4 Herbs For PMS And Menopause That Every Woman Needs To Know About
Hormonal issues such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and perimenopause can be complex. If you suffer during either one of these phases, you know how frustrating and often debilitating it can be. However, some amazing plants that have been used for years traditionally have now been scientifically proven to help support issues arising from imbalanced hormones. Here are four herbs for PMS and perimenopause that can help your hormones.
Why do I experience these symptoms during perimenopause?
An important hormone involved in the menstrual cycle is oestrogen. Highest in ovulation, oestrogen stimulates the thickening of the endometrium (your uterus lining) in preparation for pregnancy.
During perimenopause, however, your oestrogen levels start to decline, and once you hit menopause, your ovaries stop producing oestrogen altogether. Without it, you might experience hot flashes, night sweats and low mood. It can also affect your skin, hair and result in vaginal dryness.
Hormone therapy can help but unfortunately, it is not for everyone. Much like with the oral contraceptive pill, there are side effects, such as weight gain and skin and sleep disturbances - to name a few. Another option is using plants. Using herbs for PMS and perimenopause is often a more gentle approach to dealing with symptoms. We use the four herbs listed below in our Hormone Balance, which is perfect for women in any stage in life who are struggling with hormonal issues like PMS and perimenopause.
1. Red clover - how can it help?
Red clover for perimenopause/menopause
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a phyto-oestrogenic plant, which can help support imbalanced hormones. While it's well known as a nutritive and a blood cleanser that helps with clearing the skin, it has also been used to support menstrual issues.
Red clover contains isoflavones which are plant-based chemicals that produce an oestrogen-like effect in the body. As it is not a synthetic hormone, it is a gentler way to help with hormonal issues as it has a 'normalising effect'. It has been used in clinical double-blind trials to reduce menopausal symptoms, particularly anxiety and low mood.
Lower levels of oestrogen can also affect your skin. As the skin thins, it is more prone to wrinkling, and many women also experience dryness and irritation. This study found red clover to be helpful for postmenopausal women who suffered from skin and hair issues. It also found that libido, mood and sleep were also improved.
Red clover for PMS
Red clover is not just for perimenopause, it's also a great herb for PMS. It has a modulating (balancing) effect on hormone levels all through life, making it a great option if you suffer from PMS. Its balancing ability is partly due to its high isoflavone content, which helps ease hormonal imbalances. Red clover also supports the lymphatic system, which can help with irritated skin and skin prone to breakouts.
2. Sage - how can it help?
Sage for perimenopause/menopause
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of perimenopause and menopause. The sudden hot feelings, skin flush and urge to take off layers can last for years for some women. Hot flashes that occur while you sleep (often called night sweats) can leave you sweaty, uncomfortable and poorly rested.
By reducing the temperature fluctuations that occur during these hormonal changes, you can improve your day to day comfortability, support your sleep and wake more rested. Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a hero herb that can help support this symptom. This study confirmed the ability of sage to support night sweats. Participants found that the number of hot flushes decreased significantly over eight weeks while taking sage.
Sage for PMS
Sage is not only beneficial for women with menopause, it's also an excellent herb for PMS. Sage has been used to support other reproductive issues, such as irregular period cycles and variation in flow. It is also used for dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) and supporting PMS mood symptoms such as low mood and anxiety.
3. Motherwort - how can it help?
Motherwort for perimenopause/menopause
A common complaint from people going through perimenopause is the fact that they find themselves newly anxious or suffering from heart palpitations when they have never had this issue before.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is a nervine that helps to support the cardiovascular system, in particular, reducing heart palpitations that are associated with anxiety, worry and insomnia. It has a gentle effect that builds over time, making this a beautiful and highly effective plant that can help with these symptoms.
Motherwort has two affinities: women’s reproductive health and the heart. The alkaloid component called leonurine found within motherwort works as a mild vasodilator (meaning it helps increase blood flow by allowing the blood vessels to widen), this brings oxygen and nutrients around the body. Motherwort also works as an antispasmodic to relax smooth muscles - including the heart. It can help to slow heart palpitations which makes it an effective plant for supporting anxiety and worry.
Motherwort also works to help support the uterus, reducing cramping and pain, which can be a common perimenopausal symptom.
Motherwort for PMS
Painful and irregular periods are the most challenging symptoms to deal with while you are menstruating. It can make life very hard to predict and interfere with all elements of your day.
Motherwort, another great herb for PMS, acts as a uterine tonic that can help to regulate irregular periods and reduce menstrual cramping, which is often a symptom of PMS. Menstrual cramps are partially due to inadequate circulation to the pelvic area. Motherwort helps to improve blood flow to this area and provides anti-inflammatory support - reducing menstrual cramping.
Motherwort’s ability to support the nervous system also means it can help with anxiety, overwhelm, and sleeplessness and can help relieve premenstrual tension and discomfort.
4. Yarrow - how can it help?
Yarrow for perimenopause/menopause
Perimenopause can result in many changes to the menstrual cycle. A common symptom women suffer from is heavy and irregular bleeding. Heavy bleeding can come on suddenly and be quite a traumatic change. Luckily, there are some herbs that can help with this symptom, like yarrow.
Yarrow has been traditionally used to help with bleeding due to its astringent properties. It is often used in a poultice (a topical way of applying plants on the skin) to stop bleeding, but it can also help internally with menstrual irregularities. Yarrow is high in tannins, which gives it its astringent (drying) abilities. Its ability to stop and regulate menstrual bleeding comes from its alkaloids and flavonoids.
Yarrow also has the ability to help and support the liver, which is essential in a range of conditions - but particularly important in hormonal issues. Yarrow helps reduce uterine muscle spasms and can work as an anti-inflammatory that can comfort those suffering from menstrual cramping.
Yarrow for PMS
Heavy bleeding is not limited to those in perimenopause. Imbalanced hormones often result in longer and heavier bleeds. Heavy bleeding can also be seen in some conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids and in those coming off the contraceptive pill.
If you suffer from painful and clotty menstrual periods, yarrow can help reduce these symptoms by supporting liver detoxification and blood flow - making it a great herb for PMS. Often, these conditions are considered part of pelvic congestion, so moving blood flow more freely can help.
Yarrow's ability to stimulate circulation increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to sites that require extra support, ultimately reducing pain and inflammation. Yarrow contains salicylic acid, which can be helpful for pain, headaches and also calming the digestive system. It's bitter constituents activate the bitter receptors found throughout the body (even in the uterine smooth muscles).
Often, a plant is reduced to only one use when really they have multiple ways of supporting your body and health. The herbs for PMS and perimenopause we covered in this blog may not be the first plants you think of or the most ‘trendy’ herbs for hormones. Still, their traditional and successful use for hundreds of years has shown that they are just as effective and important - just less celebrated!