The Instagram logo

Here to help

Independent health store advice on hormonal health

Looking for advice on natural wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Frankie Lewis, nutritional advisor with Nature’s Gold health store

Hormones play an important role in women’s health as we journey through life – from PMS to menopause, hormones affect the way we feel and how we cope with life’s stresses and strains.


One of the most common hormonal conditions suffered by women is Premenstrual Syndrome, (PMS), or Tension with symptoms that can be mild or absolutely debilitating. Mood swings, anxiety, irritability, breast tenderness, sugar and food cravings, constipation and headaches are just a few symptoms of PMS. Some women describe a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ change, where they literally become a different person, while others sail through it with ease. Many women come into our store asking for a product to help their PMT, however the issue has many layers to it.

Diet can play an important role in helping PMS symptoms. Try to eat as much food that you pick from a tree or comes from the ground, i.e. lots of wholefoods. Your green vegetables will provide vitamin K which naturally helps to stem the flow if your periods are heavy. Consuming too much sugar on the other hand, tends to make the flow heavier.

If you suffer from cramping and pain try to soak your feet in a basin of warm water and Epsom salts for at least 20 minutes daily. You will absorb the magnesium from the salts through the feet, which will relax all the muscles in the body, reducing cramping. Alternatively look for a supplement of magnesium in citrate or bisglycinate form.

If you are depressed or anxious try saffron, traditionally used for centuries. You can place a couple of saffron strands in water or you can find a supplement in store. Also vital are B6 and zinc to balance hormones, ideally as part of a B Complex supplement containing B6 as P-5-P.

For breast tenderness try Evening Primrose or Starflower oils as they have anti-inflammatory action and can really help. Make sure to take an omega-3 supplement daily too. Good omega-3 fats can be found in oily fish, chia seeds and flaxseeds.

If you experience sugar cravings try adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to your morning cereal or yogurt as cinnamon balances blood sugar naturally. The mineral chromium is responsible for glucose tolerance in the body, so if you don’t like cinnamon you can try a chromium supplement, or a good multivitamin that contains chromium as well as other vitamins and minerals.

Developed in India 4,000 years ago, Ayurveda is the traditional lifestyle system ‘Science of Life’. Ayurveda offers Shatavari which calms spasmodic pain and regulates hormones, and Ashwagandha if you are feeling very anxious with rage which is very common in PMT as it releases tension and promotes relaxation.


A stage of life, not an illness, as many will say! However, this life stage can be very challenging for many women. Your GP may recommend a course of HRT (synthetic hormones). Some women and doctors are reluctant to use HRT due to the potential association with factors such as breast cancer, blood clots and heart disease. There are many natural products available in our store. Symptoms of menopause can include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, declining libido, sleeplessness, ageing skin and hair, depression and anxiety.

Did you know that if you are a coffee drinker you will experience more hot flushes, get dehydrated and become very anxious. Try reducing your coffee intake and for every coffee you drink, have a glass of water to help the body deal with the caffeine.

Sage can be wonderful for sweats and can easily be taken in a tea, herbal tincture or a tablet. Look out for products containing shatavari, dong quai, sage, red clover, kudzu and soy isoflavones. Soy isoflavones are natural plant substances that have a similar structure to oestrogen that have been used for centuries by Asian women; they don’t seem to suffer with menopause as we do in the West.

For worry, anxiety and insomnia avoid alcohol, coffee and sugar. Having an end of day routine with a relaxing bath with magnesium flakes or Epsom salts and your favourite essential oils can really help. Follow with a cup of herbal tea such as chamomile, lemon balm or ashwagandha to help relax the mind before sleep.

If sleep is a big issue look for products with cherry juice, l-theanine, lemon balm and magnesium.

If you experience vaginal dryness and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) a good balance of omegas taken internally is absolutely vital to prevent vaginal dryness. Try omega-3 fish oil or a vegetarian flax or hemp oil. Take a good tablespoon a day to lubricate the mucous membranes of the body. For UTIs try taking D-mannose or cranberry as a preventative. You will find natural and chemical-free lubricants in health stores. It is vital to use only natural products in order to avoid upsetting the normal pH of the vagina which can lead to infections.

Drop in and chat to our knowledgeable staff any time; don’t be shy, we have heard it all before and are here to help with ‘embarrassing’ problems!

What’s What and Who’s Who at Nature’s Gold in Avoca in Rathcoole?

“The Nature’s Gold concession store in Avoca, Rathcoole opened in 2013,” says manager Hilke Luthe. “The past year has seen a real change in the kind of customers we meet. Most of our customers before Covid-19 were transient and would just drop in, now we have a lot more local customers coming in regularly. It feels like local people have discovered us. Also our busy days have changed –Sunday used to be the busiest day, but now it is Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“As a store we do a bit of everything. We stock a lot of supplements – all the big names and quality brands. We are well stocked for health foods such as prepacks, dried foods, chocolates, herbal teas, gluten-free foods, and our fridges hold dairy-free ice creams, veggie burgers, vegan mayo and cheese, kombucha, sauerkraut and also refrigerated supplements such as probiotics and oils. We try to support Irish products as much as we can with local honey when in season, apple cider vinegar and apple juice from Waterford, and a new thing is cacao blocks and cacao teas.

“We are passionate about and proud of owning our own olive farm which was purchased in Catalonia, overlooking the Mediterranean and Ebro Delta by Nature’s Gold owners in 2001 to produce our own hand-picked organic olive oil. This season’s oil is now in stock.

“Our beauty section includes well established beauty brands, some of which are Irish. We have natural make-up, face creams, hair products including colour, body washes and sanitary protection. We have zero waste toothbrushes, deodorants and mouth washes.

“We stock everything you need to clean your house including products to wash clothes and dishes, floor soap, eco bamboo toilet roll and sustainable products.

“We like to stock gifts such as soy scented candles, essential oils and diffusers, books and zero waste cups. We look forward to returning to talks and tastings once it is possible again in the future.”

VISIT: Nature’s Gold in Avoca on the N7. Other Nature’s Gold stores are in Greystones and Avoca, Dunboyne, Co Meath
SPEAK TO: manager Hilke Luthe, nutritional advisor Frankie Lewis, beauty expert Dearbhla Lyons, sales assistant and homeopath Clodagh O’Meara, shop assistants Rachel Luz and Sarah Browne.
CONTACT: 01 4580882
OPENING HOURS: Monday to Sunday 10am-6pm

More Health Store Help articles...
Articles from our latest issue...