What herbs relieve menopausal night sweats?
June 11, 2009 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend a non-estrogenic herbal remedy to combat peri/menopausal night sweats before they drown me.

I am currently taking Maca Root (powdered Maca in a gelatin capsule), and I am wondering if another form (such as a tincture) or a different herb would be more powerful/potent. In addition, I am also curious how to correctly pronounce "Maca".
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't mean to derail but I agree with Inspector.Gadget's comment. The best remedy is: exercise, cut down on caffeine and cut down or eliminate alcohol.
posted by bluesky43 at 2:54 PM on June 11, 2009


This isn't an herbal remedy, but my mother's doctor told her to eat bananas (I'm sorry I can't remember what compound in bananas helps), and that drastically cut down on her night sweats.
posted by Kimberly at 3:09 PM on June 11, 2009


Anoymous asked a very specific question; presumably she understands the full range of options and is asking a question reflective of an informed choice she has already made. There is no need to turn this thread into a referendum on HRT and/or western medicine vs. alternative medicine.

Anon, are you already taking EPO? If you're comitted to the alternative route, it's probably worth a few visits to a reputable herbalist or acupuncturist.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:30 PM on June 11, 2009


I can recommend herbal teas, or black cohash or what-have-you, but they will not cure night sweats. You can alleviate your symptoms some, but if your estrogen is tanked, you will have night sweats and hot flashes, and the only fix for low estrogen is more estrogen.

So, if you are bound and determined not to go that route, you can use cold compresses and bathe your forehead before you go to sleep at night, strip off your pajamas when you first wake up sweating and throw off the sheets, keep a fan running and, if all else fails, turn down the a/c until you are through the worst of it.

I don't know how long "the worst of it" will take with you--I couldn't go six months without estrogen before I had an emotional breakdown and had to go back on anti-depressants after a decade without them, as well as becoming physically unable to have sex until I went on HRT, but YMMV.
posted by misha at 3:44 PM on June 11, 2009


Omega-3 fatty aicds, particularly DHA and EPA, demonstrate the ability to reduce hot flash frequency (and dysmenorrhea). Here is one such study on 120 women over 8 weeks, that finds a three fold reduction versus placebo from a baseline of 2.8 hot flashes per day.

Animals raised on their "natural" diet are a good source of omega-3's. Grass feed beef, milk (whole or raw), butter and free range chickens and their eggs (with that characteristic orange yolk from all the extra carotenoids).

Fish oils are a quick and easy way to pack a lot of omega-3 into your diet. Start with one capsule at each meal and work up to three to five, should minimize any burping or digestive discomfort. 1-3 grams of EPA+DHA a day may be effective (depends on how much omega-6 you're taking in), much higher doses have been shown to be safe (8 grams/day of EPA in the Stoll bipolar study).
posted by zentrification at 3:47 PM on June 11, 2009


Get Mint has peppermint and spearmint oils that they grow. It is from the oldest mint farm in the U.S.. A drop of two massaged into the scalp while in the shower and then rinsed off will cool you off for awhile, (and decongest you!). This is one of the few mint farms in the U.S., and unlike foreign oils, they are not "cut" with additives. I really believe in their products.

IANAD, YMMV. Good luck!
posted by 6:1 at 3:49 PM on June 11, 2009


Lipidium meyenii, better known as maca (pronounced mah-cah)

Some people prefer White Willow Bark to Aspirin. It's ridiculous to disregard anything as garbage.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:50 PM on June 11, 2009


Yams.

Your experience may vary. But being married to someone who's gone through it, I have heard this. Can't say whether or not it worked, since symptoms were mild and no controlled study was done.
posted by Danf at 3:50 PM on June 11, 2009


Seconding bananas and omega-3s. My mother says that increasing her consumption of both (on her doctor's recommendation) has helped reduce her night sweats/hot flashes.

Have you tried talking to your doctor about ways to deal with night sweats that are not dependent on prescription drugs or estrogen? While most doctors are wary of treatments that have not been proven effective and safe in clinical trials, many are happy to recommend effective, safe, alternative approaches (like bananas and omega-3s!).
posted by cimton at 3:51 PM on June 11, 2009


My mom, with long experience in the department, says try Black Cohosh. Can combine with Evening Primrose oil capsules. Some also use Flax Seed oil.
posted by 6550 at 7:14 PM on June 11, 2009


A classic chinese formula for yin deficient night sweats (a likely scenario) is Liu Wei Di Huang Wan often translated as Six Flavor Tea Pills. This is a formula that balances nourishing and dispersing herbs and should not cause problems in the long term. The usual disclaimers apply- I am not your herbalist, this is not a recommendation that these herbs are appropriate for you.
posted by pointilist at 11:06 PM on June 11, 2009


[This is a followup from the anonymous asker.]
I found that 2 Tablespoons of GROUND flax seed in a small glass of orange juice every morning has completely stopped the hot flashes and night sweats. The only drawback is the minor side-effect of the flax giving me gas and what I'll call loose stools to be polite.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:36 AM on July 30, 2009


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