As I reflect upon my years of medical practice, one prevailing concern stands out – the challenges women face as they journey through their late thirties into their fifties, a phase punctuated by the capricious dance of hormones.
Amidst these transitions, a familiar and unwelcome guest often emerges: the notorious hot flash. It's a phenomenon that can disrupt even the most composed individuals. But there is relief to be had. Ayurveda has taught me that there is a path to hormonal equilibrium and offers a range of natural remedies that extend far beyond the constraints of conventional medicine.
Understanding Hot Flashes and Hormonal Changes
In the intricate fabric of Ayurveda's wisdom, I found the key to unlocking the enigma of hormonal balance. This traditional understanding of hormones is not just confined to levels and metrics but delves into the very essence of their fluctuations. As I've witnessed in countless patients, the root cause of hot flashes isn't always a straightforward matter of estrogen levels. Instead, it's the intricate interplay of fluctuating hormones triggered by our responses to stress. Living in an era where responsibilities and pressures have escalated exponentially, it's no surprise that hormonal imbalances have become a common thread among women.
Seed Cycling for Hormonal Equilibrium
My first piece of advice is to consult with a holistic healthcare practitioner like a Naturopathic Physician, Functional Medicine Doctor or an Ayurvedic Practitioner who can help you better understand your hormonal cycle's nuance and where you are at in your hormonal lifecycle. For something as delicate as finding the right hormonal balance for you, you will want to have a knowledgeable partner by your side to quicken your path to relief.
One of the most intriguing tools I've encountered on this journey is the practice of seed cycling. Tailored to your hormonal cycle, this practice involves incorporating specific seeds into your diet at precise times to mitigate the symptoms of hormonal imbalance, hot flashes included. However, I must emphasize the importance of precision – the wrong seeds, or incorrect quantities, can inadvertently worsen the very symptoms you aim to alleviate. Sesame seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are among some the seeds that are often used in seed cycling; when you look at ancient cultures, these seeds were commonly included in diets for women after pregnancy and during menopause because of their hormone balancing properties.
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Rosewater Remedy: A Refreshing Approach to Hot Flash Relief
Amid the spectrum of Ayurvedic solutions, rosewater emerges as a refreshing remedy. Crafting this elixir is a simple endeavor – dried organic rose petals, a mason jar filled with distilled water, and a few days of patience. The resulting rosewater not only provides immediate relief during hot flashes but also weaves into your daily routine as a skincare essential. A soothing spritz in the morning and before bedtime is a personal ritual that has elevated my well-being in profound ways. Here is my recipe for the rosewater that I make—it’s the perfect concentration of rose that works best for me at my current hormonal state. You may notice that you need more rose petals to bring down the heat.
What You Will Need:
- 16 oz of filtered or distilled water
- 1 heaping tablespoon of organic rose petals (you can add more if you want a greater cooling affect)
- Natural preservative (there are several on the market—I use is a brand called Leucidal Liquid Complete)
How to Make:
Add the roses to the water and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days until the petals lose their color (this creates a cold infusion). Remove the petals and add your natural preservative to the remaining liquid. Shake so the contents are thoroughly mixed and transfer to a spray bottle. Keep the spray bottle in the fridge for longer freshness and for the additional chill factor.
Balancing Hormones for Long-Term Relief
Herbs have always held a special place in Ayurveda, and my years of practice have highlighted four that have shown remarkable prowess in hormonal management. Vitex, ashwagandha, brahmi, and shankhpushpi– each with its unique strengths.
- Vitex, an Ayurvedic gem, serves as a tonic for hormonal balance.
- Ashwagandha, renowned for its stress-reducing abilities, pairs seamlessly with brahmi to tame the heat of hot flashes.
- Shankhpushpi, a hidden treasure that often escapes the limelight, but its impact on hormonal health is undeniable.
My own journey through hormonal changes witnessed the transformation these herbs can bring – from mental well-being to skin health, they've been steadfast allies.
While Ayurveda offers a vast palette of solutions, some paths must be chosen with caution. Shatavari, an herb celebrated for its benefits, isn't a universal elixir. In certain women, it can exacerbate estrogen dominance, emphasizing the need for individualized approaches. In my practice, I've reserved shatavari for cases where estrogen levels have settled into balance, harnessing its potential at the right moment.
Beyond hormonal management, Ayurveda underscores the significance of overall well-being. Often, even in our twenties, hormonal imbalances can be present. To address this, I've seen the power of early interventions, with women in their twenties benefiting from herbs like Vitex to restore equilibrium.
But it's not only about herbs and elixirs; it's a comprehensive approach that Ayurveda teaches. Aloe vera, a humble succulent, extends its cooling embrace as a soothing tonic. Meditation, a practice ingrained in Ayurvedic philosophy, becomes a cornerstone. Its impacts extend far beyond hot flash relief, resonating deeply with the essence of hormonal equilibrium.
Seeds of Wisdom
As my journey through hormonal changes continues, I find solace in the practices I advocate. My path has been one of empowerment. The lessons learned, both as a doctor and a woman, underscore the importance of embracing natural remedies, holistic approaches, and the timeless wisdom of Ayurveda. As you embark on your own journey towards hormonal harmony, remember that consultation with a natural medicine healthcare practitioner is of tremendous help to inform you of where you are currently in the shifting hormonal cycle. With Ayurveda's guiding light, the intricate dance of hormones can be harmonized, leading you to a life of well-being and vitality. Here's to health and happiness on your path.