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Nature's Healing Power: Herbs for Menstrual and Hormonal Health by Jaslin Varzideh


Hello, radiant women of the Red Tent Goddess Circles! As we journey towards holistic well-being, we find ourselves returning to nature's abundance, drawing on ancient wisdom and practices. One such practice involves using herbs for menstrual and hormonal health. In this blog post, we'll delve into seven powerful herbs, including Vitex, Chasteberry, and Black Cohosh, learning how they support our cycles and how best to use them.


Vitex (Chasteberry)

How it supports menstrual and hormonal health: Vitex, also known as Chasteberry, is a herb with a long history of use in women's health. It's believed to help balance both estrogen and progesterone levels during the menstrual cycle. Research suggests that Vitex can alleviate symptoms of PMS, including irritability, mood swings, and breast tenderness1.


How to use it: Vitex is most commonly taken in capsule or tincture form. It's recommended to use Vitex in the morning with some water.


When to use it: While it can be taken at any time, it's often recommended for use during the luteal phase (second half) of your menstrual cycle, when progesterone levels should be higher.


Side effects and considerations: Vitex is generally well tolerated, but some women may experience nausea, headache, or changes in menstrual flow. It should not be used during pregnancy without consulting a healthcare provider2.


Black Cohosh

How it supports menstrual and hormonal health: Black Cohosh has been used traditionally to relieve menstrual and menopausal symptoms. It's known to reduce symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances3.


How to use it: Black Cohosh is often consumed as a tea, capsule, or tincture.


When to use it: It can be used during the late luteal phase to help manage premenstrual symptoms, and throughout the menstrual cycle for menopausal symptoms.


Side effects and considerations: Some people may experience mild stomach upset, cramping, or rashes. Long-term use (over six months) should be under the supervision of a healthcare provider4.


Red Raspberry Leaf

How it supports menstrual and hormonal health: Red Raspberry Leaf is rich in nutrients including calcium, iron, and B-vitamins, which support uterine health and menstrual wellness. It's believed to help tone the uterus and reduce menstrual cramps5.


How to use it: This herb is often enjoyed as a tea, though it's also available in capsule and tincture form.


When to use it: It can be consumed throughout the menstrual cycle, but some women find it particularly supportive during menstruation when cramping may occur.


Side effects and considerations: Red Raspberry Leaf is generally safe, but some may experience nausea or loose stools. It should be used with caution during pregnancy6.


Dong Quai

How it supports menstrual and hormonal health: Dong Quai, known as the "female ginseng," is traditionally used in Chinese medicine to support women's reproductive health. It's believed to help balance estrogen levels, promote menstrual regularity, and alleviate menstrual cramps7.


How to use it: Dong Quai can be consumed as a tea, capsule, or tincture.


When to use it: Dong Quai can be taken throughout the menstrual cycle, but is often recommended during menstruation to ease cramping.


Side effects and considerations: Side effects can include skin sensitivity to sunlight, and it should not be used during pregnancy, by those with heavy menstrual bleeding, or by those taking blood-thinning medications8.


Evening Primrose Oil

How it supports menstrual and hormonal health: Evening Primrose Oil is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a type of fatty acid that's been found to help with symptoms of PMS and hormonal imbalance, including breast pain and mood swings9.


How to use it: Evening Primrose Oil is typically taken in capsule form.


When to use it: It's most beneficial when taken throughout the entire menstrual cycle.


Side effects and considerations: Possible side effects include stomach upset and headache. It should not be used during pregnancy and by those taking blood-thinning or antipsychotic medications10.


Maca

How it supports menstrual and hormonal health: Maca, a Peruvian plant, is known for its hormone-balancing effects. Research suggests it can improve mood, energy, and libido, and reduce symptoms of menopause11.


How to use it: Maca is commonly taken as a powder mixed into smoothies or other foods, or in capsule form.


When to use it: Maca can be taken throughout the menstrual cycle.


Side effects and considerations: Maca is generally safe but can cause mild digestive upset in some people. It's not recommended for those with hormone-sensitive conditions12.


Ashwagandha

How it supports menstrual and hormonal health: Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, supports the body's stress response, which can promote hormonal balance. It's been found to reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression[^13^].


How to use it: Ashwagandha can be consumed as a powder mixed into warm milk or tea, or in capsule or tincture form.


When to use it: Ashwagandha can be beneficial when taken throughout the menstrual cycle.


Side effects and considerations: Some people may experience mild side effects such as sleepiness or gastrointestinal discomfort. It should not be used during pregnancy[^14^].


Remember, while herbs offer a natural way to support menstrual and hormonal health, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or are taking other medications.


In our next Red Tent Goddess circle, we will delve deeper into natural healing practices for women. Until then, may these herbs provide you with support and balance on your journey to health and wellness.


Footnotes

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11129515/ ↩


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5308513/ ↩


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22071889/ ↩


https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/black-cohosh ↩


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10754818/ ↩


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501922/ ↩


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25022257/ ↩


https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/dong-quai ↩


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5963652/ ↩


https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-evening-primrose/art-20364500 ↩


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24931003/ ↩


https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/m ↩


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