No matter what stage of womanhood you’re in, chances are there is some herbal remedy that can help you deal with a nagging discomfort or injury, protect you from illness, or, maybe, even make you feel just a little bit like a goddess.
The troublesome symptoms of PMS and menopause may be alleviated by black cohosh, an herb that controls estrogen and helps relieve pain, swelling, and spasms. It may also ease the pressure of menstrual cramps. Like dong quai—an herb used widely in China—it has been shown to reduce hot flashes.
Dong quai can offer the added benefits of increasing circulation, decreasing vaginal dryness, and, when used in certain formulas, fighting migraines.
Expectant mothers may find that red raspberry—found easily in tea form—may relieve stress, encourage sleep, and assist in muscle recovery after delivery.
Herbs for All the Ladies
Some 40 million Americans either have or are at high risk of being diagnosed with osteoporosis, and 80 percent of people diagnosed are women—most in their menopausal or post-menopausal years.
In addition to weight-bearing exercise and plenty of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and other nutrients that help combat this brittle bone disease, consider red clover. The herb contains phytoestrogens, natural compounds that may prevent bone loss, and, in some cases, it has been shown to actually increase bone density.
Motherwort could be a good choice to support cardiac health, especially in the treatment of conditions caused by stress or high blood pressure. Chinese researchers have also found that motherwort improves blood flow to the heart. The herb comes in capsule, tincture, or dried-leaf form, so you can enjoy it in a comforting, steaming cup.
Finally, rhodiola is a root shown to have plenty of positive properties, including boosting overall mood, increasing exercise endurance, and sharpening the mind. Any woman, mythological or otherwise, may find those benefits hard to pass up.
Herbal Therapy & Supplements by Merrily A. Kuhn and David Winston ($46.95, Wolters Kluwer, 2008).
“What is Osteoporosis?” www.niams.nih.gov, 1/11
Women’s Herbs, Women’s Health by Christopher Hobbs, L.A.C. and and Kathi Neville ($24.95, Botanica Press, 2007).