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Specific Herbs For Womenby Dave Foreman
The month of May means Mother's Day, and for me that means focusing on women's health. So let's take a look at general health through the many different stages of womanhood. The foundation of women's health is three-pronged. One needs to support the basics of health, address potential pitfalls, and prepare for the future. After you accomplish these three things, you can then address some of the other health issues that may not be specific to women's health.
As you age, the demands of life and the changes in your body will gradually change your foundational requirements. I always start with the 4 Pillars of Great Health; Supplementation, Diet, Exercise and Mental Health. The Dietary, Physical and Mental aspects are basically the same as we age, but the supplementation will change.
With regards to supplementation for women, I suggest starting with a good Multivitamin and mineral formula (MVI). If you are still having your period, I recommend your Multivitamin contain Iron. If not, then you may not need a Multivitamin fortified with iron unless your health care provider advises it. There are several vitamin lines (New Chapter and Enzymatic Therapy) available that specifically address the needs of women and they even offer formulas designed for specific women's age groups.
Many women have concerns about Osteoporosis. You should (so should men) be concerned. A Naturopathic Doctor friend of mine always says that you are putting bone in the bank up until you are 18. After that, you are trying to maintain/not lose what you already have built. Osteoporosis is not an old lady's disease. You need to prepare today for tomorrow.Weightbearing activities like walking (for the lower body) and lifting (for the upper body) are the best things you can do to prevent this horrible disease. Aside from this, supplementing with Calcium is an important and widely accepted practice. What often gets overlooked are the other key nutrients needed to support bone health. I never recommend taking any one mineral by itself. Minerals work either together or against each other and therefore should be taken in a balanced blend. Some of the newer Coral Mineral supplements will provide a natural balanced source of all minerals including the trace minerals that are not common in the American Diet.Vitamin D may be the next most, if not the most, important supplement for bone health. You need vitamin D to be able to absorb your Calcium. Other key players in bone health are Magnesium, Copper, Zinc and Fish Oil. Yes, I find it necessary to use all of these to maintain healthy bone structure. You should seek out a Calcium supplement that is also a multiple mineral and contains Vitamin D. The Fish oil I use and recommend is Coromega®. This is thirdparty- tested to assure it does not contain contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides.
For more in-depth information, the book "The Osteoporosis Solution" by Carl Germano RD. CNS, LDN, and William Cabot, MD is my favorite. This book addresses both the traditional solutions as well as the natural answers to dealing with bone health.
What about hormonal support? This is where things get sort of sketchy. Depending on your needs, what works for one woman may not work for another. It is for this reason I will usually default to combination products (the shotgun approach) to address hormone balancing. Herbs like Dong Quai, Black Cohosh, Red Clover and Vitex are the most commonly used herbs for hormonal support. Dong Quai is a female organ tonic (supporting good overall health); Black Cohosh is for estrogen support; and Vitex is for progesterone support. Depending on your needs (PMS, Menopause), your supplement will change. The chart below provides a quick reference of what's available to specifically address PMS or menopause.
As I am now preaching in my Seminars, synergy is where it's at. Try to find a product that combines multiple ingredients to address your specific needs. In other parts of the world people are not treated naturally with an ingredient, but a blend of things that make a bigger splash.When it comes to nutritional supplements, one plus one doesn't equal two; it equals 3 or more. Examples would be Estrotone for Menopause symptoms, or Kidney Bladder by Nature's Way for fluid retention. The above chart is just the tip of the iceberg. You need to do your homework and find the supplement combination that is right for you.
BEAUTY AND PERSONAL CARE
Finally, the point needs to be made that you are what you eat and that includes your supplements. Too many times women are focused on taking care of their external appearance by applying cosmetics, creams, lotions etc. To achieve the best look, you really need to take care of the inside. (Refer to my March/April 2006 newsletter) Yes, using high quality skin care products can enhance one's appearance, but for long-lasting and better results, the best approach is to also use supplements for healthy hair, skin and nails.