Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
I am at the menopausal age and am looking for a safe alternative to HRT (hormone replacement therapy). I suffer from hot flashes, and my hair is drab and lifeless these days. What can I do?
A: Your symptoms are classified in traditional Chinese medicine as Yin deficiency. This is a common condition in menopausal women. I will give you some dietary and practical advice but also suggest you consult with an acupuncturist/herbalist, as they have effective treatment procedures for these conditions.
Here are some recommendations:
1. Avoid stress, tension, emotional turmoil, and various stimulants including coffee, smoking, and alcohol.
2. Incorporate more of the following into your diet: black beans, sesame seeds, soybeans, walnuts, lycii fruits, mulberries, yams, licorice, Chinese black dates, lotus seeds, and chrysanthemum flowers.
Here are some recipes:
1. Cook black beans with rice into porridge and eat twice daily.
2. Make a tea from chrysanthemum flowers, lycii fruits, and cassia seeds. Drink this three times daily.
3. Take lotus seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and rice, making these items into a porridge.
4. Make tea from licorice root, Chinese black dates, and wheat. This will help with extreme mood swings and emotional turmoil.
You may find that with these dietary changes and a three-month treatment protocol with a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) doctor your hair will also become healthier.
You may also try the specially formulated products from the Traditions of Tao: “Women’s Wellness” to strengthen your yin, “Ancient Treasures” tea, “Passages Plus”, and “Hot Flash”. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.