Black Strap Molasses is one of my favorite super foods for woman of all ages, and especially for women during and after menopause. It is inexpensive and lasts forever. One tablespoon packs a powerful punch of vitamins and minerals! Molasses is rich in iron, calcium and magnesium (which every woman needs especially during and after menopause) and also has manganese, copper, potassium. Iron provides energy and boosts metabolism. Molasses can be used to makes a quick and nutritious morning drink that can get the tiredness out of your body and give you the morning boost you need to the best you can be.

My favorite recipe is simple and only takes a few minutes to prepare:

  • 1 Tablespoon Black Strap Molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon organic honey
  • Hot water (in the summer you can also have this drink iced)
  • Splash of rice, almond, or hemp milk to color

Besides giving energy to the body black strap molasses also helps with: fibroids, anemia, anxiety, constipation, arthritic pain and heart palpitations. It also been purported to help to turn gray hair back to its original color (possible due to the copper content, as copper deficiency can lead to prematurely gray hair).


Tofu is made out of soybeans and is shaped into a white block. Tofu is low in fat and cholesterol yet high in protein. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, foods containing soy, like tofu, contain isoflavones, which can reduce menopause symptoms and help ameliorate mood swings and vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Isoflavones are phytoestrogens, or plant-derived estrogens. Isoflavones have a chemical structure that is similar to the estrogens

naturally produced by the body. Phytoestrogens are also foods such as garlic, onions, and all sorts of seeds which can also help balance a woman’s body during menopause.

Creamy garlic tofu dip

This dip is full of phytoestrogens and will help balance a woman in a tasteful way. Tastes great served with rye, spelt or rice crackers. This is easy to snack on at work or in between meals as a ‘pick-me-up.’

  • 1 14-oz tub of soft or silken tofu
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 10 leaves of baby spinich
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Place sunflower seeds and garlic and baby spinach in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for one minute. Eat immediately or put into refrigerator and store for later use.

Menopause symptoms can turn your life upside down and finding relief is often a challenge.

Following are a few natural remedies to help you relieve certain menopause symptoms, like hot flashes, night sweats, and breast tenderness.

Black Cohosh

This wonderful herb has been made popular by perimenopausal (defined as the ten year period before menopause kicks in) women and menopausal women. When taken regularly, black cohosh can reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes, reduce headaches, calm nerves, increase energy, alleviate water retention and help treat incontinence. It is also a great aid in helping to combat menopausal depression. The herb needs to be taken regularly to be most effective and the suggested frequency is to take black cohosh three times a day.

Menopause Symptom Relief

Breast tenderness:  Take a cabbage leaf and crunch it in your hand.  Put it in your bra for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation-cabbage has an anti-inflammatory and cooling affect.

Hot flashes:  Take red clover tea (contains a high level of phytoestrogen that helps regulate the biochemistry in a females body) or oat straw tea (excellent source of calcium, iron, phosphorous and B vitamins) – both teas are high in the nutrients and vitamins women are usually low in during menopause.

Herbs that help:

Chasteberry: regulates hormones and helps consistent menstruations and moods.

Sage (liquid form): helps with irritated nerves and headaches that you get when not menstruating.

Mother’s wart: helps with gloominess and relieves depression and nervousness.

Q. How is a visit with a homeopath different than a regular doctor?

A. Homeopaths look at the total person and ask hundreds of questions. We are concerned with your taste in food, whether or not you are a cold or hot person, if you are a night or morning person. We look for the details about how you feel with your condition. We are less interested in what the condition you have is called but how the condition effects you. Migraines may have similar pains but each person experiences it differently. We want to find out how the condition is different and specific to you.

Q. What do the numbers mean after the name of the homeopathic remedy names?

A. The number is the amount of times the remedy has been diluted and cecussed (shaken). Usually the 6c and 12c are for purely physical ailments such as thrush on the tongue, cold sores, or hemorrhoids. 30c can be used for ear infections, bangs, colds and flus. 200c can be used during intense infections like flus or ear infections that come on suddenly, or for an emotional challenge.

When you are being treated by a homeopath constitutionally (meaning treating the whole person not just a specific complaint), then 200c, 1M, and 10M are usually prescribed.

Q. How is it that if three of my children have the stomach flu or virus a homeopath may suggest three different remedies.

A. We may have three children with the bacteria shegella causing diarrhea and a homeopath will probably suggest three different remedies because although the same bacteria may be present in all three children the way the bacteria presents itself will be different in each child. One may have horrible stomach cramping before the diarrhea, one may have cold then hot chills before their diarrhea and the last may have a burning fever with painless diarrhea. Homeopaths observe the way a person’s illness effects them and treats the symptoms that they see. The same virus in a lab will effect people very differently. That is why Homeopaths ask so many questions and prefer very detailed answers.

Q. My periods have become so erratic. Is there anything I can do to help regulate my cycle?

A. Having irregular menstrual cycles is normal before actual menopause sets in. Peri-menopause can last up to 10 years before the menstrual cycles cease. Many women feel more balanced with an herb called Chasteberry or Vitex. This herb is best taken in tincture form (liquid, not pill form). It is best taken three times a day. With vitex, woman feel their peri-menopause symptoms are lessened and more predictable. This herb can also help with menstrual cramps, spotting, hot flashes, skin problems, and water retention. Chasteberry is a slow-acting herb and works best if taken over a longer period of time, but the effects are long-lasting.

Q. I feel very nervous and irritable lately. My periods are erratic but so are my moods. I feel high-strung and ready to scream at everyone over every little thing.

A. There is a wonderful herb available to woman during their menopausal years and that herb is called Garden Sage. Garden Sage is best taken in tincture (liquid) form. This herb should be taken three times a day diluted in a little water or juice. If you are having a calm day you will not need to take it, but when the agitation begins take as long as needed. The herb is calming and balancing. It also helps with depression, dizziness, headaches, and hot and cold sweats.

Q. What is the difference between elder berry and elder flower?

A. Elder berries are a wonderful antioxidant. They are rich in vitamin C, anti-inflammatory and taste great! The flowers stimulate the immune system and help with upper respiratory infections. They are also a natural anti-histamine and help with nasal and sinus congestion. These two herbs are great in herbal mixes for children, and help with winter colds and flus, and also seasonal allergies.

Q. What is skullcap herb used for?

A. Skullcap is known as a nervine which means it helps calm the nerves. Skullcap soothes and relaxes the system without making one sleepy. This herb is used for children, adults and seniors. It helps with nervous tension, nervous excitement, anxiety, restlessness and stress. It’s used with teenagers before and after stressful tests, toddlers adjusting to a new school setting, parents after a long day of work, and seniors who need to relax after years of hard work. Skullcap in tincture (liquid) form tends to be the best way to take this herb. This herb can be taken regularly and over a long period of time.

Motherwort is my all-time favorite herb to help stabilize stress. This is an herb that can be felt within twenty minutes after taking it. It is an herb that can be used by women of all ages and stages of their lives. Motherwort is wonderful for taking that “edge off” of your feelings and is helpful if you suddenly feel as if that “black-cloud” is descending. It can be used prophylactically if you know you will be encountering a difficult time, or if you look at your calendar and know that your menstruation is approaching.

Chaste berry is a fabulous herb if your menstrual cycle is not regular, but changes from month to month. Often extreme moodiness happens when a woman is anticipating her menstruation and it is delayed. Often during that “waiting time” a woman feels edgy and agitated. Chaste berry is not a fast acting herb and it usually takes about three months to help regulate a cycle, but chaste berry is worth the wait. Once a woman’s cycle is regulated she usually feels more control over her emotions.

Skullcap is for nervous tension with anxiety. Skullcap, like motherwort is an herb you will begin to feel working within twenty minutes of ingestion. It is best used before an intimidating experience, like a business meeting you have been anticipating for weeks, or right before it is time to put your children to bed. Skullcap can be taken over a long period of time or as needed in the moment.

Fresh milky oats is a wonderful herb if you have been through long-term stress. Oats can help with frazzled nerves. This herb is best taken three times a day over a long period of time. You will not feel the effect of oats right away, but be assured that the herb will be doing its job. Think of fresh milky oats as a Band-Aid for your central nervous system.

Mimosa bark is purported to bring “joy to a person’s heart”. It was an Italian custom to bring the one you loved a bouquet of mimosa flowers. So, in a similar vein, why not treat yourself the special present of mimosa bark if you are just feeling sad, moody and unloved. Mimosa bark can be used occasionally as needed.

Eleuthero is an herb called an adaptogen. Simply stated, adaptogens are a family of herbs that heal the whole body. Eleuthero is especially useful for type-A personalities who work too hard and become “burned-out.” This herb will help balance your adrenal glands and will help bring physical tone back into damaged areas that stress has caused. Eleuthero is best taken three times a day for a long period of time to feel its effects.

Q. My four-month-old daughter is physically ready to start eating solid foods but breastfeeding is still going well and I think I want to delay the introduction of solids a little longer. Is there any advantage or disadvantage to waiting a little longer? How do I know when I should start feeding them real food?

A. There are so many variables when it comes to breastfeeding. Different problems can occur for babies and for mothers so individual assessments are often required regarding the introduction of solid foods if breastfeeding is not going well. If however, breastfeeding has been going well for you and your child, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and homoeopathist, Sara Chana, says that four and a half months is way too early.

In Chana’s experience, parents and pediatricians often rush the introduction of solid foods because they’re worried about the appropriate weight gain or getting the right nutrients. In her twenty years as a lactation consultant and working with thousands of babies, she usually recommends delaying solids until around nine months (unless there are complications with breastfeeding).

“Each person’s individual and I hate generalizing but if I’m forced to generalize, I would say feed a child when they can sit up straight on their own and when they have between four and eight teeth,” explains Chana. The presence of teeth shows that the child is able to eat and digest solid foods properly, according to Chana.

According to Dr. Jack Newman MD, IBCLC, many babies can grow properly and get all of their essential nutrients exclusively from breastfeeding until they’re a year old so there is no reason to rush them onto solids. Dr. Newman agrees with Chana in that parents shouldn’t introduce solids until their child is ready. It can be difficult to tell when your child is ready, because babies often go through a phase of oral curiosity around six or seven months. During this phase, babies will put anything and everything in their mouths and parents can mistake this for hunger. A good test of whether or not your child is ready or interested in solids is if they can differentiate between a dirty shoe and a cracker; “you’d be surprised how many times they choose the shoe,” says Chana. Chana also explains that one of breastfeeding mothers’ most common mistakes is thinking that their older baby (around six or seven months) is not getting enough milk. More often than not, they are getting enough, they are just so proficient at feeding and it happens so quickly, that mothers assume their child isn’t getting any milk.

Breastfeeding and weaning is an individual, case-by-case issue so do what feels right for you and your child. It can be helpful to consult with a lactation consultant if you have concerns.

In my practice, I often get calls from clients worried that their baby or they themselves have a fever. I respond quite differently than their doctors do. I say, “Hurray! I am so proud of you; your immune system is doing exactly what it needs to be doing. You are so strong.” Next I teach them what can be done to comfort a person with a fever. I want a person to be as comfortable as they can with a fever, but I do not want to get rid of the fever until the body is ready for the fever to stop.

The fever is not the illness; it is just a reaction the body is having to an intruder (be it viral or bacterial) that has entered the body.

Dr. Stuart M. Copperman, M.D., a pediatrician who was in private practice for 35 years, writes, “Fever is a friend, not an enemy. It is a sign of the body fighting infection—fever is helping your child get well—be alert and aware, but don’t panic.”

Dr. Mary Bove N.D. teaches about fever in this way. She says that the brain detects an intruder entering the body. The brain then sends out a detective to analyze the type of invader that is present. The detective reports back to the brain. The brain then sets a temperature sufficient for killing off the bug. Let’s say the brain chooses the temperature of 101.5, the body begins to get hot, and the person gets cranky and achy. If you give Tylenol or Motrin at this point the fever drops but the fever was not allowed to do its job! The brain must now say, “I felt the intruder would be killed at 101.5 but I still detect the intruder, I must now set the internal thermometer higher, lets say to 102.4.” The body then begins to get hot again. If you once again give Tylenol or Motrin the cycle begins again. After suppressing fevers many times the body responds one of two ways, either producing a spiking fever or the body just stops trying to heal itself. What then can happen is that the child (or adult) gets into a cycle of the body no longer protecting itself with a fever or the person goes from illness to illness.

Robyn Landis, a medical researcher writes, “The persistence of the myth that fevers commonly cause brain damage keeps many parents medicating small children with suppressive drugs in an effort to deal with a symptom that is really a healing response of the body. By suppressing that healing mechanism, you prolong the illness. The growth rate of certain microbes (the bad guys) is impaired at specific (hot) temperatures. The immune system also responds to the increase in body heat by increasing white cell (the good guys) activity and mobility.”

Dr. Mendelsohn explains that “fevers caused by common viral and bacterial infections will not exceed 105 degrees. Most cases of brain damage with fever have resulted from meningitis or encephalitis, both of which can cause brain damage independent of fever. Even in the small number of children who have seizures with high fevers (the number of children is extremely low), the seizures themselves are apparently usually harmless, and contrary to popular belief, they occur due to the speed of the temperature rise, not the temperature itself.”

So now that we have learned that a fever is a blessing, what should we do? First of all, kiss your child and tell the child how proud you are that his/her immune system is working so well. Next, take your child to your doctor to get a diagnosis. You can find out if the source is viral or bacterial. Most children can fight both bacteria and viral infections.

Next, do not push food on a child with a fever. Yes, it is important to make sure the child stays hydrated with liquids, but the child does not need food! Offer the child broth soups, grape juice, herb teas, or water with lemon (yes, you can add honey if the child is over 1 year old).

Herbal treatment can be very helpful. The herbs of choice will either help the body to sweat while keeping the temperature as high as it needs to be, or the herb may calm and relax the child; some herbs will also help make the child feel cooler. Below is a list of the herbs I find most helpful with fevers.

  • Yarrow — will produce a sweat in your child and will prevent the fever from going too high
  • Catnip — is cooling, relaxing and calming
  • Elderflower — will also produce a sweat and is given if nasal congestion and a cold are present
  • Hyssop — can be used in fevers associated with respiratory infections and coughs
  • Chamomile — is always helpful with a fever; it helps in reducing the fever, and helps the child to relax, rest, and sleep
  • Peppermint — (although most herbalists prefer spearmint with young children) is given for the fever associated with stomach aches; it will soothe the stomach and help cool the body

These herbs are easiest given to children in tincture form. My favorite company is Quantum. You can also give these herbs in a tea form. Another idea is to make herbal popsicles with the herb tea (and it is okay to add honey if the child is over 1 year old).

You can also get pure essential oil of rosemary, lavender or peppermint and add 3-4 drops in your palm with some lotion and massage the child’s feet and back 3-4 times per day. These essential oils will help reduce the fever and help comfort the child.

Have a healthy and productive winter. And happy healing.


— The temperature is higher than 104 and the child is not responding to treatments
— The child refuses to drink after the first 24 hours of a fever
— The child acts confused or loses consciousness
— The child has rolling of the eyes or body twitching
— The child is under six weeks old
— There is a persistent fever accompanied by a severe headache and stiff neck


Q. Please give me some suggestions for winter coughs.

A. I love the herbs marshmallow, wild cherry bark, elecampane, lemon balm and thyme. These herbs can be used singly or in combination.

Q. What kind of coughs are these herbs for?

A. Marshmallow is an emollient that means it soothes irritated throats and lungs.

Wild cherry bark is for spasmodic coughs — coughs that comes in spells.

Elecampane is one of the worst-tasting herbs but it is my absolute favorite. It is an expectorant which means it helps the lungs get rid of mucus.

Lemon Balm is a wonderfully gentle herb used for viruses and to calm an aggravating cough.

Thyme has essential oils that help calm coughs. It works as an expectorant to help the mucus leave the lungs and opens the airways that are irritated.

Q. Are these herbs safe for kids?

A. Yes, all of the above mentioned herbs are safe for children and adults.

Q. How would I administer these herbs to children?

A. I like the caregiver to put the herbs into a glass cup. Put about one-half teaspoon of grape juice over the herbs and then give the herbs with a medicine dropper.

Got your attention didn’t I? I can’t really guarantee you a pain free birth. But read on and I will open your eyes to your hidden female power that which makes you perfect for birthing your child(ren).

Women were created to give birth. It is not a talent that some people have and others do not. It is a gift from G-d. Sadly, this generation has been taught to believe that we cannot do it; we feel we must rely on our doctors to tell us what to do, how to do it, and when to do it!

Over the last several months in my practice as a lactation specialist, I have encountered one new mother after another who were told, “You are overdue—we need to induce labor”, “you don’t have enough fluid in your water bag” or “you should take the epidural as soon as you get into the delivery room”. It is amazing that one of these lines is told to 90% of laboring women these days. Somehow, the medical community has taken it upon themselves to deprive women of a natural experience.

Women are being induced at an alarming rate. Many of my clients have suffered through unnecessary C-Sections or horrific episiotomies that caused infection and poor health, further exacerbating difficulties in bonding and breastfeeding.

So, about the pain … yes, it will hurt! We need not be afraid … we just need to be prepared! We need the truth! Even women who receive synthetic pain relief still feel pain during the labor process. If you have known anyone who experienced a natural labor and delivery she remembers the pain and the exhaustion, yet before she knew it the appropriate hormones kicked in and turned her attention to her newborn and the mothering task at hand. The pain is a rite of passage. It is painful, yes … but a gorgeous, real, amazing experience that can bring about great wisdom and maturity in the process.

Modern scientists believe that human beings use less than 1/3 of our brains and that our mental capabilities are much more enormous. When we believe we can do something—we can. Mind over matter! When women believe that they can birth their babies naturally—without intervention—our brains prepare us and guide our bodies to birth. Natural chemicals, endorphins, are released into our bloodstream to make us powerful, capable, determined, and committed to bringing our babies into this world.

Anyone who has ever attended a natural birth—one with no medical intervention—will likely tell you that there is a point in the labor when a woman’s brain just shifts into a place of power that is almost blissful; it takes control of her body and mind—and miraculously, birth occurs, babies are born. This place inside of us—this gift—has shaped us for this work. We can do it! We just need to learn to tap into this magnificent part of our brain.

There are many options available for birthing babies, including using a doula (an experienced birthing coach), a midwife, an OB-GYN, home, hospital or birthing center for delivery, and the choices are up to us to make. DO NOT let your practitioner tell you what kind of birth you are going to have. If you are healthy and have no significant medical history and are not having a high-risk pregnancy, you can choose a natural delivery.

I believe very strongly that during labor, women need the support of other women. We need the experience, kindness, and encouragement of other women reminding us of the amazing power within us. We do not need to be told by the medical establishment that our bodies need “help” to give birth.

It can be very frightening for us to hear about other women’s difficult deliveries, but I firmly believe that if every expectant mother had the opportunity to witness a natural delivery—I mean a real natural, calm, pleasant, wonderful, miraculous birth, in an environment that reflects the woman’s own style and comfort—we would be able to deliver our babies without the fear and medical complications that occur so frequently. These beautiful, natural, births actually exist—I have attended and experienced these kinds of births!

You may ask, if medicine exists to take away the pain of childbirth, why not use it? These days, when so many women are encouraged to reduce their pain, they are not told that it will inhibit their breastfeeding. While the pain of birthing is relieved for the duration of labor, pain is intensified for the weeks of early breastfeeding. Studies have shown that epidural drugs enter the baby’s body during labor, creating an inability to coordinate the suck-swallow-breathe that is required to nurse properly, and these drugs can stay in the newborn’s bloodstream for up to two weeks. Babies may get good scores on their APGAR tests, but hospitals across the nation who have begun using the breastfeeding assessment scoring right after birth have found that most epidural babies fail this test miserably and naturally birthed babies pass this test with flying colors!

There was a study done with dogs that found when the dogs did not experience pain during labor they had trouble connecting with their pups and feeding them properly! Labor is called labor because it is work. But, we women are used to working. We work hard at everything in life, but we have it all mixed up. Yes, we need help with a lot of things like cleaning our homes, but with labor, we need to sweat and do the work ourselves!

Now that I have depressed you … let me inspire you! I have fabulous news!!! There is a way to shift your conscious thought process to the part of your brain that knows how to birth your baby! From the moment that labor begins, we as empowered women know the truth of the birth process and we choose to surround ourselves with positive, knowledgeable people to assist us as labor begins. Positive thinking—”yes, I can do this” and “I was created to do this”, and “my body was created to do this”—is vital to the process. It is also important to have a woman nearby who knows many birthing positions, who can help you into the most comfortable position for laboring and pushing, and get you things like water, ice, a heater, a fan, music, massage, showers, and help to maintain your positive thoughts with encouragement and blessings being whispered in your ear. These small plans and preferences will allow YOU to feel safe and allow your body to do what it knows how to do—have a baby naturally!

Let us reclaim our power and strength! Let us believe in the power bestowed upon us! Let us be inspired by people around us! Let us use our feminine power to birth our babies the way our bodies were created to birth them! You can do it! I know you can!

By Sara Chana Silverstein, IBCLC, BA, Herbalist and Student of Homeopathy. She is a licensed Lactation Consultant helping women and babies with breastfeeding problems. She also works with children and adults with chronic ear and strep infections, stomach problems and emotional issues. She can be reached at 718-467-1455.