A step-by-step guide to better midlife health.
Women and men obviously have different needs when it comes to the aging of their reproductive systems. In midlife, the major consideration for women is menopause; for men, it’s prostate enlargement. Well-researched herbs can help both conditions.
As ovarian function declines during menopause, estrogen is lowered and luteinizing hormone, part of the mechanism responsible for hot flashes, increases. Black cohosh has been shown to help reduce the severity of hot flashes and improve mood. In Germany, black cohosh preparations are used for hot flashes, depression and sleep disturbances
How to take it: The German authorities suggest a daily dose of a liquid extract (with 40 to 60 percent alcohol) equivalent to 40 mg of dried black cohosh root. Efficacy and safety are confirmed by long-term clinical experience in Germany dating to the 1950s and recent controlled clinical studies published in the past decade.
Extracts of saw palmetto fruit have been used for more than 100 years in the treatment of prostate conditions, particularly benign prostatic hyperplasia, commonly called BPH. BPH is characterized by a benign (noncancerous) enlargement of the prostate. The condition is believed to afflict more than 50 percent of men older than fifty. By narrowing the urethra, it produces poor urinary flow that can translate into a host of other symptoms including hesitancy or straining to urinate, painful urination, dripping after urination, increased frequency of urination, and a feeling that the bladder is not quite empty.
The use of saw palmetto standardized extracts is backed by more than two dozen controlled clinical studies, most conducted in Europe, where it is considered a safe and effective treatment for BPH. Head-to-head clinical studies have confirmed that saw palmetto is as effective as a conventional drug in relieving BPH symptoms, and saw palmetto produces fewer side effects.
Results of the first clinical study on saw palmetto conducted in the United States were published in June 1999. For six months, forty-four men diagnosed with BPH received a dose of 320 mg per day of a saw palmetto extract or placebo. It was reported that the size of prostate tissue shrank from 17.8 percent to 10.7 percent. The patients treated with saw palmetto reported virtually no side effects, except for one patient who had mild gastrointestinal problems. Following the study, nineteen of the twenty-one patients taking saw palmetto said they would continue to do so and all the men in the placebo group began taking saw palmetto. According to the lead researcher, UCLA urologist Leonard Marks, M.D., “saw palmetto extracts appear to be a reasonable treatment option for men with uncomplicated symptomatic BPH.”
How to take it: Take a standardized preparation once or twice a day for a total dose of 320 mg.
Steven Foster is an authority on medicinal herbs and the author of many books, including Steven Foster’s Guide to Herbal Dosages (Interweave Press, 1999).
Click here for the original article, The Best Anti Aging Herbs.
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