensitivity to radiation.
One of the primary problems related to treating cancer is that some cancer cells tend to develop a resistance to radiation therapy. However, Indian researchers have discovered how this resistance comes about within cervical cancer cells, and state that these cancers cells may be made to be more sensitive to radiation if they are treated with a compound found in turmeric, called curcumin.

Cancerous cells contain a tiny amount of stem cells which can grow resistant to both drug and radiation treatments. Because of this, after the majority of cancerous cells are destroyed by treatments, the resistant cells continue to multiply and can result in lesions.  These could then result in a recurrence of the cancer after awhile.

Previous studies had indicated the crucial role of a human protein, known as AP-1, in cancer cells developing a resistance to radiation.  Exactly how this occurred was unknown, though. This new research identifies the specific process of resistance in cancerous cells in the  cervix caused by an HPV infection. Scientists believe this could be the same mechanism operating in other types of cancers, as well.

This research is founded on previous research which found that treatment with curcumin, which is an herbal compound contained in turmeric, makes cancerous stem cells more sensitive to radiation.

The science team was led by Professor Das and Dr. Alok C Bharti. The study was funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology and Indian Council of Medical Research.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Herbs for Headaches

Herbs can be used to treat headaches.
Headaches, regardless of their severity, often result in unwanted discomfort and distress. The pain may be felt in only one, isolated spot, or may be spread out over various areas of your head. Sometimes, they can also be incredibly severe and debilitating, such as in the case of migraine headaches.

It is thought that headaches generally result from irritation of the nerves connected to the muscles of the shoulders, head, and, neck. This could be caused by any number of things including stress, anxiety, hypertension, hypoglycemia, temperature variance, eye strain, sinus problems, and injuries to the head, among others.

Many people simply resort to taking an over-the-counter pain medication for fast and convenient relief, but these medications also could have potential negative effects on your body, in the long run. Natural treatments can often be better, and safer, for treating headaches.

Try one or more of the following herbal remedies for headaches:

For mild headaches, you can try spreading a paste composed of sandalwood and rose water across your forehead. This can have a pleasant cooling sensation which may relieve some headaches.

Add a teaspoon of lavender leaves to one cup of hot water, let it cool, and drink the mixture two to three times a day.

If your headache pain is more severe, try mixing lemon juice with tea to relive the pain.

Create a mix of henna flowers with vinegar and apply it the forehead.

Mix rosemary with boiling water, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the vapors. This can sometimes be effective at reducing the severity of a headache.

Try drinking aloe vera water or taking an aloe vera supplement a couple of times per day to relive headaches due to hyper-acidity.

Make a mixture of carrot juice and spinach juice and drink it every day.

Inhaling peppermint steam can also help relieve headaches. As it acts as a mild decongestant, it can relieve headaches caused by sinus problems.

Create a paste made from dry ginger mixed with water or milk and spread it over the forehead. Ginger can aid in relaxing blood vessels and relieving swelling in the head.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Red Clover May Relieve Depression in Post-Menopausal Women

Red clover can be used to relieve depression.
Post-menopausal women who take red clover extract could suffer from less depression and anxiety, according to a randomized, controlled study from Austria.

Symptoms associated with depression and anxiety were lowered by approximately 80% after three months of taking a supplement which contained 80 milligrams of red clover isoflavones.

However, the researchers have iterated that additional clinical and experimental research is needed before any conclusive results are reached.

If additional research and studies do show a reduction in depression, then this could be a great alternative treatment for many women. Twenty-one percent of women will suffer from depression at some point in their life.

The researchers recruited 109 post-menopausal participants who were older than 40 and randomly put them into two groups. One group received a red clover supplement for ninety days. The other group received a placebo for the same period of time.

Measurements of depression and anxiety symptoms, were obtained by using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Zung's Self Rating Depression Scale (SDS). The HADS measurments found that anxiety was lowered by 76%, and depression was reduced by 78%. The SDS measurements showed depression symptoms to be reduced by 80%.

Participants who were in the placebo group experienced lowered anxiety and depression of approximately 21% according to both the HADS and SDS.

In 2009, data was transmitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) which was looking into isoflavones. Twenty researchers studying isoflavones met in Italy to analyze the results of studies conducted over the last twenty years. This group came to the conclusion that emerging studies conducted with isoflavones have demonstrated a “modest but valuable benefit for menopause relief”.

Source: NutraIngredients.com

Monday, March 7, 2011

Research Shows Willow Bark Effective for Treating Lower Back Pain

Despite the fact that Willow Bark has long been used as a traditional remedy, there hasn't been much research done on willow bark as a pain reliever, and suggested doses by various sources often vary by a substantial margin. To investigate effective dosages, a group of German researchers have performed a 4 week clinical trial, which was designed to compare how safe and effective different dosage amounts of willow bark extract were for treating lower back pain.

The results of the study concluded that both high and low dosages of willow bark provided substantially more relief from pain than the placebo, but the higher dosage (240 mg/day) was markedly more effective than both low dosage and the placebo.

The study, which was placebo-controlled, was composed of 210 participants who suffered from chronic lower back pain who were, at the time, having exacerbations of their back pain (a rating of 5 or more out of 10 on a visual pain-approximation scale). The patients were randomly grouped to receive a low dosage of willow bark (120 mg/day), a high dosage (240 mg/day), or a simple placebo. Participants were allowed to take an additional pain reliever (a maximum of 400 mg a day of tramadol) if needed.

91 percent of the participants finished the trial. The primary outcome measured was pain relief, which was defined as the ratio of participants who reported an absence of pain for at least five days during the final week of the study, without using tramadol. Secondary outcomes measured were the ratio of participants who had to use tramadol during the course of the study and the improvement of the participants' symptoms from their baseline.

The study found that almost 40 percent of the patients in the high dosage willow bark group were free from pain during the last week of the study, as compared to about 20 percent of the lower dosage group and only about 6 percent of the group who received a placebo. For participants who received a higher dosage, pain relief became evident after about one week, and a substantially larger number of participants in the placebo group needed to take tramadol at some point during every week of the study.

The rate of mild adverse reactions was low for all three of the groups, some of which could be attributed to patients taking tramadol. One participant in the lower dosage willow bark group had an allergic reaction (swollen eyes and itching) that the researchers think was related to the treatment.

Source: To Your Health.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Are Chia Seeds Effective for Weight Loss?

Chia seeds and weight loss.
Chia Pets have made the chia plant famous (or infamous) - the terra-cotta figurines which grow a fuzz of green hair. However, recently chia has obtained a new reputation as an effective weight loss supplement.

Books on dieting and fitness personalities have been promoting chia seeds as a powerful appetite suppressant, and health food suppliers have been selling them by the pound. Chia seeds, which come from the chia plant native to Central America, are definitely full of nutrition: an individual serving, which is approximately an an ounce, contains four grams of protein and eleven grams of fiber, which is widely claimed as the key to weight-loss.

However, there isn't much evidence that chia seeds live up to the claims. In a study conducted in 2009, a team of scientists separated 76 overweight and obese people into 2 groups. The first group ate 25 grams of chia seeds two times a day, while the second group ate a placebo. At the end of twelve weeks, the researchers didn't find a significant difference between the two groups in either their appetite or how much weight they lost.

Another group of researchers which reviewed the evidence regarding chia reached a similar conclusion: There wasn't any indication of an impact on weight loss. The scientists didn't find much evidence which supported any other health claims associated with chia seeds either, such as cardiovascular benefits. They concluded that while chia seeds are generally safe to eat and can be a healthy supplement to most diets, “further rigorous examination” of its effects would be needed.

The conclusion is that little evidence exists that chia seeds substantially contribute to weight loss or appetite control.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Taking Kudzu Might Not Curb Alcohol Use

The findings of a research study have indicated that taking kudzu may not cut alcohol intake. The study was published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Kudzu is an herbal remedy that has been used for a long time to treat alcoholism, and, in tests, it has been discovered to lower alcohol dependence in animals.

In the study, 12 participants took either kudzu or a placebo for a period of 9 days. While kudzu did result in higher blood alcohol levels in the study participants, it had minimal or no effect on their cognitive, behavioral, and/or physical performance.

Kudzu contains an estrogen type substance known as isoflavones Isoflavones are also located in soy. Previous studies have reported that kudzu could help to bolster cognitive function and reduce vaginal dryness in women who are postmenopausal. It may also be able to be used to treat cluster headaches and guard against metabolic syndrome.