If PMS is making you an uncomfortable cranky-pants, you can pop a pill and zone out on a caffeinated buzz until it’s all over with, or you can grab some herbs and get some tailor made natural relief. You know what your most bothersome symptoms are, and more than likely they change a bit every month. Instead of hanging all the symptoms on one pill, let’s look at a few herbal remedies for PMS that you can keep around to offer you relief for what you have when you have it.
Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) see above: I’ve got to start with the popular remedy raspberry because it offers overall uterine health. It strengthens the uterus and relieves cramps, including that awful heavy and achy feeling during your period. One cup of tea three times daily during PMS (or all month long, if you like) can be of great help.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca): If you’re feeling a lot of anxiety and tension before your period – even so much that it’s causing the period to delay – motherwort brings relief. It’ll also rid you of the headache, cramps, and those terrible cravings for chocolate and corn chips. Take one cup of tea up to three times a day until symptoms have passed.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): When you need to relax your overactive neurons and lower those stress levels, lemon balm will assist you quietly. It offers peace and a sense of calmness while elevating a depressed mood. And you won’t feel druggy, either, so you can get on with what you need to do without fear of drooling on your paperwork. It also cools the body down, which is helpful if you tend to feel overheated during PMS.
Valerian (Valeriana spp.): When you’ve just had enough and are ready to start throwing things, it’s time to meet your new friend. Her name is Valerian, and she’s one fantastic herb for getting you down off the ledge. This nerve tonic will pull you out of distress, restlessness, and downright hysteria. It’s also a wonderful pain reliever, so it knocks the menstrual cramps and headaches right out. It’ll knock you out, too, so no signing legal documents or driving heavy construction equipment. Four to six ounces of the tea up to two times daily will settle things down until the storm passes. Don’t take it longer than a few days at a time.
Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica): Nettles is a most helpful and nutritive tea. It will lift that immune system back up, remove toxins from your body, even build up your energy again. It’s a great tea for everyday use, in fact. It’ll relieve PMS symptoms, lessen profuse menstruation, and replenish lost vitamins and minerals. I make nettle tea in 1-quart glass canning jars, letting about two or three tablespoons of herb steep in cold water overnight. Drink as needed and share this one with the family. (More on nettles from the Weekly Weeder.)
If you consider your PMS or menstrual symptoms severe, you’ll still need to visit your doctor. If you’re taking any prescription medications, be sure to talk to your doctor before adding herbs to your routine. With a little know-how, you’ll find more relief in your herbal friends than any over-the-counter medication can provide, and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. The biggest thing you’ll be getting? Real PMS relief.
This is a guest post by Diane Kidman, author of the bestselling “Herbs Gone Wild!” Kindle series. She studied with the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and is often seen munching various weeds and leaves.