Maca is a Peruvian root that is thought to stimulate the glands so as to trigger the natural production of estrogen and testosterone. Maca has been cultivated for thousands of years in the Andes region and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including the symptoms of menopause. Peruvians use the herb to increase libido, energy, and fertility. Proponents of Maca in the medical community believe it alleviates PMS, improves athletic performance, brings a feeling of general well-being, and reduces stress and depression.
But there's more: the claims for Maca include relief from mood swings and irritability, fatigue, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and breast tenderness. It's unfortunate that no evidence exists to support the effectiveness of this natural treatment nor is any information available on its potential hazards.
Some physicians believe that menopause symptoms stem from imbalances in levels of progesterone and estrogen. This is a departure from the usual thinking that places the blame squarely on estrogen as the culprit for menopausal symptoms. This non-traditional thinking holds instead that the role of progesterone plays a key part in the symptoms associated with menopause. The syndrome caused by such an imbalance is known as "estrogen dominance."
A small number of physicians believe that when progesterone is edged out by estrogen, severe symptoms result such as intense PMS, early adult menstrual problems, and a variety of harsh symptoms as women edge closer to menopause. Estrogen dominance is treated with progesterone. Doctors believe such treatment to be safe and without the risks associated with estrogen treatment.
There are natural progesterone creams and most of them contain the extract of Mexican wild yams, believed to contain a substance that resembles progesterone. The cream is applied where skin is thinnest for best absorption, for instance on the inner forearms, breasts, stomach, or inner thighs. As it is absorbed into the skin, the cream passes into the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body.
Many women make claims for the effectiveness of progesterone creams in treating their menopause symptoms. Still, no evidence yet exists to point to a lowering of the risks of breast and uterine cancers as compared to estrogen therapy. No conclusion has been formed about whether or not the creams pose a health risk, despite claims made to the contrary.
The Chasteberry, whose official name is Vitex agnus castus, has been in use since the ancient Greek physicians used it to treat a variety of ailments. This natural remedy is thought to stimulate the production of progesterone. The Chasteberry does seem to be quite effective in alleviating severe PMS as well as a host of menopause symptoms.