Feared by all women as they approach fifty, hot flashes or flushing are manifested by a sudden and diffuse feeling of heat in the bust, neck and face. They can occur during the day but also and especially at night with repercussions on the quality of sleep. Characteristic of entering menopause, they are part of climacteric disorders such as night sweats, vaginal dryness, urinary problems, headaches, fatigue, irritability… Depending on the women, their frequency, intensity and their duration will vary greatly. In all cases, it is legitimate to want to relieve them by favoring natural solutions, especially since hormone replacement treatment is not without risk. Furthermore, a healthy lifestyle is very important to reduce hot flashes and prevent other risks linked to menopause. This page was therefore designed with a global approach to help get through this period smoothly thanks to the benefits of plants, while taking care of you and your health.

This article was updated on 11/01/2024

TOP 5 natural solutions

1. For its complete action on hot flashes: clary Sage essential oil*
2. As a basic treatment at the first signs of menopause: raspberry bud macerate*
3. In spray to cool down locally: peppermint hydrosol, a solution without estrogenic effects.
4. To limit night sweats and improve sleep: hops*
5. When stress and emotions impact the frequency and intensity of hot flashes: petit Grain Bigarade essential oil

* These plants have estrogenic effects, their use is not recommended, or even contraindicated, in the event of a personal or family history of hormone-dependent cancer. Seek medical advice.

Buds to act at the first signs of menopause

Why use bud macerates from premenopause?

It is rare for hot flashes to appear without warning. In the majority of cases, there will first be variations in the length of cycles, the abundance of periods, an appearance or intensification of premenstrual syndrome... So many signs which correspond to the different stages of premenopause (or perimenopause) and which demonstrate the progressive cessation of ovarian function (decrease in the secretion of progesterone then estrogen) until the total disappearance of periods and the entry into menopause itself. It may therefore be interesting to use bud macerates at the first signs of premenopause to avoid hormonal disturbances that are too early or too sudden, even before hot flashes appear.

Certain macerates are known for their modulating and regulating effects on the hormonal system as a whole, others will more specifically compensate for the drop in progesterone or estrogen. The choice can therefore be made according to the disorders to be limited to promote a smooth entry into menopause. We can also use buds which act on nervous regulation in case of irritability, emotionality or sleep problems.

Which macerates to choose?
  • Raspberry macerate is the most versatile macerate which will be suitable in the majority of cases, throughout the vagaries of premenopause. Through its regulatory effect, it is in fact used to limit disorders, whether they are linked to the drop in progesterone (water retention, headaches, disruption of the duration of cycles, drop in libido) or rather to the drop in estrogen (hot flashes).
  • Airelle macerate is the other essential bud of menopause. By its more specifically estrogenic action, it will be more appropriate at the end of premenopause, when the signs are mainly linked to a drop in estrogens such as hot flashes, night sweats and the resulting fatigue. As a precaution, however, it is not recommended in the event of a history of hormone-dependent cancer.
  • In case of insomnia or nervous disorders associated with hot flashes, several buds can be used: fig tree maceratelinden macerate or hawthorn macerate.
How to use them?

Start with a 3-week treatment with one of the bud macerates best suited to your area: 5 to 15 drops per day in a glass of water (or pure), 15 minutes before a meal. Start with 5 drops and increase gradually (for example: 5 drops the first week, 10 the second and 15 the last).

Secondly, after a week's break, it will be possible to take several buds together or to change buds depending on the evolution of the signs.

Essential oils for targeted action

Why use essential oils?

Essential oils will first be sought to act on the hormonal causes of hot flashes. These are more specifically essential oils having an estrogen-like effect. Even if their mechanism of action is not yet well defined, the presence of certain molecules, "similar" to estrogens, would explain their ability to compensate for the drop in estrogens. Hence their interest in menopausal disorders, but also in other female problems linked to hormonal insufficiency (amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, dysmenorrhea). However, given this hormonal activity, they will be contraindicated in people with a history of hormone-dependent cancer and in cases of hyperestrogenism (fibroids, mastoses, etc.).

We can also turn to essential oils for symptomatic action only. Thanks to their refreshing or perspiration regulating effects, certain essential oils will thus be used to reduce the feeling of heat or sweating.

In addition, we will use calming essential oils when stress or emotionality have an impact on the appearance or intensity of hot flashes, but also when night sweats disrupt sleep.

Clary sage as a reference essential oil

Clary Sage essential oil east the one that is most often recommended for hot flashes. It contains not only an estrogenic active ingredient, sclareol, but also esters which give it spasmolytic and soothing properties. It is also traditionally used against excessive sweating. This versatility should not, however, make us forget that it is contraindicated in the event of a history of hormone-dependent cancer. It should also not be confused with the essential oil of Sage Officinale which, given its toxic potential, is prohibited for public sale. There are other estrogen-like essential oils such as Fennel, Anise or Star anise. Rich in anethole, their estrogenic action is powerful, but they are also prohibited for public sale.

  • Orally, 1 drop of Clary Sage in a teaspoon of honey or olive oil. 2 times a day for 3 weeks maximum. Observe a break of one week before resuming if necessary. No prolonged use without medical advice.
  • Through the skin, prepare a 20% mixture (60 drops of Clary Sage essential oil for 8 mL of vegetable oil). Apply 4-5 drops of the mixture by massaging onto the lower abdomen, in the morning or evening depending on the frequency of appearance of hot flashes.
  • Inhaled : Place 2 drops of Clary Sage essential oil on your wrists in case of hot flashes and breathe deeply. To be renewed as needed up to 4 times a day.
Peppermint to refresh

Peppermint essential oil is often added to mixtures against hot flashes to benefit from the “refreshing” effect of menthol. It is preferable to use it occasionally in case of hot flashes or to replace it with Peppermint hydrosol. Seek medical advice for people with asthma and epilepsy, in cases of unstabilized hypertension, hepatobiliary and gastric disorders, G6PD enzyme deficiency, or for long-term use.

  • Orally, 1 drop of Peppermint essential oil in a teaspoon of olive oil or honey in case of hot flash. Do not exceed 3 drops per day. No prolonged use.
  • Inhaled, it is also possible to inhale directly from the bottle to benefit from its cool effect during hot flashes.
Relaxing and soothing essential oils

To act on the emotional component of hot flashes or the quality of sleep, we will choose from essential oils which are used in cases of stress, anxiety or insomnia such as petit Grain Bigarade essential oilTrue or Fine Lavender essential oil, roman Chamomile essential oil, or the Bergamot

  • Inhaled, 2 to 3 drops of essential oil on a tissue or the wick of an inhaler. To breathe as soon as necessary.
  • Through the skin, dilute 1 drop of essential oil in 4 drops of vegetable oil, applying to the solar plexus, the inside of the wrists and/or the soles of the feet.

Hydrosols to gently refresh and harmonize

In which cases should hydrosols be preferred?

Whether for one-off local treatments or for long-term cures, hydrosols will be interesting as an alternative or complement to aromatherapy and gemmotherapy. They have many advantages:

  • Hydrosols are flexible products to use, especially orally, in particular because they are less concentrated in active molecules. They will be particularly suitable for people who cannot use essential oils or to avoid using essential oils for long periods of time. As a precaution, those which have an estrogenic effect will still not be recommended in the event of a history of hormone-dependent cancer.
  • Certain hydrosols are particularly practical to use in spray, especially for their immediate refreshing or soothing effect, very appreciated in cases of night sweats.
  • Hydrosols will also appeal to those who are in a hurry and don't have time to prepare herbal tea.
Which hydrosols to choose?

There are several hydrosols which are known for their hormonal, refreshing or soothing properties and which are recommended to relieve hot flashes:

  • The reference hydrosol east officinal sage hydrosol. Since the essential oil is prohibited from over-the-counter sale due to its toxicity, it is the hydrosol that is used to benefit from the many benefits of this plant. With its estrogenic, relaxing and antiperspirant effects, this hydrosol is particularly suitable for supporting menopause and reducing hot flashes. It can be used orally, but its use is reserved for people without a history of hormone-dependent cancer.
  • For an immediate refreshing effect, it is advisable to spray locallypeppermint hydrosol. But it is also possible to consume it orally to benefit from the general feeling of freshness it provides.
  • Against hot flashes caused by stress, we will favor theOrange Blossom hydrosolDamascus Rose hydrosol or roman Chamomile hydrosol. All of these hydrosols are known for their soothing and relaxing properties. The personal choice will be made according to the preference of taste or perfume, because it is possible to use them both as a local spray and orally. Additional benefits for gently returning to sleep in the event of night sweats.
How to use them?

To limit hot flashes or triggering factors such as stress, hydrosols can be used, alone or in a mixture, in different ways:

  • Orally : dilute 1 teaspoon of hydrosol in a glass of water, preferably lukewarm, 2 to 3 times a day. For long-term treatments, it is recommended to take a one-week break after 3 weeks of use before continuing the following month.
  • In local spray on the face or chest to cool or soothe during hot flashes and nighttime awakenings.

It is also possible to use them in a diffuser, mist type or in the bath to benefit from their relaxing effects.

Officinal Sage in herbal tea

Why choose Sage herbal teas against hot flashes?

For fans of herbal tea, we preferred to limit ourselves to Sage, a great “lady” of herbal medicine, essential at the time of menopause. Beyond its antiperspirant action, which is particularly sought after to limit hot flashes, a 2013 study revealed a hormonal action. A great scientific breakthrough to explain its traditional use in menopausal disorders!

Other plants are used to accompany women throughout their lives. Chasteberry, for example, will help compensate for the lack of progesterone and will traditionally be used in cases of painful periods or at the start of premenopause when cycles become irregular. As for Cimicifuga (or Cohosh), Hops or Red Clover, they are better known for their estrogenic properties. These plants being mainly consumed in the form of powder or titrated extracts, their use will require personalized advice., because these presentations are much more concentrated than herbal teas and may present certain risks of use.

How to use Sage?

In infusion : for one cup, pour simmering water (ideally at a temperature of 80-90°C) over a tablespoon of dry plants (about 3 officinal Sage leaves). Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Drink 2 cups per day for 20 days. Take a break for a week before doing another treatment. Do not exceed the indicated doses. Seek medical advice if receiving treatment for diabetes.

Phytoestrogen supplementation on the plate

Why add phytoestrogens to your diet?

Phytoestrogens are these natural components present in certain plants which have the capacity to mimic the action of estrogens. The best known are the isoflavones present at high levels in soy., this food widely consumed in Asia where women have less breast cancer and fewer menopausal symptoms than in the West. They have been the subject of numerous studies and are considered a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy.

However, their consumption in the form of food supplements would present a risk of increased breast cancer, without necessarily giving very conclusive results on the reduction of hot flashes. So there's no need to take risks with these kinds of products, especially since a 2021 study showed that a vegetarian diet, supplemented with half a cup of regular soybeans, could reduce moderate to severe hot flashes. by 84%.

Furthermore, there are other phytoestrogens, lignans, which are found in notable quantities in Flax. There are no studies yet regarding hot flashes but the protective effects of flax seeds have been confirmed for the prevention of breast cancer. In addition, flax seeds are good sources of omega 3 and fiber which help prevent other pathologies such as cardiovascular diseases, the incidence of which increases during menopause.

Where to find phytoestrogens in food?

Food sources of plant estrogens are very numerous and are not limited to just soy and flax. By integrating them into your diet in normal quantities, they safely contribute to covering our natural needs:

  • Legumes (lentils, chickpeas and beans…)
  • Whole grains (wheat, rye, barley) and oilseeds (almonds, cashews)
  • Certain fruits and vegetables like apples or grapes, green leafy vegetables…
How to consume them?
  • Consume soy in moderation. The French Food Safety Agency (ANSES) recommends taking no more than 1 mg of soy isoflavones per kilo of weight per day (i.e. 60 mg maximum per day for a 60 kilo woman). A single serving per day of soy product would be sufficient, favoring the least processed products, or simply the seeds.
  • Add Linen daily : 4 teaspoons of linseed (around 20 g) per day is enough to benefit from their benefits. Best consumed crushed, throughout the day, in sweet (desserts, dairy products, etc.) or savory (dishes, salads, etc.) preparations.
  • Favor a varied diet rich in cereals, legumes, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables which are natural sources of phytoestrogens, while providing other health-beneficial nutrients. In 2020, EMAS (European Menopause and Andropause Society) published a summary of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet during menopause. It would help limit hot flashes... but also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, maintain bone health, prevent cognitive decline, reduce the risk of breast cancer...

Acupuncture, yoga… as non-drug alternatives

Given the risks associated with Hormone Replacement Treatment and phytoestrogens, any other alternative or complementary method is welcome to limit hot flashes. Among the avenues explored, we find in particular theacupuncture and other non-medicinal practices such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, meditation…

Even if scientific publications on this subject do not always give significant results, these methods have the advantage of not limit itself to a hormonal action, but to act on the other components of hot flashes. Current knowledge shows that thermoregulation is also affected by endorphins and other central neurotransmitters. This would explain the effects obtained with stress management methods such as meditation or with acupuncture by acting directly on the central nervous system.

Take care of your lifestyle

In the event of hot flashes, it is recommended to adopt a balanced diet, rich in plants and limited in sugar and to avoid anything that can promote their appearance: alcohol, tobacco, exciting drinks such as coffee, etc. exposure to heat... A healthy lifestyle is also very important to reduce hot flashes, but also to prevent other risks linked to menopause.

Limit the effects of stress

Stress being a factor aggravating or triggering hot flashes, all the methods used to manage it will help you experience menopause better. They will be useful in prevention, but also to reduce their intensity by avoiding panic when hot flashes occur. These methods will also help you get back to sleep and improve the quality of sleep which can be disrupted by night sweats.

Many solutions exist. Meditation, deep breathing, sophrology, yoga... all these anti-stress techniques have been the subject of studies to validate their soothing effects. Those in a hurry will choose the olfaction of essential oils or cardiac coherence which, in a few minutes, allows you to significantly reduce stress levels.

Practicing physical activity

The benefits of physical activity around menopause are multiple and often underestimated. Sport helps prevent osteoporosis, loss of muscle mass or cardiovascular diseases. It would also help regulate hormonal fluctuations that occur with menopause. Finally, practicing physical activity helps reduce stress and excess weight, which are aggravating factors for hot flashes.

Studies from 2012 and 2015 showed that physical activity, even moderate, made it possible to reduce the frequency of hot flashes and improve quality of life. Its effectiveness relies above all on the regularity of the practice.

For people at highest risk of osteoporosis, it is recommended to favor running or walking rather than so-called sports such as cycling or swimming to further promote bone formation

Controversies surrounding hormone replacement therapy

Treatment of menopause-related disorders relies primarily on the prescription of hormones to compensate for the decrease in estrogen and progesterone. This is the “famous” hormone replacement therapy for menopause (THM or HRT). It is certainly effective against hot flashes, but it has also been the subject of controversy.

Its benefit having been called into question by several studies since 2000, the French health authorities had to publish several recommendations and in particular specify that “In healthy women who do not present with climacteric syndrome or risk factors for osteoporosis, the administration of a THM is not recommended due to an unfavorable benefit/risk ratio.” Indeed, it is now clearly established that THM increases the risks of certain cancers (breast, endometrium, ovaries), stroke or thrombosis… It should therefore only be offered if the disorders have “an impact on the quality of life” of the person and if there are no contraindications (history of hormone-dependent cancer or stroke), while by limiting oneself “to the minimum effective dose, for the shortest possible duration, with […] regular evaluation. »

In this context, it is legitimate to seek natural solutions. Certain medicinal plants and certain food supplements indeed contain phytoestrogens. But they are not all without risks. As with THM, their use is not recommended for women with a history of breast or uterine cancer. Other “natural” products like Yam, DHEA or beta-alanine are also controversial. At best, they are inactive, but they can also have unwanted effects.

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Publication: Spetz Holm, A.C., Frisk, J., & Hammar, M.L. (2012). Acupuncture as Treatment of Hot Flashes and the Possible Role of Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/579321

Publication: ANSES. (2005). Safety and benefits of phytoestrogens provided by food - Recommendations. https://www.anses.fr/fr/system/files/NUT-Ra-Phytoestrogens.pdf

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