That time of the month. Aunt Flo. The monthly visitor.
A woman’s monthly period or menstruation certainly comes equipped with its own variety of catchy nicknames doesn’t it? It seems that the more personal a body part of body function is, the less likely we are to call it by its technical and correct name.
Menstruation also tends to show up with a pretty hefty amount of baggage for its average five-day visit. Actually, for most of us, it starts moving in several days prior to its official stay. Premenstrual syndrome is a very real problem for millions of women, with unpleasant symptoms ranging from headaches to bloating, irritability, and painful breasts.
By the time our periods actually start we are so sick of feeling crabby and crying at every sappy commercial on television that initially, many of us are delighted to see evidence that PMS has come to an end. But for a lot of women, this happiness is short-lived because a few hours later we may be doubled over with cramps, dealing with a heavy blood flow, washing blood out of our undies, and maybe still contending with a headache.
Goodness—just reading through these first few paragraphs makes me want to find a friend who has her period and take her out to lunch. We women are a pretty amazing bunch, dealing with all that menstruation has to throw at us.
Depending on your age, when you first started your period around the age of 12 or 13 or so, any complaints about symptoms probably resulted in your Mom handing you a box of Pamprin. With its combination of diuretics and pain relievers these little tablets can bring about blessed relief. Pamprin is still on the market today and lots of women use it or just plain ibuprofen to try to feel better when they have their periods.
Since PMS and cramps are due in part to fluctuating hormones that accompany the menstrual cycle, what we probably should be concentrating on instead is finding ways to bring back balance to our bodies and our hormones. In other words, treat the cause of the problem at the source in a proactive way, rather than play zone defense against the painful symptoms with Pamprin pills. Many herbs and other natural remedies may be very useful for just this thing.
For example, red raspberry has been found to help with female issues related to menstruation. It can help strengthen the walls of the uterus as well as the rest of the female reproductive system. It may also help lessen a heavy menstrual flow. Blessed thistle is another herb that can help keep our hormones in balance.
Lobelia has natural properties that act as relaxants, and it tends to get to work really quickly in our bodies to reduce muscle spasms. In other words, if cramps is your name, lobelia is your game. Women have had luck either massaging in some lobelia oil on the outside of their bodies or you can also try putting a few drops of the oil onto your tongue. Ginger is another herb that may help alleviate cramps.
If you have issues with a heavy blood flow, cayenne can be helpful. Also known as capsicum, it can regulate the blood flow.
Chlorophyll is another herb that can be useful and helpful during menstruation. Did you know that women tend to lose a pretty large amount of calcium in the menstrual blood? Chlorophyll apparently helps control how much calcium is lost.
In the second part of this article, we will look at other herbs and natural supplements that may help with menstrual issues. Stay tuned!