Me­gan Shep­pard

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Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health -

I have been told that it would be ben­e­fi­cial to drink rasp­berry tea dur­ing the last trimester of my preg­nancy. Does it ac­tu­ally help, and how of­ten should I be drink­ing it?

>> The tea you are look­ing for is the leaf of the rasp­berry, rather than the rasp­ber­ries them­selves. Rasp­berry leaf, (rubus idaeus), has a long-stand­ing rep­u­ta­tion as be­ing ben­e­fi­cial dur­ing the fi­nal six weeks of preg­nancy to strengthen and tone the uterus, pre­par­ing for a trou­ble-free birth.

You should ide­ally be tak­ing two cups daily for the last month and a half of your preg­nancy. It is a sim­ple tea to pre­pare, ei­ther hot or cold, just use one heaped tea­spoon per cup of near boil­ing water, or in­fuse two level ta­ble­spoons in 750ml of cold water overnight. Rasp­berry leaf tea is widely avail­able as dried herb, but you can also buy it ready to use in tea bags. It is com­monly found in the wild since it tends to take over in ar­eas where it is planted, or you may al­ready have your own rasp­berry patch.

Rasp­berry leaves are highly nu­tri­tious — high in cal­cium, iron, potas­sium, phos­pho­rus, along with vi­ta­mins A, C, and E. This hum­ble leaf is also a won­der­ful tonic post-par­tum to re­store tone to the uterus and pelvic mus­cles and is worth con­tin­u­ing through­out the breast­feed­ing years. Com­bine it with marsh­mal­low root for a sooth­ing and nour­ish­ing drink to in­crease the flow of breast­milk and en­rich the qual­ity of your milk.

You can also use this herbal tea as a rem­edy to help with cold and flu, both as a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure and to treat ex­ist­ing symp­toms. It is won­der­ful as a mouth­wash for ul­cers and sores on the gums, and will also soothe a sore throat. Many herbal­ists use rasp­berry leaf tea as an aid in treat­ing stom­ach ul­cers, or top­i­cally for skin le­sions and ul­cer­a­tions. It is also use­ful to re­duce nau­sea. Rasp­berry leaf tea is con­sid­ered to be a won­der­ful herbal brew for young girls as they ap­proach pu­berty — it is thought to help ease both the phys­i­cal and emo­tional changes.

I have just ex­pe­ri­enced my first hot flush at the age of 53. What you would rec­om­mend to help deal with menopausal symp­toms nat­u­rally? My mother went through a very dif­fi­cult menopause and I want to avoid the same fate.

>> Hot flushes are ac­tu­ally the most com­mon symp­tom of menopause, ex­pe­ri­enced by around 75% of menopausal women. For­tu­nately there is a herbal rem­edy which specif­i­cally ad­dresses this is­sue, and fur­ther­more, it is backed by sci­en­tific re­search.

Sage (salvia of­fic­i­nalis), pic­tured be­low, has been shown to re­duce hot flushes in nu­mer­ous clin­i­cal tri­als, with re­search specif­i­cally us­ing Bio­force’s sage prepa­ra­tion show­ing an im­pres­sive 56% re­duc­tion in hot flushes.

Meno­force Sage tablets con­tain an ex­tract of sage herb ob­tained from freshly har­vested, or­gan­i­cally cul­ti­vated sage, and only need to be taken once daily. Each tablet con­tains 51mg of con­cen­trated dried tinc­ture from fresh sage (Salvia of­fic­i­nalis) leaves. This is equiv­a­lent to 3400mg of tinc­ture of fresh sage herb.

Meno­force Sage costs €16.25 for 30 tablets, or €41.99 for 90 tablets, and can be found on­line at www.AVo­gel.ie or in health stores.

Menopausal symp­toms other than hot flushes and night sweats can in­clude fa­tigue, in­som­nia, mem­ory loss, headaches, mood swings, breast ten­der­ness, weight gain, vagi­nal dry­ness, blad­der prob­lems, bloat­ing, os­teo­poro­sis, de­creased li­bido, and changes in skin, hair, teeth and nails — for­tu­nately most women will get only a few of th­ese symp­toms at any one time.

It is im­por­tant to choose whole foods over pro­cessed foods, and get in plenty of fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles — or­ganic or spray free is even bet­ter.

Keep­ing fit is an­other key fac­tor — at the very least you should be tak­ing a brisk walk for 30 min­utes a day.

Re­duc­ing stress lev­els is a must, along with get­ting good qual­ity sleep — eas­ier said than done if night sweats are a prob­lem, which is where sage comes to the res­cue.

NOTE: The in­for­ma­tion con­tained in this col­umn is not a sub­si­tute for med­i­cal advice. Al­ways con­sult a doc­tor.

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