Among the many hurdles of womanhood is the change in hormones you might experience during PMS (and, if you become a parent, during pregnancy as well). During PMS, that period before menstruation when your emotions often shift, your estrogen levels plummet. As a result, many women experience changes in mood, tiredness, food cravings, soreness, and other frustrating symptoms.
Some women take over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen during PMS, but there are also plenty of appealing natural options. Below are five star herbs that can help balance your hormones and reduce your symptoms.
Vitex, also known as chasteberry or chaste tree, comes from a berry-covered shrub originally found in China, Greece, and Italy. Research has found that vitex can play a powerful role in balancing hormones.
Vitex can be of great help during menopause as it can ease mood swings, weight changes, and fatigue. It is believed that vitex also helps protect against the brain fog that sometimes accompanies PMS. For the best possible results from vitex, expect to take it long term. It can take 4-6 months for its full benefits to take effect.
2. Black Cohosh
This herb comes from the roots and underground stems of the black cohosh plant, which grows in North America. Over the years, the plant has also been called rattleweed, bugbane, and black snakeroot. It’s usually offered as a capsule, tablet, or extract. Many women turn to black cohosh during menopause as an alternative relief for PMS symptoms. Black cohosh is an excellent option for easing anxiety, sleep issues, headaches, and mood swings.
3. Red Clover
Red clover is a flower plant that originally grew in Western Asia, Europe, and northwest Africa. (Today, it grows in many other corners of the world as well.) It’s a member of the legume family, and its red flowering tops are used for their powerful medicinal purposes.
Experts believe that the red clovers benefits are due to a substance within it called isoflavones, which change to phytoestrogens in the body and are similar to estrogen. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that many women rely on red clover when their estrogen dips during PMS. It’s a good aid for breast pain caused by PMS, as well as mood swings. Red clover is also used as a flavoring agent in foods.
4. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort grows in many parts of the world, and the plant has yellow flowers. St. John’s wort is thought to help balance the hormones. This can help ease menstrual symptoms like sudden changes in mood. The herb can also help to ease the symptoms of hypothyroidism by assisting the body in increasing the amount of hormones it releases.
St. John’s Wort can also help to ease depression and calm anxiety, either on their own or as symptoms associated with PMS. Doctors believe this may be due to an ingredient in St. John’s wort called hyperforin. That said, the herb does have serious interactions with some medications, so make sure you double check with a medical professional before ingesting it.
This powerful shrub grows in India, The Middle East, and Africa. It’s a major component of Ayurveda and has been in use for thousands of years. It may help to increase thyroid hormone levels in your system, and may also help ease anxiety and depression—all of which pack a powerful punch when you’re in the PMS phase of your cycle. Ashwagandha is also thought to help reduce the amount of cortisol (the “stress hormone”) in the system, which can certainly soar during the more anxiety-producing moments of your cycle.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties and studies have even shown that it may be able to help fight cancer! Traditionally, ashwagandha is enjoyed as a powdered mixed in honey or ghee (clarified butter.) You can also ingest it in powder or capsule form.
You’re on the way to more balanced hormones.
Women have endured PMS for centuries, but the herbal wisdom they’ve picked up along the way can help serve you in the present. As frustrating as PMS can be, you’re likely on the way to a better estrogen balance when you try these herbs for yourself. Remember to double check with a medical professional before starting on any of these herbs, as they could interact with certain medications and conditions. That said, keep an open mind and give these natural healers a try. Balanced hormones are right around the corner!
About the author
Vinay Amin is the founder of Eu Natural, a premium wellness brand that creates pure supplements formulated to empower your health. Seeing a need for natural remedies to an expanding list of health concerns, he put down his roots into the wellness industry. His passion for combining health, fitness, and nutrition leads his creative team, developing practical whole-body solutions.
Keen to buy natural products for your family?
Check out our growing list of conscious business partners that only sell toxin free products and services (we’ve double checked so you don’t have to worry about buying ‘fake natural’).