Nutrition – being a woman and the power of herbs

Posted on 30 June 2014

… a regular nutrition series for vegans by Anastacia Sampson

There are many women suffering from or experiencing some form of PMS (pre-menstrual stress). Then after that we must go through menopause!

Fresh herbs, pestle and mortar - photo courtesy of Amanda Dodds, Stock.XchngPMS often involves mood swings, headaches, cramping and sometimes nausea and upset stomachs, while menopause may present symptoms of night sweats and hot facial flushes.

This is a global issue generally, although some areas of the world tend to have a higher prevalence of these ‘problems’.  It is my personal thought that our diet and lifestyle greatly affect our hormones. Various studies indicate how we are affected by substances, such as plastics etc. We know that every cell in your body, every chemical in your body is composed from the food and beverages that you feed yourself! Do you realise just how much power you have over your body?

When you feed yourself ‘junk fuel’, your engine cannot run so well. Our body is like an engine – it has great power but needs care and proper high quality fuel to operate at optimum performance. Our thoughts and lifestyle also affect us yet our diet is such a key point that we often disregard.

So here we are as women, often we have processed foods. Considering being vegan, we consider ourselves still ok. The point is that we are probably better off than some other non-vegan women. Let’s be clear here on one point – by having dairy and meat (often loaded with hormones and antibiotics unless certified organic) we are pumping ourselves with toxins. Even organic would be feeding us with animal hormones. Those extra hormones do affect our delicate hormonal balance.

Even if we are vegan we may still have imbalances in our hormone levels, creating ill symptoms. Instead of a smooth transition to puberty, fertility, then menopause and infertility, we struggle as our body sends out symptoms. It takes a bit of consideration to work out the cause yet very simply a change in lifestyle and diet does wonders.

Herbalism is a wonderful support to remedy our body’s ails. Our body is all-natural; we should be feeding it natural remedies. Here are some natural aids for our troubled times:

  • Witch hazel herb – a super herb for excessive menstruation. You can buy this at health shops and at Dischem pharmacies. Boil the dried herb in clean water, then sieve it and sip as a tea. Although this herb is bitter it is very effective. Drink a cup 3 times a day during heavy menstruation.
  • Agnus castus – also known as chasteberry and a well-researched herb. This healing herb is ideal for regulating female hormones. There are cases where it has been effective for PMS, ovarian cysts and many other female problems. This herb is often available in capsule form for easy supplementing. It is very safe and can be taken for several months.
  • Ginger – a widely available spice and ideal for nausea that women endure during pregnancy or at any other times. Ginger is often known as a culinary spice and can be added to foods or made into a strong tea.
  • Black Cohosh – this herb is well-known for supporting women especially during menopause.

There are numerous powerfully effective herbs to help us regain our hormonal balance. Once you know about all the effects of herbs, using them correctly can be safe and effective. The use of herbs should be done with respect and some background knowledge. All herbs can have multiple super effects. That is why we should not abuse them.

Take care, Anastacia

Visit Vegan SA for more information on a vegan health.


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