This week 2nd - 8th May is National Gardening week, organized by The Royal Horticultural Society since 2012. This year’s theme is The Joy of Gardening.
As we have been talking about menopause, it seems logical to thinking about the potential benefits of gardening, specifically during peri and menopause, and how the garden can provide some welcome joy.
We are all aware of the advice to include exercise into our daily routines, this does not have to be sport however, it can be domestic activities. Gardening can offer the opportunity to be active, building or maintaining strength and flexibility. Sleep is definitely induced after a few hours or fresh air and pottering. Skin exposure to sunlight is vital for our bodies to produce vitamin D, which is used to keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Bone health is a specific consideration for me and anyone going through menopause. Additionally, getting out to the garden is a great space to cool down, physically and emotionally when the indoor environment is too much. This mental space has been a huge benefit to me, and an unexpected positive outcome was my need to nurture in my empty nest has transformed my garden. It is such a great feeling to see flowers and vegetable grow, and to have fresh produce bursting with flavour and nutrition without having to enter the supermarket!
Planting season is upon us and I was looking to see what I had in the herb garden that might help some menopausal symptoms. This are my favorites and they can all be made into tinctures and essential oils and lotions, but my preference is to use them in salads and roast vegetables and olive oil to flavour and fresh herb tea infusions instead of tea or coffee.
Sage - Described as an anti-inflammatory & hormone regulating.
Rosemary - Said to improve concentration, memory and mood.
Lavender - Used to promote restful sleep and an anti-inflammatory.
Basil - Can reduce stress responses, aid memory.
Lemon Balm - Aid digestion, reduces anxiety, helps mild digestive issues such as bloating.
Bay - Believed to promote heart health, reduce joint pain, bloating and aid a restful night’s sleep.
Peppermint - Used for digestive discomfort and muscle fatigue.
Fennel - Appears to help libido, hot flushes and a good night’s sleepHappy gardening!