Women have long since hailed the effectiveness of herbs to help manage the seemingly endless mental and physical symptoms associated with menstruation, premenstrual syndrome, menopause, pregnancy and depression. The following herbs have a rich history alleviating imbalances in women to help make life more enjoyable.
Herbs bestow harmony to all areas of women’s health. The gentle healing nature of herbs lends itself perfectly to the many imbalances and stressors women face each day and throughout each stage of their life.
Female Tonic Herb – Dong Quai
Dong quai has earned a reputation as being the best female tonic herb, sometimes called “the female Ginseng”. It can be applied to almost every female gynecological ailment because of its prized nourishing and strengthening qualities. As a uterine tonic, Dong quai is valuable for stimulating blood flow to the pelvic area; restoring strength and balance to the uterus over time. Dong quai has been used to balance and regulate menstrual cycles after child birth, relieve symptoms of menopause, premenstrual syndrome, absent of menses and for its influence on hormonal production.
*Dong quai is not recommended during menstruation and pregnancy.
Hormonal Balancers and Regulators – Chaste Tree
Chaste tree, also known as Vitex is primarily used to regulate and stimulate the pituitary gland. The most valuable action of Chaste Tree lies in its ability to normalize the activity of the female sex hormones, including progesterone function. Premenstrual syndrome occurs in many women when progesterone levels drop and estrogen levels increase. Vitex has the ability to increase proportionately, progesterone to estradiol which helps to manage PMS symptoms.
Black Cohosh is a powerful herb used to help regain normal hormonal activity particularly during menopause and for its relaxing qualities. For hot flashes it works but takes three months to reach its optimum effectiveness. Additional thyroid support is needed for correcting hot flashes or excessive sweating.
Wild Yam Root
Wild Yam Root is prized for its natural hormone content aiding menopause and all aspects of menstrual dysfunction as well as infertility. Progesterone is the hormone most sought after especially following menopause since it typically declines or ceases to be produced – commencing from late fifties in women. Progesterone and testosterone are required hormones for building bone and muscle and are necessary for maintaining or reclaiming your libido. Look into bio-identical hormone replacement.
Iron/minerals/vitamins – Nettle
Stinging Nettle is an herb that most people try to avoid, but not so for herbalists. They praise and even worship this prickly plant as a food and medicine. Considered by many to be as important as the Chinese “long life” herbs, Nettles are extremely high in minerals and vitamins, particularly iron. Nettle is a favorite remedy for anemia and an excellent reproductive tonic for women to alleviate the symptoms of PMS and menopause.
Reducing Nervous Stress
All of the below recommendations may be taken as needed and mixed with each other for a desired effect, whether is calming nervous tension or bouts of anxiety.
Valerian dates back to ancient history where it was highly regarded for its sedating and pain relieving qualities. Today, valerian is still the herb of choice for those who suffer from nervous tension, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings and headaches. Valerian is a safe, non addictive herb being used effectively as a long term nerve tonic and for acute symptoms involving pain.
Skullcap is specifically indicated to the nervous system, used as a sedative, benefiting nervous exhaustion, stress and depression. While Skullcap has strong effective applications, it is also of great value in rejuvenating the central nervous system.
Passionflower has a long history as a calming and relaxing herb. An effective but gentle herb, passionflower is indicated for mood swings, hyperactivity in adults or children and for transiting into a restful sleep.
Anxiety Relief: A well known double blind study published in the Journal of Clinical of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, took place over a four week period where individuals suffering from anxiety attacks were intensely scrutinized. The comparison of passionflower to the commonly prescribed drug Oxazepam, showed the extract of passionflower to be equally effective by the end of the four week period. The advantage of passionflower showed in contrast of lesser side effects overall including daytime and job restrictions compared to Oxazepam.
Liver Health – Dandelion leaf and root
Dandelion is viewed as a universal herb, widely acclaimed for its restorative and purifying effects upon the liver and other body systems. Once a household name, dandelion is ideal for liver ailments, an effective diuretic, a blood purifier and a nutrient rich food source. It is my favorite green addition to my vegetable juice recipe.
When the liver gets clogged, milk thistle comes to the rescue. It is a nourishing herb to the liver and raises glutathione, the livers main antioxidant. This in of itself is highly significant since this herb has shown to not only preserve glutathione in the liver but to also stimulant its production.
As one of the first steps in overcoming chemical addictions such as drugs or alcohol, milk thistle will greatly expedite the process of riding the body of these toxins. Milk thistle also helps skin disorders and aids digestion.
Menstrual Cramps – Crampbark
Just as the name suggests, menstrual cramps are helped tremendously with the uterine nervine crampbark. It relaxes uterine muscles, reduces pain and protects against miscarriages due to stress and tension. Look for tincture formulas for more potency and ease of application. Take as needed depending on how acute your symptoms are. For instance, it would not be uncommon to take 10 -15 drops every 15 to 30 minute over a one to two hour period and them every few hours – decreasing as the need wanes. For a ratio reference, there are 60 drops in a teaspoon.
Thyroid – Bladderwack
Commonly known as Kelp, provides the thyroid with essential iodine, a trace mineral to ward off Hypothyroidism. The thyroid requires a small amount of iodine daily in order to make thyroid hormone. The absence of this mineral affects every metabolic function from the neck down. Cold hands and feet, low energy, hard to lose weight, heavy menses, infertility, hair loss, and hot flashes are just some of the symptoms associated with a low thyroid.
Threatened Miscarriages – Black Haw
Black Haw is primarily a women’s herb and is identified as a uterine relaxant. Herbalists often use this herb to prevent miscarriages and to aid false labor pains. Black Haw is also excellent for menstrual cramping and to prevent excessive flow at menopause.
During Pregnancy – Raspberry leaf
Raspberry leaf is highly acclaimed as a uterine and pelvic muscle toner which attributes to its fame as the go to herb for preparing mothers to be for childbirth. During the last three months of pregnancy, raspberry leaf tea will enrich and encourage the flow of mother’s milk and ease the muscle spasms associated with labor.
Late Stages of Pregnancy – Blue Cohosh
Blue cohosh is a valuable herb during the last few weeks of pregnancy to help mothers prepare for childbirth by making the birth process less painful and swifter. Many herbalists agree that the use of Blue Cohosh at the onset of labor pains will help ensure an easy delivery.
Also during childbirth, if your contractions are weak, try sipping a tea of Blue Cohosh to strengthen uterine contractions. Talk to your doctor or midwife about the treatment before birth.
Copyright © 2016 – All Rights Reserved – Michelle Honda Ph.D.
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While close attention was given to the accuracy of information in this article, the author accepts neither responsibility nor liability to any person with respect to injury, damage, loss or any circumstances involving alleged causes directly or indirectly related to the information in this article. The sole purpose is to educate and broaden ones awareness. This information is not meant to replace medical advice or services provided by a health care professional.