First, some background:
I am 47, and have some perimenopausal things going on, but I'm still bleeding regularly. In the last several months I've noticed increasing vaginal dryness (eyes and skin, too), and mild but frequent vaginal burning. I've been to the gynecologist and done my own observations, and I'm pretty sure I have no infections.
I've been drinking herbal infusions for about a year (mainly oatstraw, nettles, red clover). Also vit. E (supplement) and kava (as a drink made from powdered dry kava root). Now I've stopped the kava (because it can cause skin dryness), and I've added motherwort tincture, flaxseed, yogurt, probiotics. I prefer to use foods and infusions for health (over supplements and tinctures). But I'm also taking calcium citrate now, because it is specifically recommended to bind with oxalates in foods.
I've also begun a low-oxalate diet, having read about it from the Vulvar Pain Foundation. Oxalates are what cause kidney stones, but another effect for some people is vaginal burning/pain. But many lovely green plants are high oxalate (beets, chard, sorrel, kale; also nuts, beans, whole grains; that is, everything I eat!).
The diet seems to be working for me, but it's hard to trace a reaction to a specific food. I would also prefer to restore some of my juiciness, rather than cutting out foods. The diet addresses the burning symptom, but does not address the underlying issue of dryness. (Also, I want to eat kale and beans again!) And I want to keep doing herbal infusions, and maybe add some new ones. And maybe some tinctures and vinegars.
But there seems to be little information about oxalates in herbs. There's a lot of conflicting information on oxalate levels in food, in any case. The best list seems to be the one provided by the "Trying Low Oxalates" group on Yahoo, and even that is conflicting and incomplete, and has very few herbs on it.
So, finally, my questions:
Has anybody had a similar experience? Has anybody noted reactions to specific herbs while on a low-oxalate diet? Does anybody know of a reliable source on oxalate content of our favorite herbs? How about oxalates in different forms of herbs (e.g., infusion, tincture, vinegar)? Does anybody have ideas for a different way I could think about my main problem (vaginal dryness and burning)?
I'm assuming infusions would retain more oxalates, and tinctures would have less, but this is just my speculation. I'm especially interested in oxalate content of red clover, oatstraw, comfrey, chickweed, raspberry leaf, black cohash. Happily, nettle tea has been tested and found to be low oxalate.
I'd love to hear any thoughts on this!
Since I've been eating miso, my emotions have also stopped being so all over the place.
Please note: if you choose to go the miso route, it needs to be fermented a minimum of one year. Six months didn't have any affect; it was just food.
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