I have always had very heavy and often difficult menstrual cycles. I originally thought that was just the way it was and that there was nothing I could do about it. I thought that everyone went through the same thing I did every month until I spoke to several of my friends. What they described to me was completely different than anything I had ever experienced. One friend told me her cycle lasted 3 days. I could have cried.
My cycle has been 7 to 10 days for the last 20+ years, often with it being so heavy that I dont want to leave the house. Doubling up on protection with Super absorbent maxi pads and Super Plus tampons at the same time and still having accidents. I had a very hard time after the birth of my daughter and then again after I miscarried because I what I thought was just heavy bleeding was really a uterine hemorrhage. When I spoke to my doctor about it the answer from her was to go on birth control. This was never really an option for me because I suffer from Migraines and birth control makes it worse for me. It wasnt until my husband and I started researching alternatives that I realised how many different herbs would help my situation.
I started out taking Maca root after miscarrying to help heal my reproductive system with hopes it would help. It helped to some degree with my cramps but the duration and severity of my period never changed. I stopped taking the Maca after a few weeks because it increased my libido drastically (I do mean drastically in a Hot Hot Hot way) and also increased my breast size. I don’ t need to get any more boobs.
So instead I started taking Cramp Bark to help with my cramps. It was very effective in eliminating the pain but had no effect on my flow. My husband was the one who found Shepherd’s Purse for me online. I was so skeptical about it because I had not had success with other herbs for relieving problems with my flow. Boy was I wrong. It was very effective even after just one dose, it diminished my cycle down to 5 days of really light bleeding. I was so happy but still a little skeptical until I tried it for the second month. I cannot tell you how much it has changed my life. No more not wanting to leave the house for fear of accidents.
Below you can read more about several herbs that are helpful for women before and during their menstrual cycle. I prefer to buy my herbs and tinctures from Mountain Rose Herbs because they are certified organic.
Herbs to Reduce Excessive Menstruation
Shepherd’s purse: Shepherd’s purse is used to stop heavy bleeding and hemorrhaging, particularly from the uterus when taken internally. It has also been used to treat postpartum hemorrhage. It is considered most effective for the treatment of chronic uterine bleeding disorders, including uterine bleeding due to the presence of uterine fibroids. Shepherd’s purse has been used internally to treat cases of blood in the urine and bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, such as with bleeding ulcers. An astringent agent, shepherd’s purse constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow. Shepherd’s purse is also thought to cause the uterine muscle to contract, which also helps reduce bleeding. It is a remedy for blood pressure problems, nosebleeds, irregular heartbeat, wounds and burns.
Cautions: Pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with kidney stones or kidney disease should avoid Shepherd’s purse. Consult with your doctor before taking Shepherd’s purse if you have blood pressure, thyroid gland, or heart problems.
Vitex (Chasteberry) – regulates and normalizes hormones connected to the reproductive system. It is especially beneficial and the herb of choice for many women to relieve menopausal changes. It has a profound action in lessening ‘hot flashes.’ Studies verify that vitex increases the production of lutenizing hormones, enhancing the progesterone cycle. At the same time it inhibits the release of the follicle-stimulating hormone, FSH, and normalizes the estrogen cycle. Vitex may be used for acute situations but it is most effective if taken over a prolonged period of time. No side effects have ever been reported from extensive and extended use of this plant.
Red raspberry: Due to the drying effect of the tannins it contains, Red raspberry is used to treat profuse and painful menstruation. It relaxes uterine and intestinal spasms and strengthens uterine walls. Red Raspberry leaves are nutritious too – containing vitamins A, B, C, and E – they’re also rich in calcium, phosphorus, niacin and iron. They are an excellent source of manganese, a trace mineral used by the body to produce healthy connective tissue, such as bone matrix and cartilage and an important factor in energy metabolism. Red Raspberry promotes healthy nails, bones, teeth and skin. Drinking 1-2 cups of red raspberry leaf every day is a nutritious tonic tea.
Lady’s mantle: Lady’s Mantle’s astringent and styptic properties help reduce period pains and lessen heavy menstrual bleeding. It helps a woman’s body adjust to changing hormone levels during menopause. It is an anti-estrogenic herb that helps regulate irregular cycles, relieves cramps.
Yarrow: A catalyst for the female reproductive system, it has a positive effect on ovarian problems, menstrual irregularity, menstrual cramps, and menopausal symptoms, insomnia, nervous tension, stress related conditions;. It is used to reduce excessive menstrual bleeding, to ease menstrual cramps and to stimulate delayed or absent menstrual cycles. Famous German herbalist Maria Treban writes: “Yarrow is a medicinal herb that would be difficult to be without; it is of great value for many illnesses but first and foremost, it is a herb for women. I cannot recommend Yarrow enough for women.
Herbs to Reduce Cramps
Note: none of these herbs should be used during pregnancy, unless directed to do so under the care of a qualified health care practitioner skilled in the use of herbal remedies.
Cramp Bark & Black Haw: These are probably the most effective herbs for reducing uterine spasm and cramping. These sister herbs bring relief of pain and muscle spasm in the uterus. Cramp bark and Black haw have been shown safe for use for several days prior to onset on menses in anticipation and prevention of painful cramps. I can attest to these plants wonderful pain relieving action. There is also no risk of liver damage from this herb like there are with NSAID use.
Black Cohosh: This plant is very anti-inflammatory and wonderful at reducing spasms in both the smooth muscles, but also the skeletal muscles associated with pain that radiates to the lower back and down the thighs.
Wild Yam: Wild Yam has a wonderful action on smooth muscle tissue, reducing muscle spasm of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, aiding in painful menstruation and chronic pelvic pain. Wild Yam helps the uterus to work more efficiently during menses. This uterine support allows for proper function of the uterus while working to prevent uterine cramping or spasm. This herb has a wonderful action on the ovaries, toning them and aiding in ovarian cyst pain.
Chamomile: This sweet little flower is both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It is also helpful for women with digestive constipation contributing to pain. Because this herb is also a nervine and mild sedative it may help to reduce stress, relax the nervous system and induce a restful state in the body. This can be very useful when experiencing menstrual cramping accompanied by anxiety and irritability. Chamomile is best sipped as a tea during menstruation.
Motherwort: Very effective at reducing uterine muscle spasm, cramping and improving uterine tone. It is also a wonderful mild sedative, aids in insomnia, headache and dizziness. It is a specific remedy for heart palpitations, stress and anxiety associated with pelvic pain
SHEPHERD’S PURSE / YARROW TEA
- 2 parts nettle,
- 1 part shepherd’s purse leaf/flower,
- 1/4 yarrow leaf/flower.
Taking one fourth of a teaspoonful herbal tincture made of equal amounts of the herbs – shepherd’s purse and yarrow, three times a day when the menstrual cycle occurs can help in dealing with menorrhagia. These two herbs can be purchased at an herbal store in the form of a shepherd’s purse or yarrow herbal tinctures; the alternate option is to prepare your own combination herbal formula by carefully following the tincture instructions.
Use four to six tablespoons of herbs per quart of water. Place herbs in quart jar and cover with boiling water. Cover tightly and allow to infuse for at least twenty minutes (though the longer the better). Strain.
FLOOD GATES – TEA
- 2 parts shepherd’s purse leaf,
- 1 part nettle leaf,
- 1 part yarrow flowers/leaf,
- 2 parts white oak bark.
Drinking three cups of herbal Flood Gates – Tea on a daily basis one week before the menstrual period can also help in dealing with excessive flows.
Use four to six tablespoons of herb mixture per quart of water. Place herbs in cold water and slowly heat to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for twenty minutes. Strain.