Mar 132016

Black cohosh is one of the most widely researched herbs related to menopauseFor some women, going through the menopause can be hell. But there are ways in which we can help ourselves glide through this natural period of transition with grace, understanding and the minimum amount of physical and emotional upset. Seriously, it can be done!

The menopause is a natural, normal process.

It is one of many transitions in life that women’s bodies adapt to. Strictly speaking, this period of change and adaptation is known as the perimenopause, as it can span a number of years.

Symptoms associated with the menopause

These include changes to the menstrual cycle (periods can become less, or more, frequent; heavier, or lighter), anxiety, irritability, mood swings, depression, poor memory and concentration levels, sleep problems, fatigue, loss of libido, hot flashes, night sweats, dizziness and palpitations, vaginal dryness and soreness, urinary problems such as cystitis and thrush, and stiff, aching joints.

Stress plays a part

Some women experience the odd symptom or two, and others, unfortunately, have a really tough time of it. Reasons for this include factors such as how much stress they have in their lives, and more importantly how they manage this, along with many other lifestyle factors. Diet also plays a very important part in preventing and relieving symptoms associated with the perimenopause.

Herbal remedies for the menopause

There are many herbal remedies that really do work like magic when it comes to relieving menopausal symptoms. But here’s the thing: they are not a magic bullet. They work best when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle. They help to support a woman both physically and emotionally as her body adapts to its changing status, making it a smoother, easier ride, if you like.

Natural HRT

There is a group of plants called phyto-oestrogens, which behave like oestrogen and help ease the adjustment period, and relieve symptoms of the perimenopause. These plants are sometimes referred to as natural hormone replacement therapy, or natural HRT. The distinction between these and pharmaceutical HRT is that phyto-oestrogens are natural compounds, not synthetic or chemical substitutes, and that they do not ‘replace’ oestrogen. Without wishing to get too complicated, they work on different oestrogen receptor sites in the body.

Black cohosh and the menopause

There are many other herbs that can be extremely useful during the perimenopause. For example, by supporting the digestive system, the nervous system (moods, emotions, sleep etc), and the musculoskeletal system (aching joints and muscles), by boosting memory and concentration, and helping us cope with fatigue. There is also a group of medicinal plants known as adaptogens which, as the name suggests, help us adapt to changing circumstances, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Black cohosh (pictured above) is one of the most widely researched medicinal plants associated with menopausal symptoms.

Support for women during the perimenopause

I have supported many women through this natural transitional period, seeing women as patients, writing articles, giving talks and running workshops, and by being a woman who has been through menopause herself. I have also helped women withdraw from hormone replacement therapy (HRT), for which herbal medicine, in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be very effective.

Early menopause

Taking a natural approach, using diet, lifestyle and herbal remedies, is also a positive strategy for women who are going through an early menopause, due to health problems or genetic factors.

Getting help for the menopause

I do consultations via Skype, FaceTime, telephone and, if you live in travelling distance, face-to-face in Cornwall. I am always available in between consultations, while I support you through the perimenopause.


My next workshop, for those who live in Cornwall, is on Saturday March 19th 2016, 10am-12.30pm, at the Inspiring Health natural health clinic,17 Fish Strand Hill, Falmouth TR11 3BD. As the workshops are for small groups only, booking is essential. Please phone 01326 212112 or email to book your place. For more information about me, and herbal medicine, please visit my website at Or email me at


Nov 152015

Deanne Greenwood Medical Herbalist in her herb gardenI am not a healer, I don’t ‘treat’ people, and I don’t make people better. I am a facilitator. I facilitate a person’s innate ability to heal themselves. We all have that ability. The body is perfectly capable of rebalancing and healing itself given the right support and environment – which includes a healthy diet and lifestyle, and, of course, the right herbs! I try to make that clear to everyone who comes to see me. You can heal yourself. I will help you.

Let’s join forces

When you come to see me with a health problem, I will explain that working to resolve it is a two-way process, and that we will be working together to help your body heal itself. I will select and prescribe the most appropriate herbs, and the most appropriate combination of herbs, to suit you. I will also provide dietary and lifestyle advice, that must be taken on board and acted on by you, the other person in this contract.

There is no magic bullet

When someone already has a reasonably healthy diet and lifestyle (although there’s almost always room for improvement!), taking the herbs as prescribed may be enough to rectify their health problem. When someone has a poor diet and/or lifestyle, herbs alone are much less likely to do the trick. They are not a magic bullet. They are part of the facilitation process.

My success rate

I can honestly say, without any doubt, that my success rate in helping people to heal is much higher among those who follow the dietary and lifestyle advice given, who take their herbs as prescribed, and provide me with feedback during the healing process. That is, among those who work with me, instead of treating herbs simply as an alternative to the drugs prescribed by their doctor.

Here’s the deal

It is demoralising for me – not to mention the person who has come to see me – when they do not get better because they have not fulfilled their part of ‘the contract’. If I tell you to stop eating fast food, include lots more fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, and drink more water, then that’s what you must do, if you want to get better. If you are not prepared to do this, you are wasting your time (not to mention mine!) and your money. If I suggest you cut out dairy, or wheat, from your diet, at least for a short period, you will be helping yourself, and speeding your recovery, if you do so. It’s as simple as that.

You need to swallow the herbs

It’s also important to take your prescribed herbal medicine as per instruction. It’s not unusual for me to see someone at a follow-up consultation who complains that they are not feeling any better, and then informs me that they have over half a bottle of their herbal mixture left because they haven’t been taking it as prescribed. Hello?

Just say yes

A positive attitude is also extremely supportive of the healing process. When someone says, ‘Yes, I want to work with you, I am going to take everything you say on board, I am going to make the necessary changes to my diet and lifestyle, because I really want to get better,’ they do get better. Mind and body are inextricably linked, so the way you think is as important as the things you do. Even if you are depressed, you can still be determined to get better. And I can help you feel more positive and determined if you are open to it. All these things, that only you can do, facilitate the healing action of the medicinal plants, and the healing capacity of your body.

The end result

I am committed to help every single person who comes to see me, to get better. If you are one of those people, you must be committed to work with me, and committed to your healing journey. And then you will get better.