Sipping on certain herbal teas can help ease uncomfortable symptoms during menstruation and premenstrual syndrome. Some herbal teas counteract heavy bleeding, irregular periods and amenorrhea. To use tea as a natural remedy, examine your symptoms carefully and identify herbs that will help achieve your therapeutic goal. It may help to consult with a naturopathic doctor or herbalist. If you're taking medications, consult with your primary care provider before taking herbal teas. Virtually any herb you purchase can be made into tea by steeping it in water at boiling point and straining it, and you can sweeten it with honey or other sweeteners.
Teas for Cramping
According to a study published in "The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association" in 2007, dong quai is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat an array of gynecological conditions. It has a muscle-calming and smoothing effect that reduces cramping and spasms in the uterus. Life root, also called ragwort, is also known to remedy menstrual cramps. Black haw is an herb that relaxes the uterus and has been historically used to treat menstrual cramps, as well as lower back and pelvic pain associated with menstruating.
Teas for Heavy Bleeding
According to the same study published in "The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association," herbs that contain a compound called tannin regulate reproductive bleeding and reduce blood loss. The study reports an herb called shepherd’s purse as the most effective. Herbs that tone the uterus also reduce heavy bleeding. The study lists a Chinese herb called xiao yao san, also called rambling powder, as well as dong quai and life root. Finally, balancing reproductive hormones also plays a vital role in treating heavy bleeding. The study recommends chaste tree to achieve this therapeutic effect. It balances the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio, which helps mellow out a heavy flow.
Teas for Premenstrual Syndrome
Premenstrual syndrome, commonly called PMS, is a common condition in menstruating women characterized by uncomfortable symptoms to varying degrees. Some women take medication for PMS, but herbal teas are a therapeutic approach that have fewer side effects. Ginkgo biloba is one herb scientists have found to lower the severity of PMS symptoms. Dong quai, besides aiding in symptoms during your menses and regulating your cycle, can also reduce PMS symptoms. A study published in 2010 in "CNS Drugs" found that taking the herb St. John's wort daily effectively reduces the severity of both physical and behavioral symptoms of PMS.
Teas for Amenorrhea
The typical menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but some women have irregular menses or none at all, which is a condition called amenorrhea. Dong quai tea has been used traditionally to treat irregular and absent periods. Its active ingredient called coumarin is a muscle relaxant, which is why it can stimulate menstrual flow. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, chaste tree tea may reduce your levels of the hormone prolactin produced by the pituitary gland and thereby help regulate your menstrual cycle. However, chaste tree must be consumed for at least around 6 months for it to take effect. Lady's mantle is an herb that may stimulate menstrual flow if your menses occur far apart or not at all (5).
- The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association: Menorrhagia: A Synopsis of Management Focusing on Herbal and Nutritional Supplements, and Chiropractic
- CNS Drugs: The Efficacy of Hypericum Perforatum (St John's Wort) for the Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial
- Whole Health Chicago: Dong Quai (Angelica)
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Ginkgo Biloba L. in Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Amenorrhea
- Herbal ED: Menstrual Cramps: An Herbal Approach