Thanks for letting us know you're interested in Herbal Medicine and Period Health. You'll now only receive emails which pertain to these interests. Here is some content about both to get you started. If you're interested in taking your herbal knowledge to the next level I'd highly recommend checking out the online courses by Herbal Academy or looking into the degree which Lincoln College runs in the UK.
Being brought up in a family that never talked about menstruation it came as a shock to me when my periods finally arrived and brought with them all manner of inconveniences, simply buying sanitary equipment was an embrassesment to me as a teen but the pains that often accompanied my bleed were awful. It is one of the reasons that I became a herbalist, caring for and nurturing our bodies with herbs could be something that we are taught about in schools.
Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year but for most of us it's arguably the most stressful. For weeks before hand we desperately cram our work in so we can buy ourselves time off. We rush about the shops..
Last winter I had a touch of depression. I didn't realise at the time though because it came out in the form of social anxiety attacks. The thought of going out and socialising, or even going busy places with lots of strangers (e.g. London) was all a bit much for me. Life circumstances have changed and that has all passed now but not without a fair bit of fight.
A while ago I asked you to help me out with something, and help you did. You filled out a form to tell me what bothers you most about your periods. The results of which helped me put together the new version of my course Joyful Periods. Mood swings was the second most common problem you guys mentioned. So I thought I'd write a little something about the topic. For details about why you get mood swings head over to the article I wrote for Kali boxes at the end. But first, lets learn about a few herbs that can help.
Our hormones are constantly changing in response to our external and internal environment. The reproductive hormones follow a general pattern called the menstrual cycle for most people while they're of a certain age range. Having balanced hormones is a colloquialism for meaning having hormones that don't cause us any trouble. It has very little to do with the actual levels of our hormones we might expect to see on any test results.
Its common in orthodox medicine for period problems such as irregularity or missed periods to be 'treated' with the contraceptive pill. Offered up to you as a way to balance your hormones.
But the 'hormones' in the contraceptive pill actually aren't the same as your own. They are chemically similar but not the same. Crucially, they are given in the exact same dose each day in comparison with the body who will change the levels of hormones moment to moment depending on what you require.
The body is constantly adapting to your needs. What we don't realise is that our diets and lifestyle can be putting a strain on the body that you don't recognise as such because (often) everyone else in society is operating under the same circumstances.
Even when I treat hormonal imbalances in patients I avoid the herbs which are known to have a directive hormonal effect such as maca and Vitex agnus castus. Instead I prioritise herbs which support the other body systems and wait to see if the hormones readjust to that instead.
The herbs I focus on are adaptogens, to balance the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis and its response to stress. Relaxants to reduce our cortisol levels which in turn helps increase our reproductive hormones like progesterone. Tonics which feed the digestion, nervous system, circulation and elimination. If we are unable to absorb nutrients from foods then we can't absord the building blocks of our hormones (cholesterol playing a crucial role). If we have poor circulation these nutrients can't get where they Nedd to go. And if we are unable to excrete hormones and other waste from our liver effectively then it remains active in the body for longer.
I find that in mild or short term hormonal imbalance this is all that's needed. But when I work with people who have diagnosed illnesses like PCOS and endometriosis, they often need a jump start to hormonal balance where I will work with those hormonally directive herbs for a little while and remove them when the diet and lifestyle (stress) has been rebalanced.
I believe that it's only in rare situations that herbs need to be taken daily. Lifestyle and diet are the real cures, the herbs are just a catalyostic means to an end.
1. Hurt so much you can't do what you want.
2. Bleed so much you have to wear two types of protection at once.
3. Last longer than 8 days
4. Leave you feeling weak
5. Be shorter than 3 days
Fibroids are an extremely common issue. There are reports of up to 25 percent of women in their reproductive years having fibroids, but in reality, there are far more whose symptoms are undetectable or haven’t been reported.
Fibroids can cause issues such as painful, heavy periods or fertility issues. They are seen as being fed by an excess of strong oestrogen. We see them as relating to a much more complex array of emotional and lifestyle influences that can be shifted to support the presentation of this often debilitating symptomology.
“I don't care if they take time off. I just don’t want to know about it.”
I asked a friend's husband if women should get time off for period pain. He’s a senior something or other at Deloitte, flies around a lot, works too many hours and manages lots of people. I expected Dave (we’ll call him Dave) to be as opposed to the concept of menstrual leave as all the other people I’d spoken to - the midwives, doctors, lawyers, mortgage brokers… the proffesional friends in my life, who don’t get the benefit of ‘free-range’ hours, and couldn’t just take a day off without a valid excuse.