Herbal Remedies For Hot Flashes

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 Hot flashes, a sudden sensation of intense heat accompanied by flushing, rapid heartbeat, and sweating, are common symptoms experienced by many women during menopause. While hormone therapy is often prescribed to manage hot flashes, some women seek natural alternatives due to personal preferences or health concerns. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies available that can deliver relief and improve quality of life. This article will explore a range of evidence-based natural remedies for hot flashes, including lifestyle changes, herbal remedies, acupuncture, and mind-body techniques.

Lifestyle Changes

Certain lifestyle modifications can remarkably reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. These changes include:

a) Dressing in layers: Wearing lightweight, breathable clothing in layers allows for easy adjustment when experiencing a hot flash.

b) Managing stress: High levels of stress can trigger hot flashes. Engaging in stress-reducing movements such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or regular exercise can help manage stress and reduce the frequency of hot flashes.

c) Avoiding triggers: Certain foods, beverages, and lifestyle habits can trigger hot flashes. Limiting the consumption of caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and smoking may help reduce their occurrence.

d) Maintaining a healthy weight: Studies have shown that excess body weight increases the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Everyday physical activity and a balanced diet can aid in weight management.

Herbal Remedies For Hot Flashes

Various herbal remedies have been used for centuries to alleviate menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes. While scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness is limited, some herbal remedies may offer relief:

a) Black cohosh: This herb is one of the most studied natural remedies for menopausal symptoms. While its exact mechanism of action is still unclear, some studies suggest that black cohosh may help lower the frequency & severity of hot flashes. It is available in supplement form.

b) Red clover: Rich in isoflavones, red clover has estrogen-like properties that may help alleviate menopausal symptoms. However, additional research is needed to establish its efficacy specifically for hot flashes.

c) Dong quai: Widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai is believed to balance hormones and relieve menopausal symptoms. Limited studies have shown mixed results, so its effectiveness for hot flashes remains to be determined.

d) Evening primrose oil contains gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that may help regulate hormone levels. While some women report relief from hot flashes, more research is required to validate its effectiveness.


Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice, applies thin needles to particular points on the body. Some studies suggest that acupuncture may help reduce the frequency & severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. The exact mechanism behind its effectiveness is still being determined. Still, it is believed to modulate the body’s natural pain and stress responses. Acupuncture should be performed by a licensed practitioner specializing in treating menopausal symptoms.

Mind-body techniques

Mind-body techniques can help women cope with hot flashes by promoting relaxation and stress reduction. These techniques include:

a) Meditation: Regular mindfulness meditation practice can enhance emotional well-being and reduce the impact of hot flashes. Focusing on the present moment and adopting a non-judgmental attitude towards the sensations can help manage hot flashes effectively.

b) Yoga: Practicing yoga has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Certain yoga poses, such as forward bend and gentle inversions, can help calm the nervous system and regulate hormonal fluctuations.

c) Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to change negative thought patterns and behaviors. Studies have shown that CBT can help reduce the distress associated with hot flashes and improve overall quality of life.

While hot flashes can be challenging to manage during menopause, several natural remedies can provide relief without resorting to hormone therapy. Lifestyle changes, such as dressing in coatings and managing stress, are crucial in minimizing hot flashes. Though not extensively researched, herbal remedies like black cohosh and red clover have shown promise in alleviating symptoms. Acupuncture and mind-body techniques like meditation, yoga, and CBT offer additional avenues for relief.

It is important to note that every person is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. If hot flashes persist or significantly impact daily life, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for guidance. By exploring these natural remedies and finding the ones that function best for you, you can navigate the menopausal journey with increased comfort and well-being.

Here we discuss this with Hannah Charman, a medical herbalist, to get her thoughts on this topic.

Herbal Medicine

NourishDoc: How can herbal medicine help in menopause?

Medical Herbalist Hannah: So hot flushes are probably about the number one most common menopause symptom. And they can be triggered by lots of different things. If someone finds himself in a stressful situation, that can trigger a flush. And it can happen because you’ve got like little thermostat in your brain called your hypothalamus. 

And that becomes very sensitive to temperature changes and stress as we reach perimenopause, so it doesn’t take much; even a half-degree temperature change will often be enough to trigger a flush. So that’s where we need to look at if we want to resolve hot flushes. The sensitivity of the hypothalamus comes from low estrogen, so it tends to be a symptom that we get later on in perimenopause; we tend to get higher estrogen levels. So earlier in perimenopause, your estrogen levels fluctuate, but they can go very high at certain points, sometimes four times as high as they would normally. So you get this kind of ever-increasing amount of estrogen in peaks and troughs, and then towards the end, you get that drop-off, which gives us the hot flushes. 


So we can do many different things with herbs and medicinal foods to calm those fluctuations and help prevent that. So, phytoestrogen is the substance we find in foods and herbs that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, they’re like weak forms of estrogen, they’re not as powerful as your homemade version, but they’re good enough to help calm these fluctuations down. There are lots of different kinds of phytoestrogens, if your estrogen levels are too high, it will help to bring them down. If they’re too low, it will help raise them slightly. So phytoestrogens, you’ll find in things like soy, fermented soy is the best kind to have, which is the type they use over in Asia.

Soy was the first crop to be genetically modified so that it could be sprayed with higher amounts of pesticide. If you can find good quality organic fermented soy in miso, soy sauce, tempeh, or natto. A specific quieter estrogen hot flash, though, is sage. So it’s common, the common sage that you might have in your garden. Suppose you want to look up the Latin name Salvia Officinalis. 

Lifestyle considerations

 Sage is beneficial, and fennel is also slightly phytoestrogen as well as licorice. So you can probably get herbal teas with those in quite easily. And you can have flax seeds. So there are studies that have shown that 40 grams of flaxseed a day drastically reduces hot flushes. And there are lifestyle things you can do as well. By swimming there’s quite a movement of women in particular who like to go jumping in lakes and rivers and things of a weekend and having a swim. And, you know, that’s got a multitude of health benefits, one of which is that it helps to reduce hot flashes. So there are certainly lots of different options for you.

We have herbs that will influence hormone levels by working on the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, where your hormones are made. So they influence that access, but they are not phytoestrogens themselves. So herbs like Vytex Agnes Casitas will normalize progesterone levels. And occasionally, you can see that it is implicated in hot flashes, particularly after menopause.

If you’re getting hot flushes after menopause, that’s when you might use her by biotechs. But again, you need to be a little bit careful how you use certain herbs, and Vytex is one of them because it’s a really powerful herb. And if you get your dosage wrong, it can cause problems. So although herbs, on the whole, are very safe, they’re natural. They’re a natural form of medicine that we’ve all used all over the world forever; you still have to have some respect for them and some basic knowledge of what you’re doing, particularly if you’re taking other forms of medication.

NourishDoc: Anything else you would like to share?
Medical Herbalist Hannah: No, just the herbs are brilliant. And people need to realize how good and powerful they can be. So yeah, definitely have a look at that as a treatment option. Suppose you’re struggling with perimenopause, particularly if you don’t want to take HRT. It is a good viable option.


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