For a lot of women, menopause can be a nightmare. With a total hormonal imbalance, it wreaks havoc on our bodies. But ashwagandha for menopause may be the light at the end of the tunnel.
Do you want to find a natural way to balance your hormones during menopause? Not interested in going the hormone replacement therapy route? If you are looking for natural remedies to soothe your menopausal symptoms, ashwagandha might turn your nightmare into a dream come true.
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What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is an herb that has been around for centuries. It’s part of the Withania or Nightshade* family and is sometimes called Indian Ginseng.
It’s been used in indigenous and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. However, it’s just now becoming a popular herb in the western world.
The plant is native to the drier regions of India and has been used as a natural remedy for things like stress and anxiety, swelling and joint pain, memory loss, and to prevent the effects of aging.
When ashwagandha (or parts of it) is consumed, it releases loads of antioxidants and health-supporting phytochemicals. It’s packed with good stuff like fatty acids, potassium, tannins, flavonoids, and iron. It’s why it’s been used in traditional medicine forever.
The plant produces small orange berries with papery skins or husks like a tomatillo. Those berries are edible, but the root of the plant is what is super potent. The dried root contains natural steroids called withanolides, which have all sorts of healing properties.
If you want to see what Ashwagandha looks like, check out our video (05:17) when Risa visited an herb farm.
Ashwagandha the Adaptogen
An adaptogen is a plant-based, non-toxic substance that helps the body resist and adapt to the damaging effects of stress. It restores and enhances the body’s resilience.
It works by lowering the stress threshold, which in turn supports your adrenal glands which is vital when our hormones decide it’s time to take on an alter ego of evil (aka menopause). A lot of women who look beyond HRT use adaptogens for hormone balance.
Ashwagandha is renowned for its adaptogenic benefits.
The incredible thing about it is the ability to respond to what our body needs in a specific moment. Adaptogens can either calm you down or stimulate you, depending on the moment. It’s like magic.
And just like magic, it promotes hormonal balance, which means it could be a godsend for menopausal women.
Benefits of Ashwagandha for Menopause
This power plant has a bevy of benefits for women.
In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is rasayana, or rejuvenative. It encourages mental and physical strength. It promotes vitality and keeps the body’s checks and balances, in well, balance.
And let’s be real, when menopause is kicking our asses and turning us into she-devils, we need to fight back. We can’t let that bitch win.
So ashwagandha for menopause to the rescue.
Let’s get to it…
1. Ashwagandha the Hormone Balancer
During perimenopause and menopause, our hormones tend to do whatever the hell they want.
Ashwagandha is one of the best adaptogenic herbs for hormone balance. It targets the endocrine system, which secretes hormones into our blood and can balance it out and control the flow. In turn, it can counter some of the menopausal symptoms like mood swings, night sweats, stress, insomnia, and waning sexual desire.
Buh-bye bitchy PMS-ish mood swings. Hello, happiness.
2. Ashwagandha the Mood Booster/Stress Buster
Life is stressful. Menopause is stressful. And we all know that stress does terrible things to our minds and bodies. So, we try our best to do something that’ll help us deal with our stress. We meditate, exercise, read, even have a glass of wine.
But the challenge is that it comes down to cortisol, our stress hormone. So, while those things may temporarily reduce stress and elevate our mood, if cortisol is running amuck, it’s hard to gain control.
Stress levels and cortisol are also instrumental in muscle loss, hair loss, wrinkles, weight gain, and it blocks our memory power. So, a big F-You goes out to cortisol, amiright?
Ashwagandha targets cortisol production. It reduces its secretion and stops it from spiking. That means it helps control your stress levels. Which makes us all healthier, happy campers.
When cortisol is balanced, it’s like a domino effect for the overall health of your body and mind.
3. Ashwagandha for Aging Gracefully
Ashwagandha is chock-full of antioxidants. Antioxidants crush free radicals, which cause cell damage from things like pollution and the sun. Those free radicals cause fine lines and wrinkles that age us faster.
Using ashwagandha can help reduce the signs of aging. It boosts estrogen and collagen, which diminishes as we enter menopause. It fights wrinkles, dark spots and blemishes and helps restore that rosy youthful glow.
And let’s not forget what stress does to our skin and hair, so thankfully, ashwagandha handles that for us as well.
4. Ashwagandha for a Balanced Thyroid
During menopause, our estrogen levels drop. Estrogen and thyroid function are linked. So, menopausal women are more prone to underactive thyroids or hypothyroidism.
The thyroid gland produces essential T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) hormones and must be equalized so the body’s cells can perform properly. Studies have shown that taking ashwagandha regularly increases T3 and T4.
5. Ashwagandha for Better Sex
The Kamasutra, the ancient Indian text on sexuality, mentions ashwagandha. So, ya know, it’s got to be good for something, right?
During menopause, sexual desire may wane, but ashwagandha is known for its aphrodisiac effects.
A 2015 study found women who took the root extract for eight weeks had improved vaginal lubrication, increased arousal, and better orgasms.
And if that wasn’t enough good news, they reported zero side effects.
Ashwagandha for the win!
How to Use Ashwagandha for Menopause
The whole plant – root, berries and leaves all carry the good stuff. It’s been made into tinctures, oils, poultices and added to ghee. But more commonly nowadays, it’s used in powder form in capsules.
Capsules are definitely the easiest way to take it and a little more foolproof than the other options.
Before taking ashwagandha for menopause, you should visit an Ayurvedic doctor or health practitioner. It’s never wise to take anything, even an herb, without consulting someone.
Check out our interview with Ayurvedic physician Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya on Modern Aging’s YouTube Channel to learn more about Ayurveda.
There are a lot of supplements out there, so it’s essential to read the ashwagandha for menopause reviews before you buy anything.
Here are our recommendations:
It is also possible to use ashwagandha and HRT together but be sure to discuss it with your doctor.
Can you take black cohosh and ashwagandha together?
Herbs usually can be taken together, but it’s always best to get advice from a professional if this is your first time trying them.
Does taking shatavari and ashwagandha for menopause really help?
Each menopause herb has benefits, but they affect every person differently. When you first start taking them, it takes time to figure out which is the best herb for menopause for you.
Does ashwagandha help with menopause weight loss?
A lot of the reason we gain weight during menopause is because of the hormonal imbalance and cortisol. Women put on weight around the middle during menopause which is a direct result of a cortisol imbalance. So, since ashwagandha balances cortisol, it may help with weight loss. Or to control weight.
Can Ashwagandha be taken along with multivitamins?
Yes. It’s important to continue taking your multivitamins daily. It’s essential to keep your immune system strong. However, since taking too many things at once can upset your stomach, try to take them a little bit apart. Or with different meals just in case you have a sensitive stomach.
*If you are allergic to nightshades, do not take this herb. It’s the same family.
The Wrap Up
There are a lot of herbs for perimenopause and menopause. But choosing which ones can lead to a lot of trial and error. Ashwagandha, shatavari, black cohosh and holy basil are all top herbs for hot flashes, hormone balance and menopause relief. However, the results are different for everyone.
What we do know is for centuries, women have found ashwagandha to be one of the best herbs for menopause.
It’s certainly worth a try.
Have you tried it?
Tell me in the comments below.
Note: This article is for educational purposes only. You should consult your doctor to treat any illnesses or symptoms of perimenopause.