As women, it can be difficult to embrace the natural transitions in life, especially when society places the majority of a woman’s value on her youth and beauty. For those of us seeking to welcome these life changes with open arms, it can be difficult to do so gracefully, especially considering the many pains and difficulties that come with menopause.
A transformative phase, menopause signals the end of a woman’s reproductive years… but also brings with it a host of uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and headaches. If you are a believer in supporting your body with natural herbs, there are a number of beautiful and useful plants that can be powerful allies, offering relief during this journey.
Here are some of the best herbs for menopause and headaches.
The first herb on this list is one that has earned its reputation in easing menopause symptoms: black cohosh. Also known scientifically as Cimicifuga racemosa, black cohosh is a flowering plant that natively grows in North American woodlands. This herb has been historically cherished by tribes of indigenous people across North America.
To this day, black cohosh continues to be recognized for its ability to alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, and headaches. While the exact mechanisms remain uncertain, some studies suggest that Black Cohosh may mimic estrogen in the body, offering respite from hormonal imbalances and associated symptoms.
Wisdom comes from every corner of the world. Just as Native Americans prized black cohosh, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have appreciated the value of the herb dong quai, also known as Angelica sinensis. Often referred to as the "female ginseng," it has been treasured for centuries for its hormone-balancing effects.
By supporting the balance of hormones in the female body, dong quai may help manage menopausal symptoms such as headaches, hot flashes, and mood swings. Additionally, its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties can offer relief from menopause-related headaches.
One 2004 study put dong quai’s benefits as an herb for women to the test, finding that 39% of women who were administered a twice-daily dose of dong quai had a marked improvement in pain symptoms related to their menstrual cycle. However, this is inconclusive, as 54% of the women involved in the study said that while their symptoms were less severe, dong quai was not enough to manage them on its own.
Depending on your interpretation of the nomenclature, this herb’s name may not sound encouraging. As it turns out, the name “feverfew” actually stems from the Latin word febriguia, which roughly translates into “fever reducer.” Knowing this, it makes sense that feverfew (also known as Tanacetum parthenium ) has been traditionally used to help alleviate the symptoms related to fever, namely headaches.
Feverfew can be one of your most powerful herbal allies when combating the migraines and headaches that go hand-in-hand with menopause. In fact, modern studies have echoed the herb’s historical use, finding that feverfew may be effective as a way to help relieve headaches.
When it comes to herbs for menopause and headaches that also taste great in your recipes, sage ( Salvia officinalis) takes the cake. Sage has been used in many traditional remedies, including as a way to ward off evil, making it an extremely sacred herb to a number of indigenous communities across the globe.
Studies have shown that sage has the ability to manage menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, both of which often contribute to headaches during menopause. Sage's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties provide a holistic, natural approach to tackling these discomforts.
A refreshing herb that holds immense potential in soothing headaches is peppermint, also known by its Latin name, Mentha piperita. Though it can be a hassle in a garden due to the fact that it grows quickly and without abandon, peppermint is a fantastic herb for menopause and headaches.
One of peppermint’s most popular draws is its menthol content, which acts as a muscle relaxant and has been proven to alleviate headaches that are associated with menopause. Whether enjoyed as a calming tea or through aromatherapy, peppermint can offer relaxation and much-needed relief from headaches. However, it's important to exercise caution with peppermint oil, as it may cause skin irritation for some individuals.
Herbs for Menopause and Headaches: Finding Holistic Health
Menopause marks a landmark time in every woman’s life, but it shouldn’t be marred with uncomfortable symptoms. These herbs—black cohosh, dong quai, feverfew, sage, and peppermint—have been used as herbs for women's health ( menopause and headaches) by generations of women that came before us.