Experiencing menopause? Hot flushes, dry skin, insomnia, night sweats, Chinese medicine can help
Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s ageing process, involving changes in the reproductive system. The most striking of these changes is a severe drop in estrogen that occurs around this time. In many women this may cause a series of unpleasant symptoms, for which they seek medical help. These symptoms, referred to as the premenopausal syndrome or more simply, the menopausal syndrome, are characterized by hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, forgetfulness, etc.
Ancient Chinese medical theories and menopause
According to the five elements of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a woman’s reproductive cycle belongs to Water. This, in turn relates to the energies of the Kidney which follow a seven year cycle. In the TCM classics it is stated: ‘the reproductive physiology of woman is such that “at seven years of age a woman’s kidney energy becomes full, her permanent teeth come in, and her hair grows long. At fourteen years … menstruation begins, and conception is possible. At twenty-one years the kidney energy is strong and healthy, the wisdom teeth appear, and the body is vital and flourishing. At twenty-eight years the bones and tendons are developed and the hair and secondary sex characteristics are complete. This is the height of female development. At thirty-five years … the muscles begin to atrophy, facial wrinkles appear and the hair begins to thin. At forty-two … the entire face is wrinkled, and hair begins to turn grey. At forty-nine years … the flow of the menses ceases and the woman is no longer able to conceive.”
Menopausal syndrome in TCM
The declining energy of the Kidney system, along with the decline of other bodily systems, is responsible for the unpleasant symptoms of the menopause. In particular, as the Kidney is regarded as the ‘root’ of the body, it plays a major role in balancing the metabolism, regulating body temperature, maintaining normal mental functions, along with sexual and reproductive capacity. For these reasons traditional Chinese doctors recommend various lifestyle and dietary changes, together with special herbal formulations, in order to replenish the Kidney energies and slow their decline. In most traditional cultures, including the Chinese, there has been a very low incidence of menopause related problems, due not only to social factors but also the traditional wisdom of following a suitable diet, work, and exercise program to ease the transition into menopause.
Chinese medicine refers to organs such as Kidney, Heart, Spleen & Liver in a symbolic way that encompasses much more than the western understanding of the organ however the TCM reference to these organs is more metaphorical rather than a direct reference to the biology of the organ is western terms.
In TCM the health of the organs (Kidney, Heart, Spleen & Liver) determine the symptoms of each woman’s menopause. The health of these organs and the symptoms of menopause is dependent upon TCM elements of Excess Fire 实火, Phlegm Damp 湿痰, Blood Stagnation 血瘀 & Qi Stagnation 气滞. Each woman’s symptoms will be determined by the balance of these elements.
These elements could be approximated to relate to Inflammation (Excess Fire 实火), fluid or mucous (Phlegm Damp 湿痰) resulting from inflammation, restricted circulation (Blood Stagnation 血瘀) & nerve dysfunction (Qi Stagnation 气滞).
Chinese herbal medicine for menopausal syndrome
Chinese herbal medicine provides excellent support for a woman’s unique needs at the time of menopause. There are many herbal combinations that have been developed over several millennia, which strengthen the Kidney and other bodily systems, balance the metabolism, restore mental function and bring harmony to the emotions.
Scientific studies have confirmed that many Chinese herbal combinations are able to improve the bodies ability to make use of estrogen, so even though there is less available, the system is still able to function normally. Other beneficial effects include moistening the skin and vagina, improving general energy levels and restoring libido. Below are some examples of formula that are commonly prescribed for menopause symptoms. There are many other formula that could be used. This is only a small example.
It is important to remember that as each person is a unique individual, so too each type of physical imbalance is also unique. A skilled professional is able to diagnose accurately and prescribe the best Chinese herbal medicines for your particular condition.
Only A Grade Chinese medicine is dispensed at the Health Essence clinic. TCM medicines are produced to the most rigorous standards by an Australian GMP (Good Manufacturing Standard) certified manufacturers in China and Taiwan. This means that every step of production is subject to strict quality control. All of these medicines must pass tests for safety, purity and potency.