(NaturalNews) Do you feel anxious, tenderness in the breasts, irritable and moody when your period approaches every month? Are you bothered by stomach bloating during that time? If you do, you are among an estimated 1 to 2 out of every 4 menstruating women who have to endure some degree of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), with about a third of them suffering severe symptoms. It is widely believed that the symptoms of PMS are caused by hormonal changes that take place when the time of the month comes around. Here are three excellent herbal remedies which can be used to provide much needed relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of PMS.
James Duke, PhD, highly recommended the use of evening primrose oil for dealing with the various uncomfortable symptoms of PMS. Based on his knowledge of this oil, he would recommend any woman to give it a try.
In fact, American Indian women have for hundreds of years been chewing the seeds of evening primrose to help relieve premenstrual and menstrual issues. And, in Great Britain, evening primrose oil is actually an approved treatment for PMS. According to Duke, there are British studies which proved the safety and effectiveness of evening primrose oil.
Being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, evening primrose oil can help to reduce breast tenderness plus mood swings and fluid retention.
Other than taking evening primrose oil supplements, another way to consume this remedy is to harvest evening primrose seeds yourself during the winter.
Chinese angelica, also known as dang quai or dong quai, is often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help treat PMS and menstrual cramps.
Angelica is widely regarded as a "female" remedy and is, along with ginseng, one of the most well-known herbs in Asia. Other than being used to treat PMS symptoms, it has also been used as a remedy for menopausal symptoms (in particular hot flashes) as well as painful, abnormal or absent menstruation. Studies suggest angelica has phyto-estrogenic properties and this herbal remedy is especially helpful for women who suffer from both PMS symptoms and painful menstruation.
Angelica can be consumed in the form of fluid extracts, tinctures, powdered root or teas.
A point to note - as some sources state that this herb should not be consumed during pregnancy, it would be advisable for pregnant women to consult a qualified health practitioner before taking this remedy.
Research has revealed how this fruit could alleviate PMS symptoms - it helps to balance female sex hormones produced during a woman's monthly cycle, boosting levels of luteinizing hormone while blocking the release of follicle-stimulating hormone. This in turn affects the estrogen-progesterone ratio, the result being lower levels of estrogen; this helps because high estrogen levels could cause or worsen PMS.
According to Duke, at least one chasteberry product is approved for use in Germany for treating PMS, menstrual issues and breast tenderness.
Duke also suggested that women with PMS who also suffer from significant depression should avoid this herbal remedy, as there is research linking excess progesterone with cases of PMS with depression, and chasteberry could worsen the situation as it increases progesterone levels.
Chasteberry can be taken as the herb itself or in tincture form.
Other herbal remedies
Other helpful herbs for PMS include sage, which can be used for headaches; St John's wort, which can help relieve depression and irritability; cleavers, to reduce breast tenderness; and dandelion leaf, to get rid of bloating.
A registered herbalist shares some herbal remedies for PMS relief here.
Sources for this article include:
Gottlieb, Bill. Alternative Cures: The Most Effective Natural Home Remedies for 160 Health Problems. Rodale, 2000. Print.
Duke, James A., PhD. The Green Pharmacy. New York, NY: Rodale, 1997. Print.
Murray, Michael, ND, and Pizzorno, Joseph, ND. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Print.
About the author: Reuben Chow has a keen interest in natural health and healing as well as personal growth.