Menopause is the natural decline of female reproductive hormone production and the conclusion of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It usually begins sometime in the 40s or 50s. Common menopause symptoms include hot flashes, brain fog, vaginal dryness, chills, night sweats, weight gain, irregular periods, decreased sex drive, poor sleep, bone loss, headaches, and stress. If you are going through it now, you are probably thinking, “no kidding.”
As hormone levels fluctuate, there are more incidences of anxiety, mood swings, and feelings of distress. Some of the physical changes associated with menopause, especially hot flashes, can be difficult to cope with and impair sleep, leading to more stress.[i] This ends up being a cycle difficult to manage. Women who are more anxious may experience an increased number of hot flashes and/or more severe or intense hot flashes.
Starting with Sage
With the title of this blog including the word “sage,” I figured it would be great to start our botanicals for menopause symptoms with the herb sage. The genus Salvia, commonly known as sage, is the largest member of the mint family containing over 900 species throughout the world.[ii] Historically, sage use dates to over 4000 years; ancient Egyptians believed it helped with infertility.[iii] Sage has a longstanding reputation as a traditional herbal remedy used by ancient Greek and Roman, Ayurvedic, Native American, and Chinese folk medicines. For centuries, the botanical has been used for pain relief, inflammatory issues, hot flashes, digestive problems, gas, bloating, elevated blood fats, cognitive performance, and memory.[iv]
Since there are many potential plants that may be confused with common sage, it is imperative to know where your sage originates. Enter SibeliusTM: Sage. SibeliusTM: Sage is a unique and specific extract of the sage species common sage (Salvia officinalis). The unique and specific Sibelius®: Sage extract is derived from plants grown in the UK. The herbal extract has a unique profile when analyzed. Different varieties of Salvia officinalis grown under the same conditions, and even the same variety of Salvia Officinalis grown at the same location but harvested at a different time, do not necessarily react the same.
Science of Sage and menopause symptoms
Research with sage shows that when taken daily over an extended period, sage reduces overall symptoms of menopause, such as flushing, night sweats, palpitations, sleep problems, and memory.[v]
More Botanical Sage Advice for Menopause
Hot Flash Night Sweat Support
Black cohosh (Remifemin®)
This herb has successfully been used to support women during menopause, with few adverse effects. It helps to alleviate symptoms of hot flashes, sleep disorders, body pains, irritability, and mood swings.[viii] [ix][x] The majority of successful studies with regard to black cohosh and the symptoms of menopause were with standardized extracts and not the whole herb.
While red clover is often looked at to support the symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats and hot flashes[xi], research also shows it is beneficial for stress, mood, and other mental wellness concerns.[xii]
Numerous studies have shown that consuming saffron extract helps in multiple areas with regard to mental wellness. With regards to our topic, saffron has been shown to benefit in stress, mood, sleep, and the symptoms of menopause.[xv] [xvi] [xvii] [xviii]
Ashwagandha (Sensoril®, KSM-66®)
Ashwagandha helps to reduce stress levels by working on the central nervous system and the adrenals to reduce cortisol (the main stress hormone). Studies have shown that ashwagandha can help improve sleep, which is a major contributing factor to how we handle stress.[xix]
A study in Australia reported that ALL participants said improvements in sleep quality duration and reduced the number of times waking up throughout the night.
MaizinolTM studies have shown it improves sleep quality (deep sleep), increases total time asleep, binds to melatonin receptors in the brain (melatonin is considered the sleep hormone), and helps to regulate melatonin production. This is an up-and-coming ingredient for those with sleep issues.
Fenugreek extract (Libifem®)- addressing desire, arousal, and hormones
Libifem® works excellently for women by supporting healthy hormone levels (estradiol and testosterone ratios) and has been shown to increase sexual arousal, desire, frequency, and satisfaction in healthy women.
Damiana extract (Liboost)- addressing circulation, libido, and hormones
Liboost helps women by improving sexual desire, decreasing vaginal wall thinning, increasing vaginal lubrication, decreasing pain during intercourse, and increasing sexual desire.
The list of supplements with proven benefits for menopause symptoms is not as large as many think. While there is a lot of anecdotal information available, it is always best to follow the science. If you or a loved one are having concerns with the symptoms of menopause, consider combining the supplements mentioned above and creating your own “at-home kit” specific to your needs. There shouldn’t be any interactions with the list mentioned above. It’s time to feel better!
[ii] Hamidpour M, Hamidpour R, Hamidpour S, Shahlari M. Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Medicinal Property of Sage (Salvia) to Prevent and Cure Illnesses such as Obesity, Diabetes, Depression, Dementia, Lupus, Autism, Heart Disease, and Cancer. J Tradit Complement Med. 2014;4(2):82-8
[iv] Natural Medicines Website: https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=504 Last reviewed 8/14/2019, Accessed September 4, 2019
[v] Zeidabadi A, Yazdanpanahi Z, Dabbaghmanesh MH, Sasani MR, Emamghoreishi M, Akbarzadeh M. The effect of Salvia officinalis extract on symptoms of flushing, night sweat, sleep disorders, and score of forgetfulness in postmenopausal women. J Family Med Prim Care. 2020;9(2):1086-1092
[vi] Scholey, Andrew B., et al. “An Extract of Salvia (Sage) with Anticholinesterase Properties Improves Memory and Attention in Healthy Older Volunteers.” Psychopharmacology, vol. 198, no. 1, 2008, pp. 127–139., doi:10.1007/s00213-008-1101-3.
[vii] Kennedy DO et al., Effects of cholinesterase inhibiting sage (Salvia officinalis) on mood, anxiety, and performance on a psychological stressor battery. Neuropsychopharmacology 2006 Apr;31(4):845-52.
[viii] Liske E, Hänggi W, Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, Boblitz N, Wüstenberg P, Rahlfs VW. Physiological investigation of a unique extract of black cohosh (Cimicifugae racemosae rhizoma): a 6-month clinical study demonstrates no systemic estrogenic effect. J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2002 Mar;11(2):163-74. doi: 10.1089/152460902753645308. PMID: 11975864.
[ix] Vermes G, Bánhidy F, Acs N. The effects of remifemin on subjective symptoms of menopause. Adv Ther. 2005 Mar-Apr;22(2):148-54. doi: 10.1007/BF02849885. PMID: 16020404.
[x] Oktem M, Eroglu D, Karahan HB, Taskintuna N, Kuscu E, Zeyneloglu HB. Black cohosh and fluoxetine in the treatment of postmenopausal symptoms: a prospective, randomized trial. Adv Ther 2007;24:448-61.
[xi] Myers SP, Vigar V. Effects of a standardised extract of Trifolium pratense (Promensil) at a dosage of 80mg in the treatment of menopausal hot flushes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytomedicine. 2017 Jan 15;24:141-147. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2016.12.003
[xii] ipovac M, Chedraui P, Gruenhut C, et al. Improvement of postmenopausal depressive and anxiety symptoms after treatment with isoflavones derived from red clover extracts. Maturitas 2010;65:258-61.
[xiii] Morin CM, Koetter U, Bastien C, et al. Valerian-hops combination and diphenhydramine for treating insomnia: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Sleep 2005;28:1465-71
[xiv] Heyerick, A., Vervarcke, S., Depypere, H., Bracke, M., and De Keukeleire, D. A first prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the use of a standardized hop extract to alleviate menopausal discomforts. Maturitas 5-20-2006;54(2):164-175
[xv] Agha-Hosseini M, Kashani L, Aleyaseen A, et al. Crocus sativus L. (saffron) in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial. BJOG 2008;115:515-9.
[xvi] Talaei A, Hassanpour Moghadam M, Sajadi Tabassi SA, Mohajeri SA. Crocin, the main active saffron constituent, as an adjunctive treatment in major depressive disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot clinical trial. J Affect Disord. 2015 Mar 15;174:51-6
[xvii] Milajerdi A, Jazayeri S, Shirzadi E, et al. The effects of alcoholic extract of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) on mild to moderate comorbid depression-anxiety, sleep quality, and life satisfaction in type 2 diabetes mellitus: A double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complement Ther Med. 2018;41:196-202.
[xviii] Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Metse AP, Drummond PD. Effects of saffron on sleep quality in healthy adults with self-reported poor sleep: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Clin Sleep Med. 2020;16(6):937-947
[xix] Auddy B, Hazra J, Mitra A, Abedon B, Ghosal S, A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study ,JANA Vol. 11, No. 1, 2008 50-56