PMS, short for premenstrual syndrome, affects many women before they menstruate, for up to two weeks before. PMS comes with a number of physical and emotional symptoms that often negatively affect a woman’s quality of life. The physical symptoms include gaining water weight, digestive problems and trouble sleeping. Emotionally, women can experience anger, anxiety and changing moods, writes Anne McIntyre in "The Complete Woman's Herbal." Herbal tea may be able to relieve some of the symptoms of PMS, although a doctor should be consulted.
A number of herbal teas might relieve symptoms of PMS, according to Victoria Zak in "20,000 Secrets of Tea." The ones of note include dong quai tea, “cramp bark” or guelder rose, feverfew, chaste berry, skullcap and hops. These teas may alleviate various symptoms of PMS, including emotional and physical ones.
Teas for Physical Symptoms
Chaste berry and skullcap teas can balance hormones and relieve other physical symptoms, such as tension. They work well in a tea together. Feverfew eases headache pain and can start your menstruation flow if it needs a little assistance. Aptly nicknamed “cramp bark,” guelder rose is used to relieve premenstrual cramps. This tea eases pain, water retention and pressure in the body. Hops, which are known for their role in beer, ease physical symptoms by helping a woman sleep and reducing retained fluid in her body, according to Zak. These herbs can be purchased and steeped in boiling water to make tea, or they may be found in store-bought tea varieties.
Teas for Emotional Symptoms
Some of the teas that help physical symptoms can also alleviate emotional symptoms by regulating hormones and helping the woman sleep better, for instance. Specifically related to emotional symptoms, dong quai tea can brighten a down mood. It includes minerals zinc and calcium in its makeup, which help relieve depression. Hops may alleviate emotional symptoms such as anxiety and nervousness, according to Zak. These teas can also be used by steeping the herbs in water or buying them in stores.
Although herbal teas can be beneficial for PMS, tea with caffeine can actually aggravate symptoms and cause premenstrual syndrome, so they should be avoided during this time. The caffeine can unbalance hormones, increase the chances a woman will have PMS and can cause iron and zinc to not be properly absorbed, according to McIntyre. It is best to choose herbal teas with no caffeine at this time.
Although tea may relieve PMS symptoms, a doctor should be consulted before using them. Herbal treatments are not regulated by the FDA, and side effects and the makeup of these teas may be unknown. MedlinePlus warns that many herbal treatments may affect other medications and that herbs can have side effects, just as many medications do. A doctor should be included in the decision to take herbal medicinal treatments and should be made aware of the entire scope of medicines and herbs on a person's treatment plan.
- Anne McIntyre; "The Complete Woman's Herbal"; 1994
- Victoria Zak; "20,000 Secrets of Tea"; 1999.
- MedlinePlus: Feverfew