Infographic © herbs-info.com. Image sources: see foot of page
Just like the start of menstruation during puberty, menopause is a normal part of every woman’s life. It’s the time when your menstrual period ends permanently and you are no longer able to bear children.  Some women feel relieved with this because it means that they no longer have to worry about unwanted pregnancy, but for most women, the onset of menopause is dreadful because of the stressful changes that it does to the body. 
How Do I Know If My Menopause Has Begun?
During the months of perimenopause, you might notice the following symptoms below leading to the last day of your menstruation.  However, take note that not everyone might experience the same symptoms due to different estrogen levels in the body.
#1 – Irregular Periods. This is one of the first and most direct changes that you will notice. Your period will usually become irregular, which means it could be longer or shorter and heavier or lighter.
#2 – Vaginal Dryness. Menopause may case vaginal dryness, a condition wherein the vagina’s natural lubrication is insufficient. This will make sexual intercourse feel uncomfortable.
#3 – Urinary Incontinence. This is the loss of bladder control, which will cause urine to leak whenever you cough, sneeze, or don’t make it to the toilet on time.
#4 – Sleep Problems. One of the signs of menopause that women also experience is having trouble getting sleep – it could be having trouble falling asleep or waking up too early.
#5 – Changes In Sex Drive. Going through a whole year without your period could spike up your interest in sex with the thought of not getting pregnant, or make you totally disinterested.
#6 – Mood Changes. During this time, you may also feel very irritable and moody, possibly due to stress and hormonal changes.
#7 – Hot Flashes. These are sudden feelings of heat in the body, followed by blotching, sweating, and shivering. Most hot flashes last from 10 to 30 minutes.
#8 – Night Sweats. Night sweats are similar to hot flashes, but happen during sleep and could be strong enough to wake you up.
#9 – Weight Gain. The hormonal changes brought by menopause may cause weight gain around your abdomen, thighs, and hips.
#10 – Thinning Hair. Since hormones are also responsible for growth and repair, the imbalance of estrogen during menopause may cause hair thinning.
#11 – Swollen And Tender Breasts. The swelling of the breasts are one of the first symptoms of menopause, which is also caused by changing estrogen levels.
#12 – Joint Pains. The joints are also affected by the fluctuation of estrogen levels in the body during menopause, causing pain in the shoulders, neck, jaws, and elbows. 
#13 – Memory Loss. Some women experience short-term memory loss during menopause due to declining estrogen levels and increasing stress.
What Herbal Remedies Can I Take?
Menopause is a natural biological process that every woman goes through. You may be able to make your journey through menopause a bit more comfortable by using these herbs as a remedy for your pain and discomfort. 
#1 – Green Tea. Drinking a hot cup of green tea may help relieve hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and anxiety. Green tea can also help reduce stress and pain because of L-theanine, an amino acid that has anti-anxiety effects.
#2 – Valerian Root. As a phytoestrogenic plant (a chemical compound containing estrogen and is naturally-occurring in plants), Valerian root can help alleviate hot flashes, sleeplessness, and mental disorders. 
#3 – Black Cohosh. Made from the root of the black cohosh plant, it is used as a support formula to lessen the discomfort of menopausal women. It can also help prevent depression associated with menopause.
#4 – Soy. Adding soy to your daily diet during perimenopause can work wonders to relieve your muscle pain and other symptoms. Soy contains isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen, which can supplement estrogen loss in the body. 
#5 – Ginseng. Ginseng is thought to be able to help you get a good night’s sleep because of the saponins and ginsenosides which promote better sleep and combat stress, along with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
#6 – Wild Yam. When used as a topical cream, wild yam is considered beneficial for balancing hormones, regulating the menstrual cycle, and relieving ovarian and uterine pain.
#7 – Chasteberry. In addition to its numerous uses, chasteberry also relieves hot flashes, irregular cycles, and depression during menopause. It stimulates the pituitary gland so it can regulate the balance of estrogen and progesterone normally. 
#8 – Evening Primrose. A good source of the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), evening primrose can help relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweating. 
#9 – Flaxseed. It contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which helps modulate the hormone metabolism of the body. It also reduces hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
#10 – Dong Quai. The root of the dong quai plant is used for supplementing the decreasing levels of estrogen in the body, and can help lessen the frequency of menopausal symptoms.
#11 – Maca. This starchy tuber is also used as a remedy by women who experience hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms. It’s also known to improve libido and prevent depression.
#12 – Red Clover. Another phytoestrogenic plant, the red clover can reduce hot flashes and sleep disorders among menopausal women. With daily intake of its extract, this herb can stabilize your hormonal levels. 
#13 – St. John’s Wort. This herb is known to improve mood and prevent depression and anxiety during perimenopause, especially when combined with black cohosh. 
 Menopause http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menopause
 Menopause https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause
 Herbs for Menopause http://www.herbs-info.com/herbs-for-menopause.html
 Menopause Joint Pain, Menopause Arthritis http://menopausehealthmatters.com/symptoms-of-menopause/menopause-joint-pain/
 Mirabia, Parvaneh and Mojab, Faraz, The Effects of Valerian Root on Hot Flashes in Menopausal Women http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3813196/
 Soy for Menopause Symptoms – Topic Overview http://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/soy-for-menopause-symptoms-topic-overview
 Godino, Jessica, VITEX Chasteberry: A supreme hormonal tonic for women http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Vitex_RedMoonHerbs.htm
 Evening Primrose Oil: Herb Used for Menopause Symptoms and PMS http://www.webmd.boots.com/vitamins-and-minerals/evening-primrose-oil
 Red Clover Eases Menopausal Discomfort http://sciencenordic.com/red-clover-eases-menopausal-discomfort
 St. John’s Wort http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/st-johns-wort
Infographic Image Sources:
Soy – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Soybeanvarieties.jpg
Dong Quai – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ginseng_in_Korea.jpg
Black Cohosh – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cimicifuga_racemosa_002.jpg
Green Tea – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tea_leaves_steeping_in_a_zhong_%C4%8Daj_05.jpg
Evening Primrose – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oenothera_rubricaulis_2014_G1.jpg
Valerian Root – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Valeriana_officinalis.jpg
Chasteberry – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vitex_agnus-castus_1.JPG
Mexican Wild Yam – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wild_yam_in_woods_-_young_plants.jpg