When you're going through menopause, if even one hormone becomes out of sync, your whole body becomes unbalanced.
Hormones in your body are chemical compounds that act as messengers to all your cells, glands, organs and tissues. Each hormone in your body plays a critical role in the functioning of your overall health.
Between your 40s and 50s, women experience a natural biological process known as menopause. Menopause is when your body no longer has a menstrual cycle. During menopause you may experience emotional highs and lows, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, anxiety, fatigue, weight gain, thinning hair, and dry skin.
Typically if these symptoms are bothersome, you can talk to your doctor about treatments. Your doctor might recommend using Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRT), but you may be weary of this treatment's serious side effects.
How can natural medicine help with menopause?
Medical herbalist, Bev Maya, joins Dr. Holly to discuss why hormone imbalances occur and natural ways you can fix your hormone levels.
RadioMD Presents:The Dr. Holly Lucille Show | Original Air Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Host: Holly Lucille, ND, RN
Guest: Bev Maya
Dr. Holly: Hi folks, thanks so much. Those intros always crack me up because I do feel, sometimes, overly passionate. I know that some people are like: “You get really excited when you start talking.” Well, I’m really excited right now because I have somebody who I’m excited to have on our segment. We’re going to be talking about natural hormone health and that’s one of my favorite topics. I want to introduce Bev, thank you so much for being here. You, I love it, as a medical herbalist and international speaker, you focus on demystifying menopause and chronic disease. Welcome to the show.
Bev: Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to be here. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a radio show, so thanks for having me.
Dr. Holly: And people can find you, I want to make sure they have this, at www.MayaNaturalHealth.com.
Bev: That’s right.
Dr. Holly: I love it because I used to have a show on the Veria Living network called Myth-Defying with Dr. Holly and basically what we did was de-mystify some of the myths around chronic health diseases, like unknown (1:36), and menopause was a huge subject of mine. What are you doing, and you’re an herbalist, what led you to become a medical herbalist?
Bev: Well, you know, I grew up in a small town. I did lots of things with gardens, herbs, and all the rest of it. I wanted to go into medicine and ended up in research chemistry. I did that for 10 years then sold the car, moved out west, and decide to become a naturopath. Then I really found some guidance and decided what I really wanted to do was become a medical herbalist. Because of my background in organic chemistry and the research that I did, knowing about botany and the medicine of plants was just a perfect place for me to be and I just didn’t know it at the time. I went to school in England for 4 years to get a degree in, they call it phytotherapy there, a clinical degree in phytotherapy. I’ve been in practice since 2000. When picking a field, people said to me: “Pick something you can stick with.” I thought menopause was great. It’s not really an illness; it’s something that people go through anyway. Tweaking nutrition, looking at plants to support the body, there are a lot of things you can do to make menopause, if not wonderful, a non-eventful event; a progression to the next stage of your life.
Dr. Holly: I love that you’re talking my language. I think it’s great that you were a research chemist, so that’s awesome. You know folks, when she says ‘phyto,’ it just means plants: Plant medicine, really, for the most part. What didn’t you like about research?
Bev: You know, it was really that I didn’t have contact with people. You’re in a fume hood, they’re making things that have never been made before, and so the potential for explosions is there. I’ve been witness to a couple of scary ones. I loved, loved the research part of things. What I didn’t like was that then you had to prove it over and over and again. Come up with a great idea and then spend the next couple of years proving that it wasn’t an anomaly. The other thing was not getting out, not talking to people. I knew that I needed connection with people. I need that feedback. When somebody gets better, I get so much benefit from that. It’s like, great. The plan came together, it worked, I’m glad you’re feeling wonderful, you know?
Dr. Holly: Isn’t that research in itself? You can just prescribe these lovely herbs to help folks through menopause or in menopause. That’s research. I think that’s evidence based. That’s evidence based medicine working for you right there.
Dr. Holly: Talk to us about how natural medicine can help with menopause. When we talk about natural medicine, we’re talking about nutrition, moderating stress. One of the questions I have for you: The whole, this symphony, this orchestra of your hormones. I think Deepak Chopra says it best: “You touch one strand and the whole web trembles.” We have this sophisticated, interconnected, hormone system and menopause is a huge shift. Talk to me about how you use these lovely plants in your practice.
Bev: You know, the thing is, when people think of hormones and menopause, they just think about the reproductive hormones. They may go to the doctor and the doctor will do an FSH or LH, they may test their estrogen and progesterone. But really, there is a real symphony going on. When you break it right down, there is a great book by Candace Pert called Molecules of Emotion, which breaks it down. She’s a chemist who did piles of research and she found that the immune system, the hormone producing system, and the nervous system aren’t separate; they’re one in the same. That means if there is something going on in your immune system; it’s going to affect your hormones. If there is something going on in you nervous system, it’s going to affect your hormones. When you back that right up, the place where most of those things, where the action is, is in your gut. 80% of your neurotransmitters are made in your gut. A third of all the nerves in your body are wrapped around your gut. I started playing with really looking at nutrition and herbal to balance all the membranes in the body: The membranes of your respiratory tract and your gut and your urinary tract and your skin and your reproductive tract, and getting all that into balance. People don’t need HRT. When we look at the basis of all of the plants that we use, that kind of have a hormonal level, they really are filled with minerals. They have astringents that sort of tighten up and sort of tone membranes. They have some chemicals in them that usually help to relax the nervous system. That’s really what we’re doing and when we look at the gut and nutrition, we are helping to realign that whole immune, hormonal, and nervous system all at once.
Dr. Holly: I love it. So it’s a symphony. We know, if we’ve ever been to the symphony, if one instrument is out of tune it really does affect the entire performance, correct?
Dr. Holly: When you say folks don’t really need HRT (for the listeners that’s Hormone Replacement Therapy) or even hormone therapy because a lot of times with natural menopause there is really nothing to replace. It’s all about the therapies being used, even bioidentical. You’re saying that through these plants, that have properties that can actually help balance the hormone system, you can have this, birthright really, this natural phase of your life, menopause, if we’re lucky enough to get there and live through it. Seriously, 100% of woman who do are going to go through it. So it’s not a disease, correct?
Bev: Right. It’s not a disease at all. It’s a process.
Dr. Holly: I always say that it’s a shift, an endocrinological shift, so it’s a hormone shift for sure. I think it’s an emotional shift. It’s a spiritual shift. It’s a societal shift. There are so many things going on, but gosh, we can support women and bring back into our culture how lovely it is. That’s why they call it the crone years. That’s why they call it the golden years. Our wisdom kicks in, maybe we’re more intuitive. Our creative selves kick in. If we can support that for folks, especially without doing harm, it’s so darn important.
Bev: It’s interesting, in Chinese medicine, you know, the bleed every month is a release of other people’s negative energy, right? Getting rid of the crap, right? We have this mechanism, since puberty, that gets rid of the gunk. Then, when we stop getting periods, we start to have more of a male energy, and we have to learn how to run our energy because it’s always there, instead of having that low time when we can physically remove that negative energy. We have to get rid of it in different ways. I ask a lot of questions of people, as far as their hot flashes are concerned. Where do they start? Usually where they start, that’s a bad chakra. We know a chakra is usually where that physical endocrine organ is. That’s where the blockage is. When I talk about the hormonal symphony and doing hormone panels, I look at thyroid and the ovarian hormones, the adrenals. The adrenals pick up the slack and produce estrogen and progesterone after the ovaries have gone to sleep for good right?
Dr. Holly: They have definitely done their job. Bev, thank you so much. I’m going to want to have you back, because this is great information. Yes, the ovaries take a break and the adrenals step up, but if we’re burning through those with all the stressors that we have in our modern day, we are going to have some turbulence. Thank you so much. You can find Bev at www.MayaNaturalHealth.com this is Dr. Lucille, Mindful Medicine. Thanks for listening.