Herbs That Support a Healthy Menstrual Cycle
As much as getting your period can be this irksome thing that happens every month, your menstrual cycle can be a big indicator of your health. I didn’t always see my cycle as something that happened because I was healthy. Maybe because for as long as I’ve had a period, I’ve had terrible menstrual cramps that led to me not being able to do anything at all on the first day of my period except for vomit and cower in pain. Something was going on.
Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something isn’t right. Similarly, irregular menstrual cycles or missing periods are other ways your body is trying to tell you there’s something more to be explored here. Unfortunately, conventional Western medicine simply prescribes birth control pills or anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical medications for pain or irregular cycles. These treatments don’t address the problem—just the symptoms.
There are other ways to manage the base cause of your menstrual concerns and support a healthy cycle. Herbs are a fantastic way to gently coax your cycle into something that resembles normalcy.
I’ve used all of the following herbs at one point or another to help my menstrual cycle. What are these herbs and how can they help you?
Dong Quai is a Chinese herb that’s sometimes referred to as female ginseng. It’s a root that’s been used for thousands of years to help prevent menstrual pain and correct irregular menstrual cycles, which can positively influence fertility. Dong Quai is typically used in combination with other herbs such as white peony root and licorice root, but you shouldn’t try mixing these herbs unless directed by your holistic healthcare professional or herbalist. How does Dong Quai work, exactly? It helps stimulate blood flow and decrease inflammation in the body. Its ability to improve circulation and calm muscle spasms can help with painful period cramping.
How can you use Dong Quai? Dong Quai is perhaps best prescribed by a herbalist since its effectiveness is often heightened by working with other herbs. You may purchase a tincture where the herbs are already mixed depending on what menstruation issues you’d like Dong Quai to solve. You can also try dried root infusions (such as in a tea) or a powdered version of the root in a capsule instead of a tincture.
How did I use Dong Quai? I’ve taken Dong Quai in capsule form and in tincture form as prescribed by my herbalist with success in preventing period pain.
Cramp bark is used to help muscle spasms and cramping that often come with periods. Although it doesn’t taste very good, cramp bark can be an effective natural remedy for those that suffer from painful menstruation and has even been shown to help with endometriosis pain.
How does cramp bark work, exactly? This herb contains antispasmodic compounds such as coumarins which help ease muscle pain. Cramp bark also contains chlorogenic acid which has the potential to help with endometriosis pain.
How can you use cramp bark? Cramp bark doesn’t taste good, but you can drink it as a tea a couple of days before your period to help with cramping. You can also use in a tincture form or a capsule form.
How did I use cramp bark? I’ve used cramp bark in the past as a tea and in capsule form with mixed success for my painful menstrual cramps (read on to find the herb that did wonders for me!).
Ginger is a well-known herb that’s used in cooking, baking, and of course, teas! Ginger has been hugely helpful to me and has been a major player in eliminating my crazy-painful menstrual cramps.
How does ginger work, exactly? Ginger stimulates circulation, which can help promote healthy blood flow during your period and minimize the need for the uterus to painfully contract. Ginger also contains powerful phytochemicals that can help alleviate pain and inflammation.
How can you use ginger? Fortunately, you have many options for using this herb. In addition to taking it as a tea made with dried herb, a tincture, and in capsule form, you can also boil fresh ginger root or use fresh or dried ginger root when cooking or baking.
How did I use ginger? I make a dried ginger infusion (One tablespoon of dried herb in three cups of water boiled for 10 minutes) and drink warm or at room temperature daily. When I don’t feel like doing this, I take one to two ginger capsules two times a day. I also use ginger when cooking in combination with other warming spices such as turmeric.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf, as you may have guessed, is the leaves from the raspberry plant. This plan has long been known to support a healthy menstrual cycle. Not only can it help with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), it can also help with painful menstrual cramps and support fertility.
How does red raspberry leaf work, exactly? Red raspberry leaf contains antioxidants and nutrients such as magnesium and iron that can help reduce menstrual cramps. This herb also contains a compound called fragrance which can help soothe muscle cramps and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
How can you use red raspberry leaf? It’s most commonly used as a tea, but you can also use in tincture and capsule form similar to the other herbs on this list.
How did I use red raspberry leaf? Fortunately, a red raspberry leaf tea is delicious in my opinion! It tastes similar to black tea, albeit not as strong, but doesn’t have any caffeine. I drank as tea and really enjoyed it.
Herbs for Better Period Health
Have you tried any of these herbs for better period health? Whether you’re struggling with irregular periods or painful cramping, consider trying some of these herbs under the guidance of a professional to see if they can help improve your cycle and balance your hormones!