Dealing with PMS? These 3 Herbs Can Help
Hormones can sneak up on you when you least expect it. We don’t get a knock on our door with an announcement that our hormones are going haywire. That’s why it’s so important that we frequently take inventory of what’s going on in our heads.
First of all, what governs our hormones? Is it possible that we could have no PMS one month and the next struggle to keep an even keel? The glandular system, which includes the thyroid and parathyroid, regulates our emotions. It interacts with the nervous system and digestion. Our hormones respond to everything: diet, stress, environmental factors, sleep patterns, and trauma.
We can be taking great care of our physical health but still neglecting to sit with and process our emotions, thus harboring stress. Trying to be peaceful by suppressing our true feelings or being too busy to eat properly throws off the process of digestion and the pH in our body. We can experience things outside of our control that stress us as well. All of these factors can contribute to hormonal imbalances and adrenal fatigue which can cause PMS.
Don’t feel guilty about mood swings. What’s important is that we try to give ourselves our best shot at feeling good so we stress less. If you feel yourself or a friend is not themselves and may be experiencing hormonal imbalances, I have three herbs you can try out that should realign you. Note that you don’t have to wait for cramps or mood swings to give these a try; start now and you’ll be able to prevent the worst of your PMS symptoms.
Symptoms of PMS
According to Wellness Mama, here are typical symptoms:
PMS, by definition, refers to a wide range of symptoms that start during the second half of the cycle and which can include headache, dizziness, cramps, irritability, bloating, breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, food cravings or aversions, weight gain, irritability, depression, anxiety and fatigue. These symptoms usually occur before menses begins and subside gradually at the onset of the period.
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms and have been just “putting up” with them, you no longer have to. Truly, we don’t have enough discussions and education about PMS in our society. Women struggle privately with these effects their whole lives because we are taught that it is a personal battle. Well let’s blow the lid off of that perception because women are powerful bringers of life and I think we can all agree that unnecessary suffering should be a thing of the past. So here’s to more empowerment and less irritability, cramps, fatigue, and depression!
3 Herbs For PMS
Ashwagandha - This herb helps the thyroid which produces our hormones. It’s an adaptogen, which means it brings the hormones into balance. It increases libido and can help ease depression. Its effects are best seen over the course of a few weeks. Those who have adrenal fatigue from stress benefit from this herb. The recommended dosage is 1-2 teaspoons twice daily. It comes in tincture form as well as capsules. It’s also a good idea not to take it every day or to take breaks from using it, maybe a week off per month. It’s not to be taken during pregnancy. Here’s a great ashwagandha latte recipe.
Clary Sage - Used as an essential oil in a diffuser or topically, this herb is known to help reduce cramps, food cravings, mood swings, and hormone imbalances. Known as “one of the top essential oils for hormones,” it’s also a mild sedative which calms the nerves with a warming effect. It has also been proven to reduce cortisol (a stress hormone). You can rub a little of this oil on your abdomen and feet, put a few drops in a hot bath, dot a few drops on your pillow, or use it in a diffuser. It’s not to be used during pregnancy but can be used to induce labor and ease the delivery.
Dong Quai - One great way to take this herb is drinking Yogi Tea brand’s Women’s Moon Cycle Tea. Many women experience PMS because of high levels of estrogen or low levels of progesterone. This herb can help with cramps, heavy bleeding, water retention, headaches, bloating, and mood swings. For women with hypertension, it has wonderful effects. It’s a great hormone balancer and helps with menopausal symptoms as well. Coming from the carrot, parsley, dill, and celery family, Dr.Weil says this plant has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for menstrual irregularities for over 2,000 years! The recommended dosage is 2-3 grams daily in 2 or 3 doses or 2,000-4,000 milligrams daily. It’s not to be taken while pregnant.
Consult with your physician before taking supplements to be sure they are right for you. Some herbs can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control, can have harmful drug interactions, and not all should be taken while pregnant or nursing. Always read about other herbal interactions and possible side effects to be fully informed about an herb before introducing it in your system. You should always follow the recommended dosage as taking too much could have unwanted effects.
If you aren’t using the gifts from Mother Nature to help ease PMS, there’s no better time to take this ancient information and make life easier, wouldn’t you say? Knowledge is power and health is wealth. We can avoid many unwanted outbursts or bouts of depression if we educate ourselves about the many natural ways women can balance their hormones.
It’s also important to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and seek ways to manage stress such as meditation, proper sleep, and of course staying hydrated! Be conscious of your caffeine intake (this causes adrenal fatigue), and get lots of greens and omega fatty acids in your diet. Taking time to sit with a trusted friend to discuss the sources of your stress and how you can approach those stresses can also aid in balancing out your hormones.
We can all support each other in maintaining lifestyles that cut down stress. I hope you go forward inspired to reach out to the women in your life, because we could all use a bit more balance.
What natural remedies and do you use to manage PMS?