Menopause is a word so many women in their ’40s are afraid to talk about. Women find themselves looking for answers and might only be given one option, HRT. So is there an alternative that allows women to accept, acknowledge and deal with the three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause and post menopause?

Menopause is essentially a transition that all women will eventually go through in life, most commonly it starts somewhere between the ages of 45-55, although early, before age 45 or late menopause, after 55 can also happen. Some women breeze through without even knowing it is happening. However, hot flushes, night sweats, brain fog, and mood changes become part of the daily norm for most women. Unfortunately, these are just some of the symptoms. Lara Jonasdottir, Medical Herbalist BSc, MSc (Clin. Ed.) based in Dr Clare’s Apothecary and Clinic in Galway offers herbal medicine for those suffering from mild to severe symptoms. Having spent years working as a medical herbalist, it is clear to Lara that many women find herbs very helpful during this new phase in their life and should see results after two months of taking the herbs. Lara says; “Herbs such as Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemose) and Sage (Salvia officinalis) are generally the most commonly mentioned herbs in association with menopause, but there are many more that may be of help depending on the symptoms that are being experienced. Herbs such as Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), Motherwort (Leonorus cardiaca) and Lavender (Lavendula spp.) can be beneficial if stress or anxiety is one of the main symptoms. Whilst hormone supporting herbs such as Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) and/or Shatavari (Asparagus racemosa) may assist better if changes in the menstrual cycle are the main symptoms.” 

An important element of herbal medicine is that herbalists commonly work with herbal formulas involving more than one herb, which is helpful for the menopausal transition as every woman experiences it differently, and often, a variety of symptoms are present at the same time. Lara also points out that in addition to herbs, there are many other important lifestyle factors such as good nutrition, stress management, exercise, spending time outdoors, drinking plenty of water and one of our favourites, always looking for laughter in life. If you are interested in finding out more about an alternative approach to menopause, Lara is available for consultation in person at Dr Clare’s Apothecary and Clinic, Galway. 091-583260