Relief from Hot Flashes the Ayurvedic Way
Hot flashes and night sweats are created by an imbalance in Pitta in the deeper tissues of the body and the build-up of ama (toxins) in the channels of the body. When ama accumulates in the body, the flow of heat in the deeper tissues can get constricted. It tends to build up and then, when it finds an outlet, flashes out in a fashion that leaves you feeling uncomfortable. A sub-dosha of Vata, called Vyana Vata, can aggravate the problem if it is also out of balance, by "fanning the flames" with a dry wind action. Two keys to relief from hot flashes, therefore, are balancing Pitta dosha and cleansing ama from the body.
Cool down and be comfortable
In her book A Woman's Best Medicine for Menopause, Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf explains that hot flashes follow a daily pattern and tend to peak in most women in the late evening hours around 10:00 p.m. Ayurvedically, this time of the night is the start of Pitta time (10 p.m. - 2 a.m.), so one would expect this to be the time when Pitta becomes active in the body as well. To keep Pitta from flaring up, therefore, you have to learn to consciously cool down during the evening. Take time to relax, physically, mentally and emotionally. Drink some cooling Organic Pitta Tea or Organic Rose Petal Spread in cool milk.
In general, avoid always working under deadlines or time pressure. Do not overwork. Prioritize, delegate, simplify — whatever it takes to ensure that you can get through your day without constantly being stretched.
Do not skip meals, and make sure you eat lunch around noon, when your digestive fire is at its peak. Eat plenty of sweet juicy fruits — ripe pears are excellent for balancing Sadhaka Pitta, a sub-dosha of Pitta that governs the emotions. The Pitta-pacifying diet favors the sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and recommends avoiding sour, salty and spicy foods. Drink lots of room-temperature or cool (not ice-cold) water through the day. Include some ghee in your diet — it's very good for pacifying Pitta. Cook with cooling spices such as coriander, anise, fennel and mint.
Cleansing the physiology of ama
Periodic internal cleansing is important in order to rid the body of toxins. With the cessation of menstruation, women lose one avenue of periodic cleansing. To compensate for the loss of natural purification that occurs with each monthly cycle, you need to follow the ayurvedic recommendation of internal cleansing at every change of season at the minimum.
Eat a light, easy-to-digest diet during the period of cleansing. Drink lots of water. Perform the daily ayurvedic self-massage with a cooling oil such as Soothing Massage Oil. Go to bed by 10:00 p.m. Elim-Tox-O is a gentle whole-body cleanser, and works to rid the body of toxins without inflaming Pitta dosha.
For more ways to balance your Pitta and internal cleansing therapies, read A Woman's Best Medicine for Menopause by Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf.
Herbs that heal
The new Hot Flash Relief herbal tablets from Maharishi Ayurveda offer holistic support for balancing Pitta in the deeper tissues of the body, and can be taken in preparation for menopause, during menopause and by postmenopausal women. The combination of Shatavari, Indian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus Indicus), Indian Gooseberry (Amla), Waterlily, White Sandalwood, Indian Tinospora, Rose and Licorice provides the cooling action by increasing soma (cooling lunar energy), which balances agni (heating solar energy) in the body. This formula is helpful for balancing Sadhaka Pitta, which governs the emotions, and Ranjaka Pitta, which governs the blood.
Premium Amla Berry is another herbal supplement valuable for balancing Pitta in the physiology. It can be taken along with the targeted Hot Flash Relief formula.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.