Best Herbal Healing for Female Health from Puberty to Menopause
The life time journey of women is very complex. From childhood to teen age and later a woman, the female undergoes many changes. There are two main phases which occur in female life i.e. puberty and menopause, these two cause physiological change at the beginning and reproductive life cycle changes at the end. These are associated with neuroendocrine systems like hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. During this time period of puberty and menopause a woman experiences various physical and mental health outcomes like mood disorders, cancers, metabolism, autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular health etc. So, it is very important to maintain the health of a woman from puberty to even after menopause. In this article we are going to discuss some health issues during this time period and which herbs are best for female health in different stages of life.
Puberty is the time when a girl or boy becomes sexually mature. Puberty is a process that happens between ages of 12 and 16 for boys and 10 and 14 for girls. Puberty causes physical changes which affects girls and boys differently. The first sign of puberty in girls is development of the breast and second main sign is menstruation. The first menstrual cycle or first menstrual bleeding that occurs in females is known as menarche and cessation of this menstrual bleeding or menstrual cycle is known as Menopause.
Signs of Puberty in Females
- Growth of pubic hair and other body hair
- Growth spurt occur
- Breast development
- Onset of menstruation (after puberty is well advanced)
- Acne formation
- Most girls gain weight
Changes Before Menarche
Some changes in females occurs before the onset of menarche, these changes may include-
- Bloating in abdomen
- Soreness in breasts
- Pain in back
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Fatigue (feeling of tiredness)
- Feeling extra irritable or emotional
- Food cravings (especially for sweets)
- White or clear vaginal discharge
According to Ayurveda, Some Changes occur Before Menarche they may Include
- Romrajya (Pubic and axillary hair grow in females after specific age) (Shushrut Sutra-14/18)
- Dalhana includes- Artava (menstruation) and Stanya (Milk or breast formation)
- Due to accumulation of Raja (menstrual blood) gradual development of breasts, uterus and vagina along with vulva.
- Yoni (reproductive system) of the young girls under developed thus menstrual bleeding doesn’t occur but with natural maturity of Dhatus the menstrual bleeding or menstrual cycle starts i.e. known as menarche.
Signs of Menopause
- Menstruation is less frequent
- Lighter or heavier periods than normal periods
- Night sweats
- Hot flushes
- Flushing of the face
According to Ayurveda – The three energies (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) are liable for the good health of a person but when there is imbalance in these three energies (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) can lead to several diseases. Imbalance in Vata Dosha can lead to dryness, anxiety, insomnia, imbalance in Pitta Dosha can lead to excessive heat production in the body (Hot flashes) and Kapha Dosha’s imbalance can cause mood swing, depression etc. in the women.
Age of Puberty, Menarche and Menopause
- Age of Puberty- The average age of puberty in girls is 11. It is normal to have puberty from age of 8 to 14 years, because normally this process can take up to 4 years.
- Age of Menarche- The average age of menarche is about 12 years. Normally menarche can occur between the ages of 10 to 16 years.
- Age of Menopause- The average age of menopause in the females is 51 years of age but it can also happen in the 40s or 50s.
According to Ayurveda
- The age of menarche is Dwadhash i.e., 12 years of age
- The age of menopause is Panchashat i.e., 50 years of age.
Health Issues in Females that May Arises at Different Ages
1. Female Health Issues in Younger Age
The most common types of health issues in younger age may include:
1. Menstrual disorders
Some menstrual disorder may occur they may include:
- Amenorrhea– Absence or more of menstrual periods is known as amenorrhea. According to Ayurveda, it can be correlated with Anartava .
- Oligomenorrhea– Inconsistency and irregular menstrual blood flow is known as oligomenorrhea. According to Ayurveda it can be correlated with the kshinartava. The symptoms may include menstruation blood is scanty, associated with pain in the vagina which is caused by two Doshas i.e. Pitta with the Vayu (Shushrut Sharir- 2/4)
- Menorrhagia– It is generally excessive, prolonged and heavy bleeding. In Ayurveda it is correlated with the Asrigdar or Pradar (Charaka Chikitsa- 30/209) the symptoms may include like Rajapradiyete means excessive excretion of menstrual blood.
- Metrorrhagia– It is the condition in which menstrual bleeding occurs in irregular intervals. In Ayurveda it is also correlated with the Asrigdar or Pradar.
- Menometrorrhagia– In this condition heavy, irregular and prolonged menstrual bleeding occurs. It is correlated with Asrigdar or Pradar in Ayurveda.
- Polymenorrhea– The menstrual cycle which is shorter than the 21 days is known as polymenorrhea.
- Dysmenorrhoea– Dysmenorrhoea refers to painful periods. In Ayurveda it is correlated with Udavrta Yonivyapad (Charaka Chikitsa- 30/25-26). Acharya Charak said that due to aggravation of tha Apan Vayu movement of flatus (Natural urges) in reverse direction and fills the Yoni. The Yoni seizes with the pain and pushes the raja (menstrual blood) upward and discharges it with very difficulty. The woman feels relief after the discharge of menstrual blood.
Hormones like estrogen contribute to migraines. Some main causes of migraine are stress, alcohol, salty foods, and not enough or too much sleep.
2. Female Health in Middle Adulthood
Some health conditions can occur in middle adulthood age of the female. They may include:
- Breast Cancer- Breast cancer originates in the lining of the milk ducts which can spread from there to other organs. Breast cancer is the most common and aggressive type of cancer affecting females. Women with breast cancer may develop lumps in the breast. Most of the breast lumps are non-threatening.
- Ovarian and Cervical Cancer- Most of the people are not aware of ovarian and cervical cancer. Cervical cancer starts from the lower uterus and ovarian cancer starts from fallopian tubes. Both the conditions cause similar pain but cervical cancer causes pain and discharge during intercourse. Ovarian cancer is a very complex condition.
- Pregnancy Issues- Preexisting conditions like diabetes, asthma and depression can harm both child and the mother during pregnancy. Pregnancy can cause a condition called anemia (decrease in red blood cell count) in a healthy mother.
- Autoimmune Diseases- Autoimmune disease can occur when body cells attack healthy cells. Most common type of autoimmune disease which can occur is osteoporosis.
3. Female Health Later in Life
Some health issues that can occur later in life of a female may include:
- Heart Disease– Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in women. Some common heart diseases like high cholesterol, high blood pressure etc.
- Depression and Anxiety- The fluctuations in natural hormonal can lead to depression or anxiety. Most common type of mental health issues can occur in a female like Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Some Best Herbs for Female Health
1. Stanya Shodhak Dravya (Drugs possessing milk-purifying properties)
It include mainly ten herbs, they are: Patha (Cissampelos pareira)
- Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia)
- Surdaru (Cedrus deodara)
- Musta (Cyperus rotundus)
- Murva (Marsdenia tenacissima)
- Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
- Vatsak phala (Holarrhena antidysenterica )
- Kirattikat (Swertia chirata)
- Katurohini (Picrorhiza kurroa)
- Sariva (Hemidesmus indicus)
All these drugs have antioxidant, immunomodulatory and anti-microbial properties. These drugs include immunological, nutritional, health and developmental benefits like treating infectious diseases. These drugs have Immunomodulatory properties and boost the maternal immunity. Drugs of Stanyashodhana can be used either single or in combinations which enhance the qualities of breast milk and prevent the diseases.
2. Stanya janan dravya (Drugs increasing quantity of milk)
In these ten herbs are included, they are:
- Virana (Vetiveria Zizanioides)
- Shali variety of rice (Oryza Sativa)
- Shashtik variety of rice (Oryza Sativa)
- Ikshuvalika (Asteracantha Longifolia)
- Darbha (Cynodon Dactylon)
- Kusha (Desmostachya bipinnata)
- Kash (Saccharum Spontaneum)
- Gundra (Cyperus rotundus)
- Itkat (Sesbania Bispinosa)
- Katrina (Cymbopogon schoenanthus)
Stanyajanana dravyas include the herbs which are used in the form of decoction. These herbs are helpful in increasing breast milk production in feeding mothers. It also balances three energies of body i.e., Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The word Stanyajanana itself clarifies that it includes herbs which are capable of enhancing breast milk production.
3. Other important and helpful herbs which maintain health of the women
- Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) – It maintain reproductive health of the female and improves health issues like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hormonal imbalance, follicular growth and development, infertility and oocyte quality by increasing antioxidants level and reducing OS level in the body. It is also helpful in symptoms of menopause, boosting milk production, reducing anxiety and depression etc.
- Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) – Jatamansi helpful to maintain uterine health of the female. It has properties like anti-spasmodic that are helpful in reducing cramps discomfort and pain during menstrual bleeding. This herb is also useful in treating neuro-psychotic diseases and skin diseases as well.
- Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa) – Lodhra herb is useful in managing the female disorders like leucorrhea (vaginal discharge in excessive amount). Leucorrhea is caused by vaginal infections and can be managed by use of lodhra, as lodhra has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It is also helpful in managing excessive menstrual bleeding due to its hemostatic (stops bleeding) property and by promoting blood thickening by its astringent property. Lodhra is helpful in treatment of females suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
- Ashoka (Saraca indica) – Ashoka is helpful in treating many types of gynecological disorders. The bark of Ashoka works as a uterine tonic which is helpful in severe cramps, bloating, heavy bleeding, tiredness, and burning sensation during the time of menses. ?it is very effective in endometriosis (endometrium grows outside the uterus)
- Nirgundi (Vitex negundo) – Nirgundi is mainly helpful in balancing hormones. This herb reduces the secretion of prolactin hormone and levels out high levels of progesterone and estrogen. During mood swings this herb is helpful in reducing hormones which cause mood swings. It reduces discomfort during menstrual cramps, uterine fibroids and is also helpful in treating infertility.
Some Herbal Formulations for Female Health
1. Naari Kalyan Churna
This herbal formulation helps in providing relief in the symptoms of the menopause like hot flushes, mood swings,anxiety, insomnia etc. and support the whole reproductive system of the women. The ingredients of this remedy are Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) and Jatamnsi (Nardostachys jatamansi).
Dosage: – 1 teaspoonful two times daily with plain water after meals.
2. Pradrantak Churna
This is helpful in maintaining three energies (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) of the body and female health. It is used in treatment of menstrual abnormalities like excessive menstrual bleeding or amenorrhea. This remedy includes Ingredients like Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Ashoka (Saraca Indica) and Udumbur (Ficus glomerata).
Dosage: – 1 teaspoonful two times daily with plain water after meals.
3. Female Health Support
It is helpful in supporting female health by supporting the female reproductive system. The ingredients of the Female Health Support are Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Ashoka (Saraca indica) and Shatavari (Aspragus Asparagus racemosus).
Dosage: – 2 capsules two times daily with plain water after meals.
According to ancient context, some other herbal formulations which are helpful in maintaining female health and treating various female disorders are:
- Shatavari ghrita
- Pushyanug Churna
- Phala ghrita
- Maharasnadi kwatha
- Shalmali ghrita
- Shitkalyanak ghrita etc.
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Medicinal herbs are easily available without any adverse effects or side effects. Comparing the herbs or herbal formulations with allopathic medicines, the allopathic medicines are high with many adverse effects and side effects. So, it is impossible to take allopathic medicine continuously for a certain time period. Herbs or herbal formulations have 100% positive results in maintaining female health without any side effects. These are the excellent solutions for females to stay happy and healthy in different stages of Life starting from Puberty to use even after Menopause.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan
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