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perimenopausal symptoms

  • How the Medicinal Discoveries of The Hemp Plant Are Transforming Women's Health

    Hemp Health Revolution Sherrill Sellman

    There's no doubt about it. Women are much more challenged when it comes to their hormonal and overall health than men. In fact, women are four times more likely to have migraines, anxiety, Irritable Bowel Disease and Fibromyalgia.

    There is a new understanding of why women are more vulnerable. It all has to do with the endocannabinoid system and the fact that women are three times more vulnerable to an endocannabinoid deficiency than men.

    If you are asking exactly what is the endocannabinoid system, you are not alone. But it will soon be more widely known as one of the most important systems in our body.

    A major discovery occurred in the 1990's that would change not only the understanding of our own physiology, but also reveal one of nature's most powerful healing plants, agricultural hemp.

    It began with the research into the cannabis plant which then led to discovery of an entirely new system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the revelation of the immense healing potential of the non-psychoactive component of the hemp plant.

    We have Dr. Raphael Muchoulam to thank for this groundbreaking discovery. Dr. Muchoulam, an Israeli organic chemist, professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and pioneer in the field of cannabis research is considered one of the giants of cannabis research. For the past 50 years, he and his team have succeeded in discovering the major plant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol,) and Hemp Extract (cannabidiol).

    According to Dr. Mechoulam,"By using a plant that has been around for thousands of years, we discovered a new physiological system of immense importance. We wouldn't have been able to get there if we had not looked at the plant."

    Why is there such excitement amongst scientists and health practitioners? It turns out that the ECS is a primordial language that nerves and brain cells use to communicate. From womb to tomb, across countless generations, the endocannabinoid system guides and protects all vital physiological processes.

    What's The Big Deal About The Endocannabinoid System? The ECS is possibly the single most important system within our entire body. It is responsible for maintaining a process called homeostasis. Basically, if our ECS is out-of-whack, the health of our entire body could be at risk.

    There is one biological principle that is essential for maintaining a healthy functioning body. That principle is called homeostasis.

    Homeostasis means that biological systems are actively regulated to maintain conditions within a narrow, healthy range. The intelligence of the body insures that critical functions are always in proper balance. For instance, our body doesn't want its temperature to be too hot or too cold, or blood sugar levels too high or too low. Conditions need to be just right for our cells to be functioning optimally. Without this perfect, rather narrow range of regulation, we would die.

    As it turns out, that is exactly the job of the ECS. It is a vital molecular system for helping to maintain homeostasis—it insures that cells stay in their "Goldilocks" zone of just right at all times.

    The ECS insures that the communication between all the biological systems is working perfectly. Some of processes the ECS controls include: pain perception, gastrointestinal motility, memory, sleep, response to stress, anxiety, depression, bone repair, growth of new brain cells, reduction of excessive inflammation, regulation of hormonal systems, fertility, protection from strokes and other neurodegenerative problems.

    The ECS regulates the homeostasis of the following functions:

    • Appetite
    • Metabolism
    • Pain
    • Sleep
    • Mood
    • Movement
    • Temperature
    • Memory and learning
    • Immune function
    • Inflammation
    • Neural development
    • Neuroprotection
    • Cardiovascular function
    • Digestion
    • Reproduction

    This is why the ECS is such a big deal!
    Every important physiological function of our body is regulated and kept in balance by a properly functioning ECS.

    Hemp Extract, the Non-Psychoactive Molecule in the Cannabis Plant

    Cannabinoids are the chemical molecules that communicate with the ECS. There are two types of cannabinoid molecules. One type is made by the body the other kind comes from plants, such as the cannabis plant.

    Hemp Extract is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant that is totally legal in all 50 states. It works its healing effect by indirectly increasing the activity of ECS receptors. Hemp Extract will activate receptors in the body's systems that have to do with pain, perception and inflammation.

    This is really good news when it comes to women's health challenges.

    Hemp Extract and Women's Health

    Hemp Extract is a valuable natural support for the many health and hormonal issues that particularly affect women. So many of the conditions that affects hormonal balance are related to chronic inflammation and pain, stress, dysregulated hormonal cycles, insulin resistance, and trauma. Hemp Extract is a panacea for so many of the issues that cause women distress.

    The following are some of the ways Hemp Extract can help to support women to address many health issues as well as regain their health.

    1. Eases Premenstrual Symptoms
      Hemp Extract is able to lessen or alleviate all the major PMS symptoms including reducing inflammation that contributes to headaches/migraines, menstrual cramps, upset stomachs, and physical sensitivities. Hemp Extract naturally elevates mood, balancing mood swings and reducing depression and anxiety. It also enhances deep sleep.
    2. Enhances Fertility
      The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in regulating a broad range of physiological processes including reproductive fertility.
    3. Eases Perimenopausal and Menopausal Symptoms
      The ECS regulates the endocrine system. Symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause are related to an endocannabinoid deficiency. Estrogen levels are linked to endocannabinoid levels. Since the ECS also regulates body temperature, it helps with hot flashes and night sweats. It also supports other symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause, such as moods, sleep, pain, cognitive impairment and low energy.

      Hemp Extract can help to balance hormonal levels, including estrogen, by restoring proper ECS tone. The endocannabinoid system also helps to regulate bone loss seen after menopause. The CB2 cannabinoid receptor is found in bone cells and when there are fewer coded CB2 receptors after menopause, it leads to osteoporosis.
    4. Helps Prevent Osteoporosis and Builds Bone
      Hemp Extract activates cannabinoid receptor that balances the bone remodeling process. It can help prevent bone loss. The endocannabinoid system heals fractures and promotes the development of new bone tissues.
    5. Helps to Prevent Breast Cancer and Reduce Treatment Symptoms
      Research has shown evidence that CBD effectively kills breast-cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. Studies show that Hemp Extract may support apoptosis (programmed cell death that rids the body of old and damaged cells. Hemp Extract has been proven to minimize the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. It increases appetite, decreases nausea, and promotes restful sleep, all of which supports healing.
    6. Reduces Autoimmune Diseases
      Women comprise 75 percent of patients diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Fortunately, new research suggests that Hemp Extract may be an effective treatment for the symptoms of autoimmune disorders. It also helps to calm an over-active immune system, limiting the production of the pro-inflammatory molecules.
    7. Provides Relief for Anxiety and Depression
      Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders. One recent study showed that Hemp Extract lessened anxiety and distress when taken just before an anxiety-provoking public speaking performance. While Hemp Extract has been proven to combat social anxiety disorder, it can also help to quickly alleviate general anxiety symptoms. Hemp Extract has now also been found to be able to successfully and effectively treat depression.
    8. Helps with Chronic Pelvic Pain
      Hemp Extract reduces chronic pain by lowering inflammation. Conditions such as endometriosis are also considered to be an autoimmune condition, which is helped with Hemp Extract. The understanding that women are vulnerable to an endocannabinoid deficiency opens up an entirely new possibility for a healing by using Hemp Extract. Due to stress, excessive stimulation of the nervous system from WIFI devices, nutritional deficiencies and toxicity, our ECS is under duress.

    Thanks to research that has once again revealed what the ancient cultures have known for millennia, the Hemp Extract from the cannabis plant is transforming health.

  • Menopause is a natural process that for some women brings on a myriad of uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms usually come from imbalances your physiology that usually stem from poor choices in diet and lifestyle.

    Common perimenopausal complaints include:

    • Weight gain
    • Fatigue
    • Hot flashes
    • Headaches
    • Loss of libido
    • Dry skin
    • Vaginal dryness
    • Mood swings
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Memory problems
    • Insomnia or sleep difficulties
    • Joint and muscle aches and pains

    After menopause, the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease also increase dramatically.

    The Western Approach to Menopause
    To combat perimenopausal symptoms, Western medicine developed synthetic feminine hormones. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was promoted as the fountain of youth. It was said to lower the risk of heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis. But several studies in the early 2000’s, including the Women’s Health Initiative, found mostly the opposite is true: women who take HRT have an increased risk of heart disease, strokes, blood clots, gall bladder disease and invasive breast and ovarian cancer. HRT does help osteoporosis, but not any more than a little weight bearing exercise and a diet high in calcium can.

    The Eastern Approach to Menopause
    Traditional systems of medicine, including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, say that menopause should be a time of gentle and easy transition. The hormonal changes at menopause are part of the natural progression of life. Symptoms only arise if you are out of balance—which usually develop from poor diet and lifestyle choices. Therefore, the best way to improve and control menopausal symptoms is to restore balance to the physiology through healthy diet and lifestyle choices. Then, if any symptoms are still present after you have made these changes, herbs and supplements may be added. If you don’t correct your habits that are creating the imbalances first, then herbs and supplements usually don’t work very well. It’s like trying to mop your floor dry, but forgetting to first turn off the faucet.

    The Natural Prescription
    Begin by cutting out the junk foods especially processed foods, sugar, red meat and excess alcohol. Instead favor organically grown fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and omega- 3 fatty acids. Also, it is important to

    • Exercise regularly—even as little as 30 minutes of brisk walking every day can have profound benefits.
    • Get the most out of your sleep by going to bed by 10 p.m. and get up before 6 a.m.
    • Minimize stress by practicing an effective stress-reducing technique every day such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.

    Herbal Support
    In addition to these healthy diet and lifestyle changes, there are a variety of herbs that can help to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms. For example, research shows that a standardized herbal root extract, called EstroG-100, can effectively reduce many of the symptoms associated with menopause. This formula is composed of three different well-studied plants from China and Korea.

    • Cynanchum wilfordii is a key component of a famous Chinese herbal tonic that has been used for over a thousand years to enhance vitality. It is also been used in traditional Korean medicine to promote healthy aging.
    • Phlomis umbrosa root has been also been used in China for thousands of years to support liver health and detoxification. Because of its strong anti-inflammatory properties, it is useful for a variety of other health conditions including pain relief.
    • Angelica gigas root, also called Dang Gui, is an herb traditionally used in Korea to improve gynecological, cardiovascular and immune system health.

    There have been number of studies, both in-vitro as well as in-vivo, that have confirmed the safety and efficacy of EstroG-100.

    According to tests conducted by Chungbuk National University in South Korea, the herbs in EstroG-100 do not work through estrogen pathways.

    A 2005 prospective randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial1 was conducted in South Korea with a total of 48 perimenopausal women who were followed for 12 months. At the end of 3 months, the women taking an herbal supplement containing EstroG-100 had significant improvements of their symptoms—in fact, five times better than the placebo group. At the end of 12 months, the herbal group also showed changes in bone markers, which are associated with improved bone density, as well as improvements in the levels of serum triglycerides and human growth hormone.

    In another randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial2 conducted in California in 2012, 64 women pre-, periand post-menopausal women were assigned to either taking EstroG-100 (31 women) or a placebo (33 women). At the end of 12 weeks the Kuppermam menopausal index (KMI) score, which evaluates 11 symptoms, was significantly reduced in the EstroG-100 group compared to the placebo group. Improvements were seen in hot flashes, insomnia, nervousness, melancholia, dizziness, fatigue, and joint pain. There was also a statistically significant improvement in vaginal dryness in the EstroG-100 group.

    A third randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multi-center study of EstroG-100 has just completed with equally impressive results.3

    No Need to Suffer
    There’s no need to suffer with menopausal symptoms. This natural transition of life is meant to go smoothly. Making a few healthy diet and lifestyle changes can dramatically improve or resolve symptoms. There are also herbs that can bring some great relief. Be sure to choose an herbal supplement that has been proven by research to be effective, such as EstroG-100.


    1. Ki Ho Lee, Duck Ju Lee, Sang Man Kim, Sang Hyeun Je, Eun Ki Kim, Hae Seung Han, In Kwon Han, “Evaluation of Effectiveness and Safety of Natural Plants Extract(Estromon®) on Perimenopausal Women for 1Year,” J. Korea Soc. Menopause 2005: 11(1). 16–26
    2. Albert Chang, Bo-Yeon Kwak, Kwontaek Yi, Jae Soo Kim, “The Effect of Herbal Extract (EstroG-100) on Pre-Peri- and Post- Menopausal Women: A Randomized Double-blind, Placebocontrolled Study,” Phytother. Res. 2012(26): 510–6
    3. Duck Joo Lee, Tak Kim, Seok-Kyo Seo, “The Evaluation of the Efficacy and Safety of Herbal Extract (PAC-EX01: EstroG-100) on Menopausal Symptoms: 12 weeks, Multi Center, A randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study.” Submitted for publication.
  • LET'S FACE IT— your hormones rule. When they're out of whack, you are, too and when they're in harmony, everything else feels harmonious, as well. It's not uncommon to blame all kinds of extraneous factors on our hormones but such offhanded comments carry more truth than you realize.

    In fact, the numbers tell a very serious tale indeed. Did you know that over 75 percent of women are currently suffering from haywire hormones in their body directly related to a deficiency of one hormone? That hormone is progesterone.

    When your numbers dwindle, your body can react in a whole host of unpleasant ways. These include emotionally (mood swings, nervousness, anxiety, depression) and physically (stalled weight loss, osteopenia, osteoporosis, pain, inflammation), as well as a shot libido, thinning hair, skipped periods, and insomnia-ridden restless nights.

    If you suspect that this may apply to you and are wondering how you became progesterone deficient in the first place, here are a few likely culprits.

    • Your body is converting progesterone into cortisol as a result of stress.
    • You are deficient in zinc and vitamin B6, nutrient precursors of progesterone.
    • You are not ovulating regularly, leaving you without a corpus luteum to create progesterone in the first place.
    Progesterone Defined

    So, what exactly is progesterone? It is a hormone involved in female sexual behavior, pregnancy, and menstruation that is produced in the ovaries, the placenta, and the adrenal glands. Known as the “feel good hormone,” progesterone is up to 20 times more concentrated in the brain than in the blood stream. This hormone functions as a stabilizing force, counter-balancing estrogen. It has numerous positive benefits including promoting fat burn, helping to normalize blood sugar and cell oxygen levels, and acting as an antidepressant.

    As menstruation slows during perimenopause, so does the production of progesterone. The decline in progesterone means the body now lacks some of its estrogen-equalizing force. This imbalance contributes to some of the nastier symptoms of perimenopause such as decreased libido, depressed mood, and hypothyroidism-like symptoms like fatigue and weight gain.

    However, don't think you're in the clear if you haven't quite reached the perimenopause stage of life yet. In fact, no woman isn't at risk because these days having a progesterone deficiency seems to be common among women ages 18 to 80. This is because many of all ages lack the necessary nutrient precursors for their body to produce progesterone, especially zinc and vitamin B6, as I mentioned earlier.


    Besides its ability to counteract the undesirable effects of estrogen, progesterone functions as both a buffer to and a treatment for various ailments. It has been credited with fighting heart disease and cancer. In women in their thirties and forties, progesterone plays an active role in bone density, and a high progesterone level is a major protective factor against later osteoporosis.

    By increasing body energy, probably by helping thyroid hormones work better, progesterone causes a very slight but often noticeable rise in your body temperature when you ovulate, contributing to enhanced metabolism. This varies from woman to woman.

    Because progesterone plays a promotional role in so many functions critical to a good quality of life like mood and libido, normal fluctuations in this hormone can have potentially deleterious effects. After a fertilized egg settles on the uterus wall, ovarian progesterone cares for it. After the placenta develops, it, too, secretes progesterone. Progesterone levels continue high throughout pregnancy, which is why many women in the third trimester, and in spite of some physical discomfort, feel as good as they have ever felt in their lives. Unfortunately, when her progesterone level falls sharply after the birth, the mother is vulnerable to experiencing postpartum depression.

    At menopause, the drop in progesterone level is twelve times greater than that in estrogen level (estrogen declines by 40 to 60 percent). Men have higher progesterone levels than some post-menopausal women. Just like women after they give birth, this drop in progesterone can create a feeling of depression for both perimenopausal and menopausal women.

    If you have hair loss and skipped periods, low progesterone levels may be the culprit. Lack of ovulation in a skipped period can cause the adrenal cortex to secrete the hormone androstenedione as an alternative chemical precursor for the manufacture of other hormones to compensate for the diminished levels of progesterone. This steroid hormone is associated with some male characteristics, one of which is male pattern baldness. When you raise your progesterone level with natural progesterone cream, your androstenedione level will gradually decline and your hair will grow back normally. Be patient—hair growth is slow and it may take several months before you notice a difference.

    There are also a number of other beauty and health issues that can originate from low progesterone. On a superficial level, the consequences of low progesterone include growing whiskers on the chin, thinning hair, breaking capillaries, gaining weight, and emerging skin problems such as acne, aging, liver or age spots, and dryness. More internally, it can cause yeast infections, irritability, irregular periods, and mood fluctuations.

    Back in Balance

    If you're ready to get your body back in hormone harmony, it's a great idea to test your hormone levels prior to beginning any hormone treatment. Some health care professionals will recommend a saliva test. If you'd prefer to test your hormone levels outside of a doctor's office, there are quite reliable at-home tests available. Personally, I test quarterly each year. Wherever you receive the test, it should check for your body's levels of bioavailable progesterone, estradiol, estriol, testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol.

    If the results show that you are indeed experiencing low levels of progesterone, there is a powerful natural option to turn to. These days, more and more women are opting for natural methods of hormone therapy.

    Do note that the word natural when applied to progesterone doesn't mean exactly what it sounds like. Here, the term natural means that the plant progesterone molecule used to make the cream is identical to the human progesterone molecule, distinguishing it from the pharmaceutical progestin, whose molecule is slightly different from human progesterone. Some creams use extracts from soybeans (which are also used for phytoestrogens), and others are based on the wild yam (Dioscorea).

    Natural plant-based progesterone has the same identical structure as the progesterone a woman makes naturally in her body. The physiological dose of 20 mg per day can help improve libido, enhance the immune system, increase hair on the scalp, elevate the metabolic rate with resulting weight loss, act as a natural diuretic, boost the thyroid, and stimulate the production of bone while relaxing smooth muscles and promoting the strength of the myelin sheath.

    I prefer a formula that is derived from wild yam. Ensure that it is preservative-free, and be selective and diligent in your research, as some creams only contain a miniscule amount of progesterone, or even none at all. Depending upon your age and stage of life, there are different protocols, but in general a topical crème should be applied to the face, hands, chest, inner arms, and thyroid area. Rotate these as much as possible so that one area doesn't get too saturated.

    No matter your age, this unsung hero is your body's BFF for creating a place of harmony and calm from within.