The average menstrual period lasts four to seven days; periods that last longer or that are excessively heavy are classified as menorrhagia. Menorrhagia can have many causes, from fibroids to endometriosis to ovarian dysfunction. Although clinical studies have not proven most of the claims made for these herbs, most have a long history of traditional use by alternative practitioners. See your medical practitioner if you’re having prolonged periods before taking herbs, since there may be a medical cause that requires treatment.
The common household spice cinnamon has a history of use as an herbal supplement for menstrual problems in traditional Chinese medicine. To treat prolonged menstrual bleeding, take cinnamon tincture or tea; you can also take these in the second half of the menstrual cycle as a preventive for heavy bleeding. Do not take cinnamon oil, use just the bark, the Association of Women for the Advancement of Research and Education warns. Ask your doctor if supplementation with cinnamon would be beneficial for your condition.
Vitex, also known as chasteberry, may also help relieve prolonged menstrual bleeding. Proponents of the herb claim that it normalizes pituitary gland functions and improves progesterone functioning. Vitex acts slowly; you may need to take this herb for several months before noting any effects, according to HealthWise.com. Take vitex as a tincture or in an infusion. Talk to your doctor before using herbal remedies to treat any medical condition.
Take shepherd’s purse, considered to be an astringent, as a tincture mixed with yarrow starting a week before your period starts. Continue taking it if you’re having heavy bleeding. Astringents can help slow heavy bleeding by directing blood away from the pelvis, according to MotherNature.com. Check with your doctor before taking any herb to address prolonged menstrual bleeding.
Lady’s mantle also acts as an astringent and stops both external and internal bleeding, including excessive menstrual bleeding. Lady’s mantle is also thought to regulate menstrual cycles, relieve menstrual cramping and help heal fibroids and endometriosis, two causes of heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding. You can make an infusion from lady's mantle and drink it like tea or use it as a tincture. Consult your doctor before trying to treat or cure your condition with lady's mantle.
Other herbs known as astringents may also have benefits in stopping prolonged menstrual flow, according to HealthWise, including cranesbill, periwinkle and witch hazel. Check with your doctor before using any sort of supplement, though, to ensure safe and proper usage.
- Medical Herbalism; Female: The Use of Botanical Medicines to Treat Menstrual Irregularities; Jill Stansbury; October 1997
- MotherNature.com: Heavy Periods
- Alternatives from Nature: Cinnamon
- Association of Women for the Advancement of Research and Education: Remedies for Menopausal Symptoms
- Herbs2000: Lady's Mantle