TCM sees Menopause Symptoms as Blood and Fluid Deficiency. Estrogen Production is High when there there is enough Spare Blood to have a Period. I personally, have seen Young Women Skip Periods after Heroically Donating Blood! The TCM Explanation… Hot Flashes are caused by an Imbalance in the Body of Fire and Water.Yep! The Fire is Metabolic Heat. The Water is in the body’s Fluids. Although calling it “Kidney Yin Deficiency with Flaring – Liver Fire” may sound Wierd or Exotic, It really simply means DEHYDRATION.
Imagine a kettle over a fire with not enough water in it.As the water gets consumed by the heat. Heat(which rises)starts to flare up as the kettle starts getting scorched. Hot Flashes!
OK,let’s get more specific. Menopause Symptoms like Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, Sleep disturbances, even Emotional Stuff are Classic Symptoms of Deep Dehydration. Dehydration of the Blood itself. This can happen also to someone after a Prolonged Fever, or Viral illness.
Fire and Water in the Blood Western Medicine tells us that the Stuff we call “Blood” is a liquid that should be 2 parts Red Blood Cells to 3 parts Water. White Blood Cells take up only 1-2%. What we are talking about is reduced and even thckened blood volume. Not enough Water. Not enough Blood. (Dr.’s like to give Aspirin for this. It thins and Cools the Blood.Stops Fever).
The Brain is Smart and Sensitive enough to recognize Serious Fluid Depletion. There’s Wisdom to Shutting down Reproductive Functions when there is not enough Blood.
The body is getting too Dry. Old Age Symptoms are Dryness Symptoms.Wrinkles Shrivelling.
Chinese and Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine would treat this by “Coolng and Nourishing the Blood”. You can translate that to: “Expand Blood Volume and Treat Underlying Inflamatory Process”. Herbs that do this are Carefully Combined in Chinese Medicine to TREAT the Dehyration in the Blood. and then the Hot Flashes GO AWAY. Thats Why Dong Quai(Angelica Sinensis) has gained a reputation for Menopause symptom relief. It is not Estrogenic at all! This Herb, traditionally used by Chinese Women for Centuries, is a Nourishing BLOOD Tonic! They use it in Soups as FOOD! And they are primarily Menopause Symptom free!
But it’s not so Simple. DonQuai actually Warms and Stimulates the Blood. It contains Coumarins, that can encourage Blood Flow. Therefore should Not be taken Alone by Women with Heavy Periods or taking prescription AntiCoagulants. And because it Warms the Blood can increase Hot Flashes,probably the most distressing menopause symptom! Combined with cooling herbs, though it can help alot.
Herbs that are Cooling and Highly Nourishing like Chinese Stellaria(YinChaiHu) or,Chinese Asparagus Root(TaiMenDong) really help! The related Herb ,Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosa) is Famous in India as Deeply Nourishing to Fluids and Blood.
Another Incredible Fluid and Blood Builder and my personal favorite for so many reasons is Spirulina,helpful for practically Any menopause symptom..
As soon as you even suspect that you are having Hot Flashes, or if they are already full blown, Herbs Really help! Which herbs?
First, lets look into how a Traditional Herbalist looks at Hot flashes.
Hot Flashes are viewed as a streaming-up of internal heat. The source of this heat is understood to be chronic dryness that has become inflamatory. A Deep and chronic Dehydration state.
Like a Kettle on a flame with inadequate water. The heat starts to scorch and inflame. The herbal strategy will be to give herbs that are Cooling and Fluid-Nourishing. To turn off the Fire, cool the Kettle off, and fill it with water.
TCM calls these herbs “Yin” Tonics. Ayurveda would describe them as nourishing “Kapha”. These herbs Hydrate, coat,and soothe parched,inflamed muccous membraines. Common herbs are: Marshmallow(Althea), Asparagus ROOT, Great Ayurvedic herbs are Shatavari(Asparagus Racemosa), and Amla(Emblica Myrobalani).
My favorite TCM herbs for this purpose are: Chinese Stellaria(YinChaiHu), Lycium Root(DiguPi), White Peony Rt.(BaiShao) and many others.
By: Aliza Adar Levine
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