Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Herbal Remedies

According to reports, about 1/3 of women between 30 and 40 years of age experience symptoms of PMS severely enough to cause suffering. Typical symptoms include tension, decreased energy, breast pain, altered sex drive, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, backache, abdominal bloating, depression, headaches, cramps, weight gain and water-retention.

BENEFICIAL HERBS

  • Chasteberry is recommended for long-term use and has been useful in alleviating symptoms of PMS including nervous tension, anxiety, mood swings or insomnia.
  • Evening Primrose oil is considered one of the most effective herbal remedies for PMS. Evening Primrose oil helps relieve breast tenderness, mood changes, headaches, fluid retention, and irritability
  • Dong quai (angelica), licorice root, chaste berry, and black cohosh are very useful in the treatment of PMS. Combining these herbs may produce better results than any single herb. Caution: Do not use licorice on a daily basis for more than seven days in a row, and avoid it completely if you have high blood pressure. Do not use black cohosh if you are pregnant and have any type of chronic disease. Do not use dong quai during pregnancy.
  • Ginkgo biloba is effective in relieving some of the symptoms of PMS, particularly breast pain or tenderness.
  • Wild yam extract possesses anti-inflammatory properties, contains natural progesterone and has proved effective in alleviating many symptoms of PMS including cramps, headache, mood swings, depression, and insomnia.
  • Feverfew and white willow bark have analgesic properties and are good for migraines and/or headaches. Feverfew is also great for menstrual cramps.
  • Peppermint, crampbark or black haw, and/or chamomile may help alleviate stomach cramps. Peppermint and chamomile also can help to stabilize mood swings.
  • Skullcap and/or valerian root is helpful for the irritability and anxiety aspects of PMS.
  • Dandelion has natural diuretic properties that can aid in the reduction of water-retention.
  • Tea made from motherwort and raspberry leaves has been used to treat PMS. Caution: Do not use motherwort during pregnancy.
  • Siberian ginseng is useful in combating depression.
  • Other effective herbs in the treatment of PMS include false unicorn root, pennyroyal, squawvine, and blessed thistle. Caution: Do not use pennyroyal during pregnancy.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Eat foods high in calcium (non-dairy foods), magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, and manganese
  • Eat more yogurt, carbohydrates, and soy foods
  • Follow a predominantly vegetarian diet
  • Cut down your intake of milk, dairy products, salt, salty foods, and concentrated sugars such as chocolates, cookies and cakes
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

NUTRIENT SUPPLEMENTATION

A well balanced diet is a more natural source of nutrients and it is best to get as much as possible from food. If you are not eating a varied mixture of the main food groups or foods high in a certain nutrient needed for your health situation then make up the remaining through vitamin and mineral supplementation.

  • Calcium: 1,200-1,500 milligrams (best taken at bedtime). Caution: Do not take calcium supplementation without your doctors approval if you have heart or kidney problems
  • Magnesium: 400-1,000 milligrams. Caution: If you have heart or kidney problems, you should always check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin E: 400 IU. Caution: If you are taking anticoagulants, you should not take vitamin E supplements
  • Vitamin C: 1,000 milligrams
  • Manganese: 2 milligrams
  • Vitamin B6: 150-200 milligrams
  • Vitamin A: 10,000 IU. Caution: Vitamin A can be toxic in doses exceeding 15,000 IU daily and has been found to cause birth defects in doses of 10,000 IU daily when taken in early pregnancy. Do not use this therapy if you are pregnant.
  • Chromium: 100 micrograms of trivalent chromium three times daily
  • Zinc: 50 milligrams. Caution: Do not exceed a total of 80 milligrams daily from all supplements. Taking over 80 milligrams of zinc daily can weaken the immune system

In some cases, herbal products can interact negatively with other medications. Such interactions can be dangerous. Herbal remedies are not regulated and their quality is not controlled. Moreover, while there is an abundant supply of information circulating about herbs, not much of it has been scientifically proven. Consult your physician. Informing your doctor and pharmacist of what herbal products you are using is just as important as letting them know what drugs you are taking. Your physician and the pharmacist on duty at your pharmacy can assist you in deciding which herbs
are safe.

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