Natural Remedies to Help with Hot Flushes or Flashes
Whether you prefer to call them hot flushes or hot flashes they are a misery. Although an unfortunate natural reaction, some women find them embarrassing particularly when flushing in front of work colleagues. Also called vasomotor symptoms or VMS. They start suddenly with a heating sensation predominately in the head and neck and upper body including the back.
There is some suggestion that if flushing starts in the peri-menopausal period you will suffer longer and it can go on for several years. If the flushing commences after cessation of periods symptoms tend to last no more than 3 years.
Other suggestions include flushes last longer in smokers, anyone overweight or women suffering from stress or anxiety. However, no two women are identical in any menopausal symptoms. Duration, frequency and severity of hot flushes varies considerably in women.
Using Natural Remedies to Help with Hot Flushes
Aromatic Waters, Hydrosols or Hydrolats
Aromatic waters in a spray bottle are excellent on-the-go natural remedies for hot flushes. Easy to keep a spray bottle beside the bed, in your handbag or desk drawer and simply pull out and spray when you feel a hot flush coming on. I find them particularly refreshing on the face and pulse points of the wrist.
Three of the favoured ones for menopausal flushes are lavender, peppermint and rose. Each have slightly different benefits for menopausal symptoms. The descriptions below are a guideline to help you make the best choice.
Lavandula angustifolia – lavender
Hot Flushes with accompanied anxiety, irritability, stress or poor sleep are often helped with Lavandula angustifolia or lavender aromatic water. Irritability, stress and poor sleep aggravate hot flushes.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine lavender is energetically considered cooling particularly for the liver.
You could also spray the lavender aromatic water on your pillow to aid sleep.
Mentha piperita – peppermint
Mentha piperita or peppermint has a somewhat contradictory warming and cooling effect on the body. In small amounts it has a cool, fresh feel on the skin making it ideal for hot flushes.
The clarity of peppermint also makes this a better choice for those with menopausal mental fog, lack of focus or concentration.
Rosa damascena – rose
Finally, Rosa damascena or rose aromatic water. This is one of my personal favourites. I find it immensely uplifting, yet cool and calming. Rose is described as a cooling astringent.
I would favour this aromatic water for women with acne rosacea and have prescribed the aromatic water, in combination with other herbs, for patients with acne rosacea. Acne rosacea can affect some women during menopause.
Rose is a traditional aphrodisiac so may also help with a low libido. I often add rose buds or petals to a herbal tea blend. In addition to the medicinal benefits, it makes a particularly aromatic and pretty tea.
Sourcing Aromatic Waters
Note: Please be sure to purchase pure aromatic waters, hydrosols or hydrolats for therapeutic use. Some products are simply a few drops of essential oil in water and alcohol. These are not aromatic waters and must not be taken internally.
The three discussed above will have a shelf life of at least 18 months, if stored correctly, and probably longer for rose.
My top choice for herbal tea natural remedies to help with hot flushes are sage and red clover. As mentioned above I also like rose added to a herbal blend.
Salvia officinalis – sage
First of all the wonderful Salvia officinalis, more commonly known as sage. This is a great herb to have growing on hand in the garden or in a pot as it has so many wonderful medicinal uses. However, in this post, we focus on its well deserved reputation for menopause.
It is probably the number one in my go to herb list of natural remedies to help with hot flushes and would be particularly suitable if additional problems with lack of concentration and focus or poor memory. Common symptoms of the menopause. The studies below highlight these qualities.
A clinical study by Bommer et al in 2011 found the mean total number of hot flushes per day decreased significantly each week over a period of 8 weeks in 71 women taking fresh sage.
Sage has also been reviewed quite extensively for its benefit on cognitive function. Miroddi et al in 2014 reviewed six of these studies and found Salvia officinalis enhanced cognitive performance in healthy subjects and patients with dementia or cognitive impairment.
Trifolium pratense – red clover
Red clover is another beneficial herb for menopausal hot flushes. This would be a favourable choice with any associated skin problems. In addition a study below highlights its benefit in vaginal dryness another common menopausal symptom.
The Journal of Phytomedicine published a review early in 2017. Myers et al reviewed several studies of Trifolium pratense (red clover) in the treatment of menopausal hot flashes and found a clinically significant benefit.
In addition, a study from 2016 published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found symptoms of vaginal atrophy were significantly helped with Trifolium pratense (Ghazanfarpour et al).
Sourcing Dried Herbs
Many herbs are easily grown in the garden or in pots. Sage is one of these herbs. Use herbs from the garden fresh and dry some for use overwinter or alternatively make into a plant tincture.
Red clover is a common wildflower. Caution is advised on picking where there may have been pesticide use.
Should you wish to purchase and use dried herb there are several options. In the UK stores like Woodland Herbs and Neal’s Yard Remedies offer an online delivery service. You should also be able to source these herbs from your local medical herbalist. In France several dried herbs are available from stalls in many of the outdoor markets or in the bio (organic) food stores.
Wearing layers is definitely best. Removing a layer at the onset of a flush can help the body adapt. Loose fitting clothes in breathable fabrics are also better.
As much as possible avoid stressful situations. This will aggravate flushes. Of course, this may not be easy if the stressful situation is work related.
The above are some of the more popular and easy to obtain natural remedies to help with hot flushes.