Nourishing Ourselves

Nourishing Ourselves

Nourishing ourselves is critically important during our mid-life years. In fact, nourishment is the key word, the essential ingredient, to ensure living to a ripe and healthy, strong and vital, old age.

It is not simply the fluctuation of hormones that produces what we
call menopausal, or andropausal, symptoms in women and men. Often the liver, adrenal system, heart and bones, nervous and endocrine systems, immune, digestive, intestinal and urinary systems all need nourishment. Our spirits, as well, require special nourishment and attention at this time. Menopause is like a way station, a place where you stop awhile to rest, to gas up, take in sustenance. Pay particular attention to nourishing all aspects of yourself during your menopausal years. We all, women and men, need to nourish our bodies by consuming good food, drink, herbs, and spices, and getting adequate rest, exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. We can nourish our minds by engaging in wholesome conversation, reading thought provoking material, writing, and performing any of a myriad of the mentally stimulating tasks and chores of daily life. We nourish our emotional selves when we speak the truth, express our authentic range of feelings, cry, and laugh, watch the sun rise, sun set, and so on. We nourish our spiritual selves when we pray, sing, chant, work in our gardens, make love, drum, dance, get our addictions under control, cook, and whatever works for you. Of course many of the things we do will nourish several parts of our selves at once. Great! Just make sure you make the time to do the things that nourish yourself on all levels. Remember there are many forms of nourishment. Acknowledging the beauty in another is a form of nourishing them.

Liver Health

Your liver is the control center for hot flashes. Both men and women experience hot flashes and night sweats during menopause, though they are much more common among women. Are you experiencing these in an extreme way? Frequent hot flashes, so strong they leave you feeling exhausted? Night sweats that wake you repeatedly through the night? If you find yourself running hot, nourish the liver. Do you feel tired, washed out, worn down, low energy; have frequent digestive upsets, and little or no sex drive? Nourish the liver.

After the heart, the liver is the most important organ in the body. It performs over five hundred jobs for us, most important of which are its blood cleansing and nourishing responsibilities. In fact, the liver is the largest reservoir of blood in the body, as well as the body’s warmest organ. The liver also acts as a vitamin storehouse, keeping rich supplies of vitamins A, B, D, E and K. Our livers become congested, and thus sluggish, after years of just plain old living. When our liver slows down, our blood has more toxins in it that are not being filtered out, as they should be. This causes a range of ill effects, not the least of which is all those free radicals going around latching on to any weak cell they can get a hold on and making disease-causing, cellular changes. Poor liver function also means weak digestive process, which starts a whole other snowball rolling. Your liver produces, as well as processes, hormones, so a sluggish liver will promote hormonal fluctuations that usually are associated with menopausal symptoms but are more likely to be, if you take a deeper look, symptoms of a sluggish liver, in need of nourishment.

Symptoms associated with poor liver function in both sexes are frequent headaches, hot flashes and night sweats, digestive upsets, impotence, loss of body hair, severe mood swings, anger and resentment, low energy, and a general malaise. Poor liver function can also be the cause of low libido, since the liver helps process many sexual hormones.

Did you know you get a brand new liver every six weeks? It’s true. So give your liver lots of special attention and nourishment throughout your mid-life years, and thank it for all it does for you. Assist it in its many important functions by providing it with rich stores of liver enhancing nutrients. Many common herbs and foods are especially nourishing to the liver and have been used throughout time for this purpose. Integrating the roots of dandelion, burdock, angelica, and turmeric, as well as milk thistle seeds and ganoderma mushrooms into your diet will benefit your liver tremendously.

These substances have long histories of safe use by many cultures and are also recognized by modem science as being especially nourishing to the liver and effective in the treatment of liver dysfunction, inflammation, and disease. Liver protective and regenerative, these herbs help to stimulate the flow of bile and act as antiviral agents against hepatitis viruses. Green tea, artichokes, beets and garlic are also especially nourishing, protective, and regenerative to the liver, and so should be consumed regularly for strong liver function. Use any of these herbs and foods, or a combination of them, at least three or four times a week for six weeks each spring. Use combinations of them daily if you suffer from any hepatitis virus or liver dysfunction. Eat them as food or seasoning, drink infusions, and/or take 20-40 drops of tincture twice dally. Although consuming distilled alcohol is not a good idea when you have liver disease, the minute amount of alcohol in a tincture will do no harm. If you want to drink alcohol, drink a simple mead or natural beer or wine, up to one glass per day.

Gail Edwards
Blessed Maine Herb Farm
257 Chapman Ridge
Athens, Maine 04912

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