Many women choose an herbal PMS treatment to lessen uncomfortable symptoms felt one to two weeks before her period. A number of herbs exist depending on the predominant physical and/or emotional symptom(s).
What is PMS
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a result of changes in the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone before menstruation. A majority of women will experience symptoms of PMS at some point in her lifetime which can range from a mild to inconvenient to debilitating.
Symptoms of PMS include:
- Digestive disturbances
- Emotional swings
- Headaches and/or migraines
- Cravings, often for salty and/or sweet foods
- Skin eruptions
In addition to hormones, many alternative practitioners believe an imbalance with the liver contributes to PMS symptoms and/or the severity in which symptoms are experienced.
Women should consult a knowledgeable professional such as a naturopath or herbalist for advice on the most appropriate herbs or herbal combinations when considering an herbal PMS treatment.
Herbal PMS Treatment and Remedies
The natural approach to health care tries to approach treatment in terms of the cause of the symptoms rather than just masking symptoms.
For many women, an herbal PMS treatment involves treating hormonal imbalances associated with symptoms such as irritability and fatigue. Herbs associated with the endocrine system include:
- Chaste Tree Berry, Vitex angus-castrus; regulates hormones by acting directly the hypothalamus-pituitary glands and helps with:
- Mood swings
- Reduces FSH and estrogen production
- Painful breasts
- Reishi; a mushroom that strengthens the immune system, regulates blood sugar and reduces:
- Wild Yam cream; decreases estrogen production in the Luteal phase to balance progesterone and addresses:
- Uterine cramps
The liver is believed to be the primary organ associated with the breakdown of hormones. Herbs that reduce irritability by treating liver imbalances include Fringe Tree root and bark, which focuses on the regulation of liver functions, Dandelion, which cleanses and cools the liver, and Burdock Root, which reinforces the liver as it works to reduce excess estrogen levels in the blood.
A number of women suffer from anemia or anemic-like symptoms such a low energy and fatigue during PMS and require blood-tonifying herbs such as:
- Dang Gui, Angelica sinensis; used to build up the blood and increase blood flow to female organs to reduce:
- Ovary pain
- Nettles; known for anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties and is loaded with vitamins, nutrients and trace minerals that provide the body with essential energy
- All-around tonic for women’s reproductive health
- Yellow dock root; reduces excessive bleeding or heavy periods, also acts on the liver
The high levels of iron in Barberry, Dandelion and Licorice root also help with anemia symptoms, low energy and fatigue.
Cramping and pain can be addressed with an herbal PMS treatment with anti-spasmodic properties that also acts on the smooth muscles of the uterus such as Cramp Bark and Valerian Root, which also help ease nervousness and insomnia.
Another valuable herbal PMS treatment might include:
- Dandelion Root – a diuretic that lessens bloat and edema
- St. John’s Wart – helps depression and overwhelming emotions
- Birch Leaf – decreases fluid retention, edema and bloat
- Black Cohosh – for depression, hormonal imbalance, dysmenorrhea
- Corn Silk – relief from cramps, reduces fluid retention
- Chamomile – reduces muscle pain
- Dong Quai – lessens cramps
- Evening Primrose – reduces breast tenderness, bloat and weight gain
- Fennel – relieves abdominal cramps, bloating and gas
- Ginkgo Biloba – reduces breast tenderness
- Lemon Balm – relaxes and soothes the nervous system
- Meadow Sweet – helps with backaches, pain and inflammation
- Motherwort – reduces headaches and migraines, anxiety, tension and mood changes
- Peppermint – lessens gastrointestinal issues and anxiety
- Raspberry Leaf – helps with cramps and abdominal pain
Herbs can be used alone or in conjunction with one another, depending on the symptoms and their severity.
Women can find relief from symptoms of premenstrual syndrome with a variety of effective herbal remedies. Finding the right herb or combination of herbs may take some trial and error; the guidance of a qualified practitioner of alternative medicine will be most helpful in exploring the treatment options that will work for an individual woman’s body. An ideal herbal PMS treatment will address the cause, such as liver or hormonal imbalances, and rid uncomfortable symptoms with minimal or no side effects.