I’ve always had heavy, painful periods, it just seems to be part of my natural constitution. As a teenager, I relied on ibuprofen, which wasn’t good for me or my stomach lining! When I got into herbs and herbalism, one of the first things I wanted to learn was how to deal with my periods naturally. Over the years I’ve tried many things, and I’d like to share some of my favorites with you.
Vitex agnus-castus, Chaste Tree Berry
The berry of this beautiful tree is well known for treating hormonal imbalances. For me, a low dose (about 800mg per day of the raw herb) helps me keep to a 28-32 day cycle, and minimizes some of the worst PMS symptoms. I’m hoping too that my daily dose will help smooth the transition into menopause, which is just around the corner!
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Iron and B-Complex Supplementation
Heavy periods can mean fatigue, brain fog, and misery. I try to eat well and get plenty of water and rest leading up to my cycle, but sometimes the world gets the better of me and I find the first few days of bleeding to be pretty darn rough. I’ve learned that taking Iron and B-complex together can make a world of difference! They absorb better together than separately, and the extra energy can be a huge help when I’m feeling low.
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Ginger and Cinnamon
Either seperately or together, Ginger and Cinnamon are warming, soothing, and anti-spasmodic. That means they relax clenched, cramping muscles! For ease of use, I keep capsules of both herbs handy, but they’re also great as tea. Ginger is perhaps my favorite, and I love the feeling of warmth that spreads through me when I’ve taken a capsule, it’s kind of like a hot water bottle on the inside! But Cinnamon is great too, and I tend to take it more when the food/sweet cravings are bothering me, since Cinnamon also helps balance blood sugar.
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The Smell of Rose
I’m no expert on aromatherapy (for that you’ll have to talk with Olivia!), but I know a few remedies that I absolutely love, and one of them is Rose. Real roses, with their rich, sweet smell. The scent of rose is calming, centering, and soothes both the blues and the tempers of PMS and menstruation. Pure essential oil of Rose is quite expensive. I have a teeny tiny bottle that I keep just for smelling, and I’ve had it for years. If rose oil is not in your price range, dried roses are also excellent. Keep an ounce or two in a tightly sealed glass jar and just breathe deep. Several deep, calming breaths with roses settles me right down.
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A Little Yoga
This is a simple, easy stretch to open the pelvis and relax tense muscles in the abdomen. It’s good for indigestion as well as menstrual cramps. For cramps, try to remember to do this stretch for a few days before you start to bleed for best effect. But you can do it during as well, and it will still help.
- On a sturdy chair, make a good pile of pillows, with a neck bolster on top.
- Sit down on the floor with your back to the chair.
- Pull your feet, soles pressed together and knees bent, as close to your pelvis as is comfortable.
- Lean back onto the pile of pillows. Arrange the pillows in whatever way is most comfortable for you to relax your back and neck.
- Let your hands fall naturally to your sides and rest there for 5-10 minutes.
You can also do this with just a pile of pillows on the floor if you prefer.
I hope you find these tips helpful! If you need more advice on living happily with your cycle, you can always stop by Smile and chat with one of our herbalists!