From relieving symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) to reducing heavy bleeding and regulating monthly cycles, nature has women's backs. It offers a wide array of herbs that have been used for centuries for feminine discomforts. The good news is that they're either already in your kitchen or nearby at local stores. Discover our top 7 herbs for menstruation and be on your way to healthy periods in no time!
Stinging nettle offers many benefits for women's health. Due to its high iron content as well as astringent and anticoagulant properties, nettle leaves help alleviate cramps and PMS symptoms. Women with heavy periods may benefit from drinking nettle tea as it may help reduce heavy blood flow, which depletes the body's iron stores and can contribute to iron deficiency. Nettle's diuretic properties may also help decrease swelling common with menstruation.
Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-nausea properties, all of which may bring relief to women on their periods. Studies have shown that ginger is effective for reducing menstrual pain, especially when consumed a few days before and then continued for the first few days after period onset.1 In fact, it's shown as effective for period cramps as ibuprofen and mefenamic acid.2 It can also help ease mood and behavioral PMS symptoms.
Another great option for women seeking herbs for mensuration is hibiscus. Popularly consumed as tea, it has a long-standing history of therapeutic uses. This beautiful, brightly red flower may also bring relief from heavy cramping as well as promote menstrual regularity. These benefits are mainly due to hibiscus' ability to affect estrogen levels that are essential for menstruation.
Native to the Mediterranean region and Asia, chasteberry is known for its beneficial effects on menstrual health, mostly thanks to its impact on balancing hormones and lowering inflammation. Several studies have shown that chasteberry may be helpful for alleviating symptoms of PMS, including migraines, breast tenderness, mood swings, and irritability.3 It can also be effective for women with irregular menstrual cycles.
Rich in hormone-balancing phytoestrogens, aguaje is another herb for periods worth considering. This South American fruit of the moriche palm is also a great source of carotenoids and essential fatty acids, among others. Although it is still relatively unknown to the Western world, quite a few studies with aguaje have already been conducted on its medicinal properties, including the benefits of using aguaje to alleviate menstrual discomforts.4
Raspberry leaves have been traditionally used for feminine discomforts for thousands of years, although scientific studies proving these benefits are lacking. Nevertheless, raspberry leaf tea is commonly considered a uterine tonic, capable of promoting hormonal balance and relieving various monthly ailments, like cramping and nausea. These benefits are believed to be due to raspberry's content of phytoestrogens, tannins, and fragarine.
Native to the Peruvian Andes, maca root is famous for being an effective and natural hormone balancer. These effects are mostly credited to maca's unique alkaloids and other beneficial compounds. Working gently on the endocrine system to ease hormonal fluctuations, maca may help alleviate irregular periods as well as PMS symptoms, including those that relate to mood, energy, and sleep.
While research backs up many of the traditional uses of these herbs for periods, it's always a good idea to consult a doctor or a licensed herbalist before starting any herbal regimens, especially during pregnancy and lactation. In the case of menstrual abnormalities, a thorough doctor's check-up is also recommended as they may be indicative of other health conditions and may require a more tailored treatment plan.
- Heliyon, Nutritional and pharmacological important of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.): A Review, 2022
- Huntington College of Health Sciences, Maca, 2000
- ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology, Effect of Treatment with Ginger on the Severity of Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms, 2014
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Chasteberry, 2023
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea, 2009
- BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. (2012). Effect of Zingiber officinale R. rhizomes (ginger) on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea: a placebo randomized trial. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22781186/
- Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. (2018). Effect of Ginger and Novafen on menstrual pain: A cross-over trial. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1028455918302304
- BMJ. (2001). Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised, placebo-controlled study. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11159568/
- Functional Foods in Health and Disease. (2020). Moriche Palm (Aguaje) Extract improves indefinite complaints in Japanese females: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://ffhdj.com/index.php/ffhd/article/view/742