Alternative Treatment of Menopause Symptoms : Ayurveda
Posted Mar 17 2014 1:35am
Alternative Treatment of Menopause Symptoms : Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a 5000 year old holistic alternative science that is native to India. Ayurveda can be defined as the complete knowledge for long life. Ayurveda consists of all the components to make it ‘holistic’ and one of these divisions is Ayurvedic medicine. For anyone to understand the role that ayurvedic medicine can play in the alleviation of the symptoms of menopause one must first understand the principles upon which ayurveda is based. The actual principles are very complicated and there are volumes written on the topic.
The next question that normally pops into ones mind is why alternative treatments ? If you look back in history you will see that our forefathers, irrespective of where you are from, had the one thing in common in that they all used some form of herbs or naturopathic treatments for any diseases, conditions or injuries that they sustained. At the onset of the Industrial Revolution the allopathic medicine started developing. A rich gent of the times, Andrew Carnegie, saw the development of allopathic medicine as an investment, so he sponsored the research and development of allopathic medicine, basically sponsoring the popularization of allopathic medicine. Now, due to the general green movements i.e back to nature movements, the more traditional forms of herbal and naturopathic medicines are once more being explored.
Ayurveda is based on the principle of the 5 elements, namely earth, water, air, fire and ether. The ayurvedic medicines uses what is called the constitutions or doshas namely Vayu, Pitta and Kapha. Vayu is regarded as consisting of a combination of ether and air, Pitta as fire and Kapha as water and earth. Now these three constitutions can be combined in 7 different ways or categories called prakriti i.e Vayu, Pitta, Kapha, Vayu/Pitta, Pitta/Kapha, Kapha/Vayu and all three together is called Tridosha when Vayu, Pitta and Kapha are all in balance.
Sorry if this is a bit technical but please bear with me as this concept has to be understood if one wishes to understand what Ayurvedic medicines to use in the treatment of the symptoms of menopause!
I will not go deeper into the constitutions except to explain what the significance is of each of these 3 in broad terms. Each constiturion or dosha can still further be subdivided into 5 different more specific doshas. People can be classed into one of the seven groups.
Vayu: People who are predominantly Vayu tend to be adaptable, cheerful and talks very fast, but becomes tired easily. They also have a tendency to heal quickly . They are usually thin and either very tall or very short. The person with excessive Vayu experience flatulence, dry skin and constipation. This group of people can be anxious, forgetful, fearful, worried and nervous.
Pitta: When the Pitta element is dominant the person is usually warm and experiences clear penetrating thoughts. The Pitta people are often leaders and have great athletic abilities, they have moderate muscular build and is usually very passionate. The downside is that they can be impatient, short tempered, critical and prone to develop stomach ulcers, infections, rashes, acne, eye problems and high blood pressure.
Kapha: The Kapha individual is loyal and calm.They are physically big-boned, strong and has a deep voice. When Kapha is excessive the person has water retention, becomes overweight, and often suffers with bronchitis. Mentally they are lethargic, and becomes too attached and sentimental.
The Menopause Treatments
1. Myrrh: Myrrh is used for the treatment of symptoms of menopause in the individuals who tend towards Vayu or Kapha. Myrrh acts on the circulation, lymphatic, nervous, reproductive and respiratory systems. Apart from helping for menopause myrrh also relieves amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, arthritis, rheumatism and prevents hair loss.
2. Aloe Vera: Useful in the individuals who is predominantly Pitta or Kapha. Aloe Vera has many uses and is applied externally or taken orally and in African cultures the dried root and leaves are used in a medicinal snuff. Aloe Vera acts on the circulatory, digestive, nervous, excretory and female reproductive systems and is beneficial in menopause as it relieves the general symptoms of menopause as well as amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea and helps with weight loss. The weight gains that takes place during menopause is as a result of the decreased estrogen levels.
3. Saffron: Saffron is used in the individuals that falls in the Tridosha class, in other words where the Vayu, Pitta and Kapha doshas are in perfectt balance. Saffron improves the circulation and digestion. In the woman with intact uterus the saffron helps in the tonus of the uterus and also the menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings and irritability.
4. Indian Madder: For use in the Pitta and Kapha dominant women. Indian madder is known as the best herb to purify the blood system. It control bleeding, cleanses and regulates the liver, helps in tissue healing and give relief of painful menstruation. It is used in menopause and it also helps for amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea and leukorrhoea.
5.Nutgrass: Nutgrass is used for symptoms of menopause in those women that are fall in the Pitta and Kapha categories. Nutgrass is also good for premenstrual syndrome and yeast infections especially the candida infections. Nutgrass furthermore relieves moodiness and depression, promotes memory and reduces high blood pressure. All these characteristics makes it very suitable for use during menopause.
6. Hundred Husbands: My wife told me that she doesn’t think that a hundred husbands is a good idea for anyhting but I beg to differ. I think we are referring to two different ideas here ! The hundred husbands that I refer to here is a type of asparagus that grows in India above 8000 feet. It is used on the women who are predominantly Pitta or Vayu and it has a number of characteristics that makes it ideal for use in menopause as it acts against water retention due to its diuretic properties and it is called a refrigerant – that can only be good for someone who suffers with hot flashes. It is also a tonic and an antispasmodic, and boosts the immune system. It is used a lot in India in the treatment of cancers and especially in patients undergoing chemotherapy as it strengthens the patient before and during the chemotherapy. It also provides relief of vaginal dryness.
7. Basil or Holy Basil: Basil is cultivated in India near the Hindu temples and Hindu homes. It plays a significant role in Hindu religion and is one of the two most holy Hindu plants. Basil is especially good for the women with menopause that falls into the Vayu or Kapha categories as it helps improve the memory, it acts as both a blood tonic and a heart tonic, it cleanses the brain and the nervous system by strengthening the nervous tissue. Basil prevents the accumulation of fat in the body especially in menopausal women. Furthermore it improves the immune system, prevents hair loss and also the graying of the hair. If basil is grown in the house it purifies the air. Basil is an amazing herb and can be chewed for gum disease. Basil is the main ingredient in Pesto and can be eaten in salads, taken as an infusion ( tea ), taken as juice or even dried and used as snuff in sinus allergies !
I hope that this overview gives you an idea of other alternative treatments that are available for the treatment of the symptoms of menopause and that this article tickles your curiosity to explore and learn more about healthy living not only by western standards but also how other nations and cultures approach their health issues.
Hugo is pharmacist who is very interested in alternative forms of treatment for illness, disease and the numerous conditions and injuries that is encountered on a daily basis. Hugo and his wife, Betsie, also grows all their own vegetables and farms commercially with bell peppers.
Hugo is the webmaster for his site called Women’s Health Today where women’s health issues are discussed.