Women suffering from PMS and other related menopausal conditions have the desire to try any method of relieving pain as well as stopping or minimizing other effects both in mind and body. Herbs have been used for thousands of years in ancient medicine, so it is no wonder that we, as women, have gone back to those times, rather than rely on chemically manufactured pain killers and other pills.
American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolius)
Perfectly used as a tea, or even in smoothies, this herb is highly recommended for those suffering from any form of symptoms linked to menstruation. It can ease stomach cramps and lessen pain in the abdominal area.
As this vital herb is also a mood changer, it can act by alleviating moods and anxiety often suffered during PMS, and also that ‘foggy’ feeling or lack of mental clarity that can also be associated with that particular part of the menstrual cycle.
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)
Used in Chinese and Indian medicine for many years, Ashwagandha strengthens the heart muscles allowing the blood to pump freely, and is also useful for treating uterine and menstrual conditions, which can cause severe pain and cramps in the stomach and pelvic area. It is also known for promoting a feeling of well-being and encouraging trouble-free sleep patterns.
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga Racemosa)
This is a pretty plant, closely related to the buttercup, but it is the root and rhizome that has the best medicinal purposes. Growing prolifically in North America, it is comprised of anti-inflammatory properties (excellent for pain) and also traces of plant-based estrogens, both of which assist in balancing hormones and reducing stomach cramps.The ability of this preparation is particularly effective during the menopause, by reducing hot flushes.
You could be one of the many unfortunate women, who not only have mood swings, anxiety and other related issues with PMS,but also suffer from bloating and fluid retention. Burdock has the ability to correct hormone imbalance, but also has strong diuretic properties, which will reduce the discomfort caused by excess fluid or bloating.
Don Quai Root (Angelica Sinensis)
This herb grows predominantly in Asia where it has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic practices. The root is the most powerful in its healing properties, providing relief from PMS, but at the same time it can act on other organs such as the skin (anti-aging), the blood (improves circulation) and is also recommended for heart health. Don Quai Root will balance hormones and reduce stress, but it is also known to improve sex drive, which some women experience difficulties with during PMS. It is known as the ‘female ginseng’ and is somewhat regarded as a miracle herb in ancient medicine. Most commonly used as an herbal supplement, its adaptability goes as far at tonics, tinctures and spray applications.
Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)
Lemon Balm is very much a productive plant, as it is more or less able to grow anywhere in the world. The cultivation of lemon balm increases manifold as these plants attract the bee population by the thousands! The plant yields an essential oil, which has an evocative aroma and is used in aromatherapy and other skin products. It has a strong function in terms of PMS with antiviral, antioxidant and calmative properties, as well as relieving anxiety and insomnia.
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza Glabra)
Most people think of licorice as something you buy in a candy store, but it has been used for thousands of years as a potent herb for relieving many everyday problems.Research shows that licorice can produce a similar effect as estrogen in women, and will relieve PMS symptoms and other menstrual related issues. Current thought would appear to be that it can be more effective than hormone replacement therapy. It is also worth considering the many other benefits of the licorice plant such as pain relief.
Lovage or ChuanXiong (Ligusticum)
Particularly used as a ‘blood tonic’, Lovage stimulates transportation of the blood around the cell network, and is also known to be an effective analgesic. Especially used for women in ancient medicine, its use is to treat menstrual cramps and decongest the blood in the uterine region.
Maca Root (LepidiumMeyenii)
Maca Root is considered a ‘superfood’ by many,particularly the inhabitants of mountainous regions in Peru, where it has been used for thousands of years. Maca Root is considered an ‘adaptogen herb’, meaning that it helps the body to naturally produce stress-relieving substances.However, its primary usage from its discovery has been as an aphrodisiac and mood enhancer, but it is now highly recommended to relieve symptoms of PMS. If hormone-based issues are affecting your life, whether PMS, post-natal or menopausal, it could be time to consider this powerful, nutrient-rich herb.
Peony (white - Radix Paeoniae Alba) (red - Radix Paeoniae Rubrae)
Peony root has been used in both Chinese and Indian medicine to treat menstrual irregularities and amenorrhea. Supplements containing peony have suggested that is is active in treating various hormonal effects in both pre- and postmenopausal women. It is also used for treating anxiety, depression and other related PMS symptoms, along with enhanced ovarian performance.
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)
St. John’s Wort has been used as an OTC (over the counter) supplement for many years. It is known to be effective in the treatment of emotional disorders such as anxiety, mood swings initiated by menstruation, and PMT. It also provides relief for menstrual stomach cramps and performs similarly to an anti-depressant. It has also known to be effective in treating sufferers of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).
Schisandra Berry (SchisandraChinensis)
Schisandra berries are not exactly something you would enjoy as a dessert or to pop into your mouth. A complex flavor, they are best utilized in medicinal products and are known to be beneficial in the treatment of menstrual conditions and problems, as well as being a natural vitality booster, which can help the fatigue that can be experienced with PMS.This is one of a number of herbs providing general support to the body, improving energy, sugar metabolism, mental functioning, mood, and general health. Schisandra also falls under the adaptogen category.
Wild Yam (Dioscorea Villosa)
Wild yam can be used in a variety of ways from supplements, teas, tinctures and creams. The key factor is an ingredient in wild yams called diosgenin, which is known to mimic estrogen. Wild yam can play a part in correcting hormone imbalance when taken in supplement form, but was once used over 300 years ago to treat the symptoms of the menopause. Now it is being increasingly used to alleviate PMS-related symptoms both by ingestion and in cream form to treat sore breasts. Wild Yam is not to be confused with yams that you can buy to eat – they have totally different properties.Wild yam is best used in combination with other herbs for PMS, such as black cohosh.
Magnesium is something of an unsung hero within the human body, quietly and efficiently causing hundreds of tiny reactions throughout your organs. Magnesium levels fluctuate during a woman’s monthly cycle, however, and the body does not always manage to create the required daily amount of 320mg, affecting your hormonal balance. Supplements are readily available, but the good news is that dark chocolate contains more magnesium than any other food on the market, hence your monthly cravings.
Calcium is readily available in a great many foods and beverages, and this bone-building nutrient can be hugely beneficial in combatting the symptoms of PMS. Drinking four or more servings of low-fat or skimmed milk is the easiest and fastest way of feeding your body the calcium that it craves, and doing so reduces the risk of substantial PMS side effects by up to 30%. Avoid whole milk however, as the saturated fats contained within will have the opposite effect and risk aggravating your symptoms.
It’s not common to suffer from a shortage of Vitamin B6 in the body, not least because it remains omnipresent in a great many foods such as fruit, fish and poultry, but this vitamin compound takes care of synthesizing brain chemicals and controlling mood – hugely beneficial during PMS. Vitamin B6 also balances blood-sugar levels and acts as a natural pain respite.
Because PMS is clearly a challenge for some, a number of unfortunate women find themselves suffering from Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD. PMDD is even more difficult to live with, often resulting in severe bouts of depression each and every month. Thankfully help is at hand with Inositol, a naturally occurring Glucose-like vitamin found in plants and animals. Also used as a herbal remedy to combat anxiety, Inositol can be life-changing for any woman who dreads a monthly bout of PMDD
Vitex Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)
The vitex agnus-castus is a small shrub native to the Med and central Asia, and home to the vitex chasteberry. These small, delicious fruits, which are roughly the size of a popcorn kernel, have become one of the most popular herbal remedies for PMS symptoms throughout the world, thanks to its slow release of hormones that increase the levels of progesterone in the female body. This, in turn, balances the spike in estrogen experienced in a woman’s cycle, drastically reducing the uncomfortable symptoms of PMS.