Five Herbal Teas to Drink when Facing the Menopause

Menopause – once a taboo subject – is now more widely discussed. A recent survey of more than 2000 women[1] found that most women experience menopause symptoms which affect them negatively at work.

While HRT is typically the go-to therapy for managing the effects of menopause, what you drink for your tea break could help too. A research review by scientists on the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) has found that certain herbal teas (also known as infusions) can support sleep, cognitive performance, heart health, bone health and nervous health. These are health aspects seriously impacted by the menopause.

The review, published in the Journal of Nursing and Women’s Health[2], found that there was good evidence from human studies that German chamomile tea could help manage poor-quality sleep. Other recent research has also identified benefits for turmeric, green and lemon balm, and hibiscus teas. The reason could be clinical and brain effects of plant-based compounds, including polyphenols, found in herbal infusions.

Sleep

Macbeth – in the famous Shakespearean play – may have said that he will ‘Sleep no more’ but this is a reality for millions of women going through the menopause. More than eight out of 10 women reported difficulty sleeping, according to the UK Parliament survey, with more than seven in 10 blaming nights sweats.

Women’s health expert and a member of TAP, Dr Catherine Hood, says: “Sleep is the foundation of good health. The Herbal Infusions and Women’s Health review2 found that drinking a cup of German Chamomile tea everyday can aid relaxation and promote better quality sleep. The tea has mildly sedative properties which helps the body to regulate sleep.”

Heart health

Menopause doesn’t cause heart disease, but it’s known to increase the risk of high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels – independent risk factors for cardiovascular diseases[3].

Drinking regular tea is well known for its heart health properties and this could extend to some types of herbal infusions. Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Tea Advisory Panel says: “A research review, published in Food & Nutrition Technology Journal[4], found that 2-3 cups of Hibiscus tea daily can significantly lower blood pressure.

Bones and joints

The fall off in oestrogen levels during the menopause removes the protection women naturally have against bone loss. While tea can’t boost hormone levels, there is evidence that drinking green tea protects against age-related bone mineral loss.

A large study from Korea found that women who drank no green tea had an 80% increased risk of bone loss compared with women who drank green tea 1-3 times a day over the past 12 months[5]. Dr Hood adds: “TAP’s Herbal Infusions and Women’s Health review2 also noted that drinking spearmint tea improved pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis”.

Brain fog

Three quarters (75%) of women going through menopause say they experience problems with memory or concentration1. This, and other symptoms, add to feelings of stress.

Natural health expert, researcher and chemist, Dr Tim Bond and a member of the independent expert group, TAP, comments: “A clinical study[6] found that curcumin – the active compound in turmeric tea – gave participants a 28% improvement in memory tests over the course of the study, while those who took the placebo showed no significant changes in memory. Those who received curcumin also reported slight improvements in mood”.

Anxiety

Almost seven in 10 women (69%) report feelings of anxiety during menopause, which can have a crippling effect on workplace and social confidence1.  Studies show that drinking lemon balm tea could be helpful for anxiety and depression, according to a combined ‘super study’ published in Phytotherapy Research journal[7]. The authors concluded: “Based on meta-analysis results, lemon balm significantly improved mean anxiety and depression scores compared with the placebo”.

Tea can be part of the solution for menopause management

Dr Catherine Hood says: “Five herbal teas offer benefits that could be helpful for managing menopause symptoms or keeping the body healthy during this time of change for women. Chamomile is great for sleep, turmeric tea improves memory and mood, and lemon balm helps lower anxiety. Bone health is associated with drinking green tea (from the Camellia sinensis tea bush), while daily hibiscus tea appears to help lower blood pressure, which is good for the heart. Overall, tea and herbal infusions are part of a healthy lifestyle for women as they go through menopause”.

Check out: www.teaadvisorypanel.com

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Sources:

The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA & INFUSIONS ASSOCIATION, the trade association for the UK tea industry. The Panel has been created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists; dieticians and doctors.

[1]https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5802/cmselect/cmwomeq/1157/report.html

[2]Jenkins G et al. (2022) Herbal Infusions and Women’s Health: A Review of Findings with a Focus on Human Studies on Specific Infusions with Studies on Extracts to Evaluate Mechanisms; Journal of Nursing and Women’s Health 6: 178.

[3] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/menopause-and-the-cardiovascular-system

[4] Etheridge C & Derbyshire E (2020) Hibiscus Tea and Health: A Scoping Review of Scientific Evidence. Food & Nutrition Technology Journal https://www.sciforschenonline.org/journals/nutrition-food/article-data/NFTOA167/NFTOA167.pdf#:~:text=Over%20the%20last%20few%20decades%2C%20health%20evidence%20has,using%20larger%20and%20longer%20human%20studies%20is%20warranted  

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35010962/

[6]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1064748117305110?via%3Dihub#t0010

[7]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34449930/

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