As a woman, there are several problems that we may need to contend with at some point in our lives. Thankfully, there is no need to rely on traditional medicine such as the Pill or HRT to deal with them. There are several herbs that can be of great benefit to women’s health (also see herbal medicine). Some of the best are below:
Bupleurum is the most commonly used herb in Chinese medicine and it is anti-viral, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory. It is also capable of relieving pain, has a slight tranquiliser effect and is good for normalizing bowel function. For these reasons, it is very effective for pre-menstrual tension.
Black cohosh is an herb with many uses. It is a muscle and nerve relaxant, and it is also a phytoestrogen, meaning that it has mild oestrogen-like properties. Black cohosh is also anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, a diuretic (helps flush excess water), emmenagogic (promotes the flow of menstrual blood), and a vasodilator (widens the blood vessels). This herb can soothe irritated or congested uterine, cervical, or vaginal tissues and can also relieve hot flushes, headaches, and swelling.
Dong quai is an herb that contains vitamin E, and as some of its many benefits, it purifies the blood, is an anti-coagulant, an anti-spasmodic, a blood tonic, an emmenagogue (promotes menstrual blood flow), a muscle relaxant and a nervine. This herb helps to regulate the menstrual cycle, build the blood, ease cramping and soothe the emotional feelings that may be felt over a period. During menopause, dong quai can be used to relieve hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and help with insomnia.
The raspberry leaf is regarded as a universal herb for women. It can help to relieve menstrual cramps, reduce cravings, and curb excessive bleeding. It has also been used to increase fertility and, when used during pregnancy, it can help to relieve morning sickness, prevent spotting, and improve the quality of the blood. When used by menopausal women, raspberry leaf can help to promote a healthy uterine tone and minimize hot flushes.
The vitex berry is also known as the chaste tree berry and it stimulates the pituitary gland, the master gland that regulates the production of sex hormones and the regulator of the progesterone levels. Vitex is an herb of choice when it comes to regulating menstrual cycles, such as if a woman bleeds too much or bleeds too often. It can also help with spotting and the absence of blood, as well as helping to establish regular cycles after a woman goes off birth control pills. Vitex is also used for premenstrual tension, premenstrual acne, breast tenderness, constipation, fluid retention, headaches and insomnia. It can even help with cravings, anxiety, depression, and irritability. Finally, vitex can improve the production of milk in nursing mothers.
Saw palmetto is an antiseptic for the urinary tract and will help to tone the bladder. This herb is particularly useful when it comes to dealing with urinary or bladder problems as it helps to promotes strong contractions of the bladder, ensuring that the bladder is fully emptied. Saw palmetto is able to nourish and tonify the entire female reproductive system and due to its tissue building effects, it is able to rebuild, moisturize and plump up dry or atrophied areas in the ovaries, bladder, vagina or breast.
Red clover can be used by menopausal women to help reduce the frequency of night sweats and hot flushes. It is also a great fertility enhancing herb and is great for regulating the menstrual cycle. Red clover is also able to be safely used by pregnant women and nursing mothers and it deeply nourishes as well as replenishing minerals that are lost through pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Motherwort is a great herb for premenstrual tension as it soothes and strengthens the whole nervous system. It helps to restore emotional balance as well as soothe irritability. It also a great tonic for the uterus and the reproductive organs and is also good for relieving menstrual cramping. For the menopausal woman, motherwort can balance hormones, improve mood swings, reduce hot flushes, and ease depression and heart palpitations.
Ginseng is an energizing, rejuvenating, immuno-protective and adaptogenic herb that is of particular help to women. It nourishes and rejuvenates the functioning of the hormones and as such can help to relieve premenstrual and menopausal problems. Ginseng also relieves anxiety and depression and strengthens the adrenal system, as well as increasing energy, stamina and vitality, and reducing fatigue.
Chamomile is a versatile herb that is soothing to the nerves, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-bacterial, a sedative, and a pain reliever. It helps to soothe the stomach and relieve nausea, and is very helpful for dealing with uterine cramping or congestion. It is also well known for its ability to promote menstrual blood flow.