"The hot flashes didn't slow me down, but the menstrual cramps did. I remember cramps like this when I was a teen. I vaguely remember hot water bottles, my mother's tender touch, thick novels, time alone to dream, to envision how my life would flower."
Step 1. Collect information . . .
The amount and intensity of your menstrual cramping may very well change during your Change. The major problem menopausal women face in dealing with cramps is that most herbs and many drugs which relieve cramping also increase flooding. Steps 2 and 3 offer some that don't.
Step 2. Engage the energy . . .
o Menstrual cramps remind us to take time alone.
o Sit in a hot bath and flow, melt, dissolve, relax, release, let go.
Step 3. Nourish and tonify . . .
H Liferoot is one of my favorite remedies for menopausal women dealing with intense cramps, especially if accompanied by severe fatigue, nausea, and faintness. A small dose (5-10 drops) of the tincture of the fresh liferoot flowers, taken daily during the luteal phase (from ovulation to menstruation) for at least 3-6 months has "worked wonders" for many women who were totally incapacitated by menstrual distress. This remedy may be difficult to purchase. Mail order sources are listed on page XXX. Or make your own. (Directions on page XXX.)
H Black haw and cramp bark, both virburnums, are superb allies for menopausal women with cramping and flooding. The tincture of either is an astringent tonic, powerful antispasmodic, and rich source of hormonal precursors. A dose is 10-20 drops, in water, as often as needed.
o Garden sage tea is hormone-rich and astringent, and, like all mints, a remedy for menstrual cramps. Most mints - such as catnip and pennyroyal, common and highly effective remedies for cramps - increase flooding, and are best avoided during the menopausal years. Smoking a catnip cigarette is, however, a highly effective way to diminish cramps and is unlikely to promote excessive bleeding.
Step 4. Sedate/Stimulate . . .
o If you're cramping but not flooding, try ginger tea.
o A dose of 5-15 drops of motherwort tincture is a great choice for menopausal women with menstrual cramping. The dose may be repeated, but it is better not to use this remedy on a daily basis, as it may increase circulation and provoke flooding.
H Valerian root tincture, 30 drops repeated as needed, eases menstrual pain dramatically. Valerian makes many women sleepy and a few hyperactive.
Step 5b. Use drugs . . .
o Aspirin eases menstrual cramps but can provoke flooding. So can Midol. Willow bark (Salix) tincture is as effective as aspirin in relieving cramps but less likely to cause flooding. Best in vinegar.
Step 6. Break and enter . . .
H A Crone's Year Away will disrupt every part of your life, breaking down carefully established patterns. It's time for a Change.
If you liked this excerpt by Susun S. Weed, you will want
NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way:
Alternative Approaches for Women 30 - 90
by Susun S. Weed
Foreword by Juliette de Bairacli Levy.
304 pages, index, magical illustrations.
Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD.