Health notes

Natural remedies for the menopause

Several readers have asked for natural remedies to ease menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flushes and night sweats.

Susan, 53, says her life is miserable, due to the ‘almost continual’ sweating, fatigue and depression to which her GP showed ‘a total lack of compassion’.

So I rang consultant gynaecologist Michael Dooley – my co-author on Your Change, Your Choice: the Integrated Approach to Feeling and Looking Good Through the Menopause – to confer.

He suggests Meno-Herbs 2, a supplement containing small quantities of phyto-oestrogens (plant-based oestrogens), plus a heart-protective compound. ‘Several studies have demonstrated the helpful role of plant oestrogens – there is more information on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ website ( My patients find the combination in Meno-Herbs 2 extremely beneficial, and we are auditing our results.’

One friend said her menopausal symptoms have gone and her joie de vivre has returned. Another forgot to take them for a week and couldn’t understand why she had hot flushes again; they vanished when she resumed Meno-Herbs 2. (Pharmacist Shabir Daya says you can safely take it long-term.)

Specific triggers for hot flushes include alcohol – avoiding it banished one neighbour’s heatstrokes – hot and/or spicy foods, and caffeine (in coffee, tea, chocolate). Eating every three hours helps, but avoid too much sugar and
starchy carbs.

Michael also says: ‘Try to sip eight large glasses of cool, pure water through the day, mostly between meals.’

And take exercise: it prods adrenal glands to release androstenedione, which is converted to a form of oestrogen in fat cells. Getting overstressed can block it, because the adrenal glands switch to producing stress hormones.

Yoga can reduce hot flushes and night sweats among menopausal women and also seems to sharpen mental function, according to researchers in India.

They randomly assigned 120 menopausal women to yoga practice, or to
simple stretching and strengthening exercises five days a week for two months. The yoga postures, breathing and meditation were all aimed at slowing down
the mind. 

Learning to synchronise breathing with body movements, relaxation and rest was a key component.

After eight weeks, women in the yoga group reported a significant reduction in hot flushes, night sweats and disturbed sleep, but not the control group. Also, the yoga group did better in a test of memory and intelligence.

As well as helping with hot flushes, ‘yoga postures and breathing techniques can help reduce general anxiety,’ comments Michael Dooley.

‘If patients are worried about having cervical smears, I get them to do retention breathing.’ (Inhale through your nose to a count of four, hold gently for seven, then exhale slowly through your mouth for eight; repeat five or six times twice daily.)

lyengar yoga teacher Hannah Lovegrove recommends The Woman’s Yoga Book by Bobby Clennell, which gives information on yoga poses and breathing techniques for PMS and menopause.

Hannah has put up simple yoga routines on her website

  • Meno-Herbs 2, £17.95 for 90 tablets (take two daily), from Victoria Health, tel: 0800 3898 195, qualified yoga teachers, visit
  • To order a copy of Your Change, Your Choice by Michael Dooley FRCOG and Sarah Stacey (Hodder Mobius, £7.99) or The Woman’s Yoga Book by Bobby Clennell (Rodmell Press, £14.99) – both with free p&p – contact the YOU Bookshop on 0845 155 0711,


health notes
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health notes
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