Studies show that 75% of women experience symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome. For most of them, there is no relief in that they've tried almost everything. However, all is not lost. The world of herbal medicine can help.
Symptoms of PMS often occur for up to two weeks before the onset of menstrual flow. These include bloating, breast tenderness, fluid retention, fatigue, and headaches. Other common forms include irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
The changes that occur during PMS are not in a woman's imagination. These symptoms occur due to a complex set of reactions involving neurotransmitters and hormones that affect a woman's feelings, energy, and responses to life.
How your hormones should track through the cycle
Weeks 1 – 2 (after your period). During this time, you should have higher levels of estrogen. By mid-cycle, they have usually increased 10-fold before dropping steeply again.
Weeks 3 – 4 (after ovulation). During the second two weeks of your period cycle, ovulation occurs, and your body releases an egg. Your progesterone levels should be higher (preparing your uterus for possible implantation).
Unfortunately, many women have high estrogen levels throughout their menstrual cycle and insufficient progesterone production, causing a progesterone deficit in the second half of the menstrual cycle. Estrogen dominance (ED) is a common cause of PMS symptoms in many women.
Low progesterone levels can also cause endorphin levels to drop drastically. Endorphins are the hormones that elevate our moods, so lower levels can also increase PMS-related feelings of depression or moodiness.
Herbs that can help
Although lifestyle factors like exercise and yoga can help balance hormones, many women extra help to alleviate PMS.
By using the right herbs and spices, you can address both the symptoms of PMS and estrogen dominance.
ANXIETY AND LOW MOOD
Lavender. Research comparing the internal use of lavender to the sedative benzodiazepine has found it provides the same benefits, minus the side effects of the meds.
Lavender can also help promote skin rejuvenation and better quality of sleep. Put lavender flower bulbs into a tea ball and infuse for 10 minutes or more in hot water to make fresh lavender tea.
Clary Sage. Its essential oil is a favorite in aromatherapy for helping one keep calm and induce a sense of well being.
Chasteberry. Research shows that after using this berry internally as a tea or a tincture for three consecutive menstrual cycles, 93% of women experienced a decrease in PMS symptoms like fluid retention and cravings.
Chasteberry also helps in reducing hormonal symptoms such as depression and anxiety. You can either use this herb through days 14-21 of your menstrual cycle or all month long.
Dandelion Root and Leaves. This common yard weed helps to alleviate fluid retention. Research indicates dandelion's potential as a diuretic. Dandelion also supplies the body with minerals like potassium, that get depleted when using prescription diuretics. Dandelion root stimulates and detoxifies the liver, which can help promote the breakdown of estrogen during PMS.
CAUTION: Dandelion root contains lots of polysaccharides, so avoid it if you are sensitive to carbohydrates that can cause digestive difficulties.
Lemon Balm. This herb has other benefits, apart from being a sleep aid and anxiety combatant. It's also a potent memory booster and can improve your concentration. Health professionals believe this is partly due to rosmarinic acid, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The Sole Toscana Beauty Team