Updated: Jan 29, 2020
By: Ilona Knudson
Derail Your PMS Train Using These Top 10 Herbs
It’s that time. You can feel it. Like a train heading towards you while you are shackled to the tracks. The first train car holds a mild backache; the next is full of tears that you will shed at inopportune times. Car #3 is packed with short fuses and headaches. Wondering where you got that intense craving for chocolate— anything chocolate? That’s car #4. Clumsiness, fatigue, and bloating follow closely behind. Sore breasts and anxiety sometimes ride together. And everything is followed by the caboose jam packed with menstrual cramps!
Maybe you have tried the traditional route to force the train onto another track. You concentrate on your nutrition, exercise and sleep. You tried conventional medicines, but they failed to address your PMS symptoms. Well, sometimes it takes a bit of going “back to nature” by using herbs to find relief. Here are the top 10 herbs to use for various PMS symptoms, as recommended by herbalists:
Before using herbal supplements, you must discuss them with your doctor, as some may interfere with prescription medications or medical conditions. Also, do not use them if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Black Cohosh has been used to help reduce the PMS symptoms of anxiety, tension, and depression since the 1950s. Besides having a relaxing effect on the uterus, it binds to a serotonin receptor which may explain its positive effects on moods.
Evening Primrose oil is a source of gamma linolenic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory, which helps ease breast tenderness, feelings of depression, irritability and bloating.
Vitex or Chasteberry has been studied and proven to balance hormones and help reduce symptoms of headache, irritable mood, cramps, food cravings and breast tenderness.
Dong Quai acts like estrogen in your body and helps ease cramping.
Red Raspberry Leaf helps calm the uterus to relieve menstrual cramps. High in nutrients and calcium, it makes an excellent tea.
Maca, is high in minerals and essential fatty acids, both which help ease mood swings, fluid retention and breast tenderness. An herbal adaptogen, it has stimulant properties that help even out that monthly hormonal rollercoaster.
Reishi is known as the calming and relaxing mushroom. It’s been used in Asia for thousands of years to ward off PMS-related fatigue, weakness, irritability, emotional excess and sleeplessness.
Cramp Bark contains antispasmodic compounds which are known to relax the uterus and relieve menstrual cramps.
Valerian is a sedative that may be useful for mood swings, insomnia and irritability. Valerian binds to the same receptors as the drug Valium, which may be why is helpful in soothing uterine cramping too.
Dandelion Root is used to ease fluid retention and irritability. Its leaves can be made into a tea.
PMS symptoms may not be something we can rid ourselves of completely, but we can help derail the pain train and unshackle ourselves from the tracks by using herbs. Wishing you a safe and healthful journey!
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Hobbs M.D., Christopher. Herbs for PMS. Christopher Hobbs. https://www.christopherhobbs.com/library/articles-on-herbs-and-health/herbs-for-pms/. Published 1998. Accessed October 14, 2018.
MacGill, Marcus. What are the uses of primrose oil? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263027.php. Updated June 20, 2017. Accessed October 12, 2018.
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