Herbs for Optimum Menstrual Health
If your period is
heavy enough to require changing more often than every one or two hours, or if
you have a period that lasts more than a full week, you may be experiencing menorrhagia or
heavy menstrual bleeding. Hormonal
one of the primary reason of heavy menstrual bleeding, with Uterine fibroid tumors
ranking second. Intrauterine
for contraception are also a potential cause of heavy menstrual bleeding or
Herbs such as Artemisia vulgaris and Capsella bursa-pastoris promote menstrual
and hormonal health.
Artemisia vulgaris or mugwort (same
family as the well-known wormwood) has
been used in China to prevent miscarriage in women, and also to reduce and
to stop excessive and heavy menstrual bleeding. The herb is widely used as
an antiseptic. A cool or cold womb is thought to be the cause of infertility in
a woman, and mugwort can be used to treat this condition as well. It can
also, if used properly, stop a miscarriage from
taking place, although this can only be done under the supervision of a
qualified medical or herbal practitioner. Menstrual pain can be alleviated
successfully with the help of mugwort. It contains a volatile oil, a
sesquiterpene lactone, flavonoids, coumarin derivatives, and triterpenes. A
common way to use mugwort is by making tea. Soak 1 teaspoon in a cup of hot
(non-boiling) water. Sweeten it with a small amount of honey or sugar.
Capsella bursa-pastoris or Shepherd's purse This
herb is used for premenstrual problems, long periods, and menstrual
acts as an astringent, anti-inflammatory, hemostatic, and diuretic. It is
used during or after childbirth and to ease difficult menstruation. The
leaves are very high in thiamin (B1), choline, inositol, and fumaric acid.
They are a good source of ascorbic acid (C), riboflavin (B2), calcium,
potassium, and phosphorus. They also provide beta carotene (A), vitamin K,
and rutin. For medicinal use, the whole plant in flower is used (except the
roots) usually in the form of a tea or infusion. Either fresh or dried
material may be used, but fresh is preferred as the dry material soon loses
its medicinal properties.
Another herb is Cinnamon, which
has been used for centuries to manage menorrhagia. Various terpenoids found
in the volatile oil are believed to account for cinnamonís medicinal
effects. Important among these compounds are eugenol and cinnamaldehyde.
Cinnamon tinctures have been the standard treatment for uterine bleeding before
the 1900s. Studies indicate that certain types of cinnamon may inhibit
thromboxane A, a substance in the blood that causes blood platelets to clump
and clot. This helps to stop heavy periods and abnormal bleeding. Sip a cup
(250 ml) of infusion, use 5-10 drops of tincture once or twice a day, chew
on a cinnamon stick, or sprinkle cinnamon on everything you eat.
Alchemilla vulgaris or Lady's Mantle: Rightfully
called a "woman's healing herb." Its rich concentrations of tannin make it
especially valuable in curbing heavy or excessive menstrual flow. A herbal
remedy made from the aerial part of the herb, ladyís mantle has been used in
stopping both external and internal bleeding - as well as excessive
menstruation in women, the herb has been used in the healing of all kinds of
wounds. It also aids in overcoming the symptoms of menopause and can lead
to a great improvement in the regularity of the menstrual cycle in the body
of the woman. The herbal remedy made from the ladyís mantle is also often
prescribed for the treatment of conditions like fibroids and endometriosis
Beth Root Stock: Trillium
erectum or beth root stock is a flowering plant indigenous to the western
United States, according to the "Physicians Desk Reference for Herbal
Medicines." The medicinal parts include the leaves and root are used to make
poultices and teas that have a sweet yet acrid taste. This plant is
indicated for heavy menstrual bleeding, venous ulcers, hematoma and head
colds. It is contraindicated in pregnancy. The
main side effect is gastric irritation which can induce vomiting.
can reduce heavy menstrual flow if taken during a heavy period. Yarrow is
effective for uterine health. Drinking yarrow tea or taking yarrow
supplements can regulate the menstrual flow and improve uterine tone.
Because of the salicylic acid (same compound as in aspirin) and
anti-inflammatory effects of yarrow, it is an effective pain reliever for
menstrual cramps, PMS and endometriosis.
To make your own tea, steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried yarrow flower for
every cup of boiling water and let sit for 10 minutes before straining.
To make Shepherd's Purse / Yarrow Tea
- 2 parts nettle,
- 1 part shepherd's purse leaf/flower
- 1/4 yarrow leaf/flower.
Use four to six tablespoons of herbs per quart of water. Place herbs in
quart jar and cover with boiling water. Cover tightly and allow to infuse
for at least twenty minutes (though the longer the better). Strain.
Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) berry: Its
extracts is said to normalize menstrual cycles. It helps regulate irregular
cycles during the different phases of a womanís life cycle. Herbalists often
use it with girls that are beginning to establish regular cycles, with women
when they are trying to get pregnant, and then with menopausal women to help
with hormonal balance and hot
Be patient with this herb,
as it generally takes three months of continuous use to reap benefits. You
can take 60 drops of tincture or 175 to 225 mg of standardized extract each
Nettle leaf and Hibiscus flower are suggested by some herbalist for managing
heavy menstrual bleeding. Calendula officinalis acts as a menstrual cycle
regulator and provides a calming effect while Viburnum opulus (Cramp Bark) helps
nervous tension and reduce menstrual cramps.
Menstrual chaos is common in menopausal years. Do not despair.
Dated 27 January 2012