Herbal Help for Hormonal Harmony
I don’t know about you, but for all my green and natural lifestyle choices, I’m still a bit of a moody so-and-so for a few days before my period.
I’ve realised most of my PMT symptoms are to do with needing my own space. When senses are heightened you need a quieter, calmer, and more serene environment but unfortunately kids, bosses and husbands tend to need you firing on all cylinders regardless of where you are in your cycle!
Premenstrual tension (PMT) is a hormonal imbalance that manifests itself through physical, mental and emotional symptoms such as fatigue, emotional instability, aggression, anxiety, depression, stress, tension, lack of concentration, confusion, fluid retention and headaches.
Research suggests that 30-40% of menstruating women suffer from some sort of PMT with a number of women experiencing very severe symptoms. It may manifest itself at earlier or later stages in life, but for all who experience it, the cause is the same – hormonal upheaval.
Fortunately Mother Nature is on hand to give us Goddesses some support. Here are my three favourite ways of taming those hormones and keeping them happy.
I hate to break it to you, but so much relief can be found through a good diet. Just when you’re craving chocolate, sugar and refined carbohydrates is the time when you need to REDUCE these temptations and eat a wholefood diet.
There are no hard and fast rules, but I’ve definitely felt better since adding a small cup of soya milk per day and although it’s an emotive issue, after 20 years of being vegetarian I’m feeling MUCH better since adding salmon and fish to my meals.
If you eat a wide range of foods you stand a better chance of getting all the nutrients you need. Think of a rainbow and eat one or two foods from each colour every day; it’s a much simpler and more fun way of meeting your nutritional needs than weighing, measuring and analysing things.
For those not taking the contraceptive pill, an effective herbal remedy for PMS and general menstrual symptoms is agnus castus. When using this herb, take it all month round rather than just for a few weeks of your cycle. It will work on PMS within two to three cycles and can be taken long term if necessary.
Agnus castus (sometimes called Vitex or Chasteberry) helps maintain the normal balance of female hormones. It works on the pituitary gland to decrease oestrogen effects and increase progesterone effects which brings about balance in women with PMT.
The herb has been used in medicine for centuries – one of the first records of its medical use was by Hippocrates in the 4th century!
I have a secret blend of hormone balancing oils that I use regularly – geranium, rose and lavender. It’s a decadent blend that smells heavenly. I use a tablespoon of the oil in a bath once a week and massage it into my feet and shoulders a couple of times a week.
Essential oils stimulate your brain cells to regain the natural activity of your hormones. Lavender soothes and calms the nerves to help release irritability and enable you to sleep well. Geranium helps regulate oestrogen production and relieves fluid retention. Rose is referred to as a ‘woman’s oil’ because it balances hormones. In addition it relieves stress and anxiety.
What about you – do you have any remedies for PMT that you’d like to share?
Suffering from sleep problems? Vogel are doing a live facebook Q&A tomorrow (1st March 2012) 12-1pm GMT on the topic of sleep problems. Alison Cullen their Health Expert will be answering all the questions!
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