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Three Root Extracts for Menopausal Symptoms

Beverley has a degree in science and additional certifications in nutrition and aromatherapy. She's published on and offline.

Menstrual Cycle

Menstrual Cycle

What Is Menopause?

At age 51 or thereabouts a woman may experience menopause. Some women may experience this natural life event at an earlier age. It signals the end of the female menstruation cycle and the ability to get pregnant.

This auspicious event begins with perimenopause when, at about the age of 40, the female hormone estrogen begins to decrease. It causes the body to undergo a myriad of changes including irregular periods and hot flashes.

When a woman hasn’t had a period in 12 months, she’s transitioned into menopause.

When you’re deep into menopause and there’s no turning back, it’s called postmenopause.

Hormones in Menstrual Cycle

Hormones in Menstrual Cycle

Symptoms of Menopause

Menopause may arrive with several symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, depression, irritability, insomnia, vertigo, body aches, tinnitus, osteoporosis, heart palpitations, low, libido, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and weight gain.

The number of symptoms and degree of severity depends on the individual. I have female friends who suffered from hot flashes and night sweats during their perimenopause stage. They continue to suffer from those symptoms today in their mid-sixties. I also have friends who barely broke an irregular sweat.

Remedies for Symptoms of Menopause

Since menopause symptoms are due to a decrease in estrogen levels, hormone replacement therapy is often prescribed. However, it comes with numerous side effects, some of which may be quite harmful.

Doctors may also recommend medications for specific symptoms such as prescribing antidepressants or drugs to treat hot flashes.

Many women prefer to seek relief by using natural remedies. Herbs like the roots of black cohosh, valerian, and wild yam are often considered. What are they, and how do they work?

Black Cohosh Root

Black Cohosh Root

Black Cohosh Root

Black cohosh is also known as rattleweed, snakeroot, baneberry, rheumatism weed, and black bugbane. Its scientific name is Actaea racemose or Cimicifuga racemose. The perennial member of the Buttercup plant family is indigenous to North America.

Roots and white flowers were used by Native Americans and Early Europeans for reproductive health and other ailments. It continues to maintain popularity in women’s health.

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Symptoms of Menopause Alleviated With Black Cohosh

A number of research trials suggest that black cohosh root may help mitigate several symptoms of menopause. They include muscle aches and pain, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, heart palpitations, anxiety, vertigo, tinnitus, and vaginal dryness.

The subjects in all trials were given daily oral doses of either the herb or a placebo. Hot flashes seemed to be most affected.

Other studies indicate that the triterpene glycosides compounds in black cohosh may have a definite impact on muscle aches, pain, and irritability due to their adaptogenic or steroidal nature.

How to Take Black Cohosh

Supplements of black cohosh can be purchased as capsules, powder, tinctures, or teas. Medical experts believe it is generally safe to take a daily encapsulated or powdered dose of 40 mg to 120 mg for a year. The recommended for tinctures is 2–4 ml with a 1:10 ratio of 60% alcohol.

Black cohosh is also often sold in blends with other herbs such as red clover and chasteberry.

Side Effects of Using Black Cohosh

Among the side effects associated with black cohosh use are

  • Cramping
  • Gastrointestinal upsets
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Skin rashes
  • Breast soreness or pain
  • Anemia (high doses)
  • Liver damage (prolonged use)
Valerian Root

Valerian Root

Valerian Root

Common names for valerian root include garden heliotrope, amantilla, and tagar. It is scientifically called Valeriana officinalis. It’s a flowering herb that is native to North America, Europe, and Asia.

Ancient Greeks and Romans used the plant for a number of ailments including nervousness, tiredness, headaches, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Today it is still used to treat headaches and menopause-related symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, hot flashes, and fatigue.

Symptoms of Menopause Treated with Valerian Root

Studies denote that the active compounds sesquiterpenes in valerian root extract have sedative-like effects that may help insomnia. In a controlled trial of 100 postmenopausal women, those given valerian extract demonstrated improvements in their sleep patterns.

Other compounds in the herbaceous tuber seem to benefit hot flashes. In a study, 68 menopausal women were given valerian capsules three times a day for 8 weeks. When those who took the placebo were compared with them, the valerian group experienced a significant decrease in hot flashes.

How to Take Valerian Root

Valerian root is sold in capsules, tablets, tinctures, and tea. Capsule and tablet doses usually range from 300 to 600 mg. Because of the herb’s sedative nature, medical personnel recommends that it is taken pre-bedtime.

Side Effects of Using Valerian Root

Side effects of valerian root include:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Heart issues
Wild Yam Tuber

Wild Yam Tuber

Wild Yam Root

Wild yam root is also known as American yam, China root, Colic root, Mexican yam, Yuma, and Devil’s bones. Dioscorea batatas and Dioscorea villosa are its scientific names.

The herbaceous root is a North American native from the yam or Dioscoreaceae plant family. Of the 600 species, only 25 are edible.

Wild yam’s history as a medicinal plant date back to the Aztecs. They used it to relieve pain. Indigenous Americans and early European settlers used it for pain and other ailments such as rabies and epilepsy. In traditional Asian and alternative medicine, it is used to treat asthma, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes.

Since the compound diosgenin has been discovered, herbalists and other alternative medicine advocates prescribe wild yam root as a natural way to alleviate menopausal symptoms.

Symptoms of Menopause Treated with Wild Yam Root

Though more research is needed, diosgenin seems to stimulate the production of estrogen. Since depleting estrogen levels are responsible for symptoms menopausal women experience, boosting the female hormone levels may alleviate some symptoms.

Scientists believe the chemical compound may reduce osteoporosis or bone loss and increase libido.

How to Take Wild Yam Root

Wild yam root is available as an herbal supplement in the form of capsules, pills, tincture, tea, or topical cream, as flour, or in its natural tuberous form.

In the encapsulated or tablet form, herbalists and homeopathic experts recommended using 400 mg no more than twice a day.

Side Effects of Using Wild Yam Root

There are a few side effects affiliated with Wild Yam Root use, namely:

  • Individuals allergic to wild yam may experience breathing difficulties, hives, swelling of facial features and the throat, and skin irritation.
  • Nausea, vomiting, intestinal ailments, and headaches (large amounts)
  • Individuals who suffer from hormone-induced illnesses such as breast cancer and fibroids may want to avoid wild yam consumption.
  • Exercise caution if using other herbal products.

Herbaceous Roots for Menopausal Symptoms

Herbaceous RootsMenopause Symptoms They May Treat

Black Cohosh

muscle aches and pains, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, heart palpitations, anxiety, irritability, vertigo, tinnitus, and vaginal dryness

Valerian

insomnia and hot flashes

Wild yam

osteoporosis and increased libido

Bottom Line

Symptoms of menopause are due to a decrease in the levels of the female hormone estrogen. This natural event in a woman’s life may begin while she’s in her 40s. It starts with perimenopause and ends with postmenopause.

Symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, muscle aches and pains, low libido, osteoporosis, and heart palpitations.

Black cohosh root, valerian root, and wild yam root seem to benefit the health of women in various stages of menopause. Studies show that the herbaceous tubers may be natural alternatives to treatments such as hormone replacement therapy. They contain compounds that either increase estrogen production or treat several individual symptoms.

Note there is no medical evidence to support black cohosh, valerian root, or wild yam root curing, treating, or preventing diseases. Always consult your healthcare provider for diagnoses and accurate medical information before taking any supplements.

Since herbal medicines are mostly unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, always purchase products that are organic and independently certified by agencies such as ConsumerLab.

Tubers for Menopause

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Beverley Byer

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