Group of women with hands in the center

The Complexity of Women's Health

I have been reading a lot on this subject and the thing that surprises me is that no one says the same things. 

I am inclined to think that all herbs are probably good for older women. A healthy lifestyle that keeps things from clogging and all the flows flowing is what everybody needs. But there are certain health problems that do seem to plague mostly women as they age. It is believed that this is due to the loss of female sex hormones after menopause. These are things like bones thinning, different degrees of memory loss, urinary incontinence and the vascular system hardening.

When I was in school I learned about the reproductive system 3 times. One in 5th grade, once in High School and then again in College. It always began with 15 min on the male reproductive system which did not vary all 3 times. Totally understandable and simple. This was then followed by 3 days of confusion about the female reproductive system and it varied all three times.

First of all it should have been broken down into secondary sex characteristics, the sex act and then menstruation and then pregnancy. It's actually 4 subjects in one. Then one could make the subject of aging changes that happen from the original. 

I think the complexity and confronting premise is at work here. Being that Science in its inception was a male dominated field, I don't think the subject was confronted well enough to really be approached as systematically as usual and so it was the complexity that was taught, instead of breaking things down to simplicity like usual

It seems to me that men in history must have been overwhelmed at trying to understand anything about women in general and all handlings seemed to be slanted toward suppression and calming and not general health. This was even the case with herbal medicine.

I really wanted to get into clarifying the subject, but it really is beyond the scope of a single blog. And maybe you just want to know what is good to take for what anyway. So that is the approach I have finally decided on. But it amazes me that nobody has really confronted and simplified this subject and therefore there is not too much agreement about how it should be handled. I am going to try to go by specific problems to organize the discussion somewhat.


Menopause and Perimenopause

In one study that attempted to clarify the use of herbs for aging women, the following is what they came up with. 

Results of the study showed that medicinal plants, which include:

  • Sage
  • lemon balm
  • Valerina (Same as Valerian as far as I could tell)
  • Black Cohosh
  • Fenugreek
  • Black Cumin (Nigella sativa)
  • Vitex (Vitex anfus-castus)
  • Fennel
  • Evening Primrose
  • Ashwagandha
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Alfalfa
  • St Johns Wort which they listed as Hypericum perforatum without the common name
  • Panax Ginseng
  • Pimpinella anisum (Anise)
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • Passiflora incarnata ( Purple Passion Flower)
  • Red Clover and
  • Glycine soja (Wild soybean)

were effective in the treatment of acute menopausal syndrome with different mechanisms.

Results from various studies examining herbs that can help with hormone rebalancing and therefore can help women at all ages:

  • Nigella sativa, also known as Black Cumin, kalonji or fennel flower (Not related to the herb Fennel or the spice Cumin). Its flowers produce tiny black antioxidant rich seeds
  • Ashwagandha
  • Black Cohosh
  • Chasteberries, the fruit of the Vitex agnus tree. Also known as Chaste Tree, Monks Pepper or Vitex


  • Marjoram 

Three women sitting together

Skin Health

Aging skin is also suspected to be hormone related. Herbs that can help create and maintain beautiful skin:

  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Ginkgo
  • Ashwagandha
  • Ginseng
  • Horsetail
  • Oregano essential oil
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

These in addition to taking internally can be made into poultices or face masks or solutions to spray on skin as a toner. I learned that honey is used in making the masks because it itself is moisturizing and nutritive to the skin as well as being a deterrent of microbial growth and action. That was a surprise. I would have thought the opposite because it is so sweet. But honey is made by enzymatic action on proteins. Now that's a treasure hidden in plain sight!

Bone Health

When it comes to healthy bones and come to think of it health in general, one needs a healthy lifestyle along with the herbs for best results. This is especially true regarding exercise and bones. If there are no stresses being put on bones then the body thinks it can use the minerals elsewhere. That's why exercise is of paramount importance in keeping your bone density. Loss of bone density is also a result of hormonal imbalance. That was covered above. 

Herbs specific to increasing mineral bone mass are:

  • Nettles, considered a tonic herb for building strength. Has Vitamin K required for making bone proteins and has a high amount of easily assimilable calcium. It is high in silicon which strengthens bones.
  • Horsetail, used in Ayurveda for healing broken bones. It supplies nutrients to bone tissue and is high in silicon. It has also been found to prevent microbial problems linked to fractures and bone loss. Horsetail improves the bone building ability of Osteoblasts. Those are the cells that lay the framework which minerals bind to form bone. It was also found that horsetail prevented cells from breaking down bone.
  • Ashwagandha, improves bone calcification and increases the number of cells that produce bone tissue.
  • Dandelion shoots, which includes the stem leaves and flower, contain a high amount of calcium and also probably the highest source of Boron in any food. Boron is essential for building strong bones
  • Shiitake Mushrooms are high in calcium and silicon and have a long history of being used to heal and strengthen bones.

Of course all the herbs I am mentioning have many other things they are good for, but I am just keeping to the subject for simplicity.


4 women link arms with their back to the camera


Vascular Health

The vascular system hardening and loss of memory sort of go hand in hand. Without vessels being strong and pliable not enough blood gets to the smaller vessels in the periphery and brain. This frankly affects everything. Mental function is many faceted however and this list of herbs have been historically used in all the ancient systems of natural medicine to improve mental function:

  • Ashwagandha - Helps keep brain cells healthy, promotes their growth and inhibits their death. Straightens out the mitochondrial function and increases communication between nerve cells.
  • Bacopa monnieri - Brahmi, also known as Hyssop. Used in Ayurveda for mental stress, memory loss. It inhibits nerve cell death and delays mental aging and improves heart function
  • Cats Claw- Improves memory, protects the arrangement of nerve cells, prevents tangles and overgrowths in the nervous system.
  • Ginkgo - Stimulates blood flow in the brain, improves mitochondrial function, blocks nerve cell death while increasing formation of new nerve cells.
  • Gotu Kola- Helps improve mood and memory. Promotes the growth of dendrites which receive impulses from other cells into the main cell body and promotes mitochondrial health.
  • Lions Mane - Protects the nervous system, stimulates neurotransmission (communication between nerve cells) and promotes the outgrowth of dendrites and axons, the in and out of nerve communication. 
  • Saffron - Protects the nervous system and prevents the formation of interfering plaques of certain proteins on the nerve cells.
  • Shankhpushpi - A type of Morning Glory. Used in Ayurveda to improve memory, increase concentration and slow brain aging.
  • Triphala - means three fruits because it is made of 3 dried fruits from India. Amalaki or amla, (Phyllanthus emblica), Bibhataki or Vibhitaki (Terminalia bellrica) and Haritaki (Terminaliia chebula). 

Triphala prevents dental cavities which can affect the brain and nerves connected to those teeth. It also inhibits parasites and reverses metabolic disturbances.

  • Turmeric - Inhibits brain cell death.

Heart Health

There is suggestion that there may be a connection between female sex hormones and blood vessels hardening simply and only because the incidence in women seems to spike compared to men of the same age after menopause. If this is the case, then the hormone balancing herbs above should be helpful. Since that is really just a supposition here is some herbs that help keep the cardiovascular system happy:

  • ajo
  • Ginger
  • Hawthorn 
  • Turmeric
  • Ginkgo
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Eleuthero, known as Siberian Ginseng
  • Ashwagandha
  • Yarrow
  • Guta Kola
  • Horse Chestnut
  • Butcher's Broom
  • Blue to purple colored berries.
  • Witch Hazel on the skin or in a bath helps veins.
  • Mushrooms especially Cordyceps and Shiitake

Urinary Tract Health

Urinary incontinence is a slippery one. I waded through page after page, study after study just looking for what the actual problem was. The problem with the tissues in the system, not details about all the symptoms. You just can't believe all the verbal complexity that has passed for knowing something about the subject. One could get the idea that someone was just interested in selling diapers.

I think science has not even begun to confront this as a problem they want to solve. Now it may be true that there are changes in the tissues of the urinary system due to hormonal changes, but I don't find it acceptable if there is no treatment that works to come out of this knowledge besides how to deal with having incontinence.

What I found out is that, bottom line, the pelvic floor muscles including the sphincter muscle that regulates urine flow are not strong enough. "Why?" is the question that opens the door to an actual solution. 

If the muscles are just weak, they can be strengthened through exercise. There are physical therapists that actually specialize in getting your pelvic floor in shape. They apparently have various ways on top of the basic Kegel exercises.

The more common reason is that something is causing a swelling and weepiness of the tissues. Tissues in this condition can not form a tight seal. This could be caused by microscopic critters or even thread worms or other parasites that have been living there for a long time.  After menopause the immune system might not be in the same shape as it was to keep that under control and the tissues could be suffering from that leakiness on a chronic basis.

In that case I would suggest finding out from a practitioner who is competent at testing for intruders in the area. And if they are extra competent they can test you on what your best solution is as well. 

Herbs that help the Urinary system or the various symptoms of incontinence:

  • Saw Palmetto
  • arándano rojo
  • Nettle
  • Cayenne
  • Reishi Mushroom
  • Corn Silk
  • Horsetail
  • Gosha-jinki-gan, GJG, Japanese mixture of 10 herbs
  • Hachi-mi-jio-gan, HE for short, Japanese mixture of 8 herbs.
  • Bladderwrack
  • Ashwagandha



Well this is a complex subject. I tried to give you the basic data to start you off on the right foot so to speak. I sectioned it up by symptoms so you can go to that section to narrow down what herb or combination might work for you.

Now I am sorry we don't carry every herb I have mentioned, but we do have a lot of them and will be carrying more in the future. But if you'll notice, there is one herb that is on every single one of the above lists. You got it! Amazing Ashwagandha! And we sureDo have that one! 

We also have a wonderful combination of Cranberry and Nettle. It was a really good idea to put these together. Together they handle intruders and the tissue integrity of the whole urinary system. And don't forget Black Cohosh that used to be given for practically every ailment for its calming effect on the nervous system and its general greatness regarding the uterus.

We also have the Organic 8 Mushroom Blend that has the Reishi, Lions Mane, Shiitake and Cordyceps. So we got you more than covered on the mushrooms.

We also have a lot of the other ones. My suggestion is you start out with at least Ashwagandha and a few from each list that covers your symptoms and then see what happens and go from there. If anyone tries the Triphalia or those Japanese combinations I would love to know your experience. Actually I would love all your feedback.

This is all trial and error, but with benefits. You can't help but get something out of every herb you try. These are all Nature’s formulas put on this earth forYouruse. They are foods. 

Unfortunately, the research to be able to tell you exactly what to take is left on you. After all, you are unique. So have some fun doing it. Life is an adventure!

Click here to start.

Several Herbal Roots supplements
*This article is intended for informational purposes. The statements above have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Rosalie Roder got her Bachelors' degrees in Chemistry and Biology from Mary Baldwin University in 1983. After graduation, with that background, her real education on natural health and healing and human potential began. It is a never ending study and she is always happy to share what she has found out so far.