PMS – Part 2
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on May 20, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Yesterday we took a look at PMS and its association with excess estrogen, which creates an ‘estrogen dominant’ state, relative to progesterone. Excess, unopposed estrogen, by way of the complex symphony of hormone feedback loops involved in a woman’s menstrual cycle, causes the many and varied symptoms of PMS.
To help rebalance your estrogen-progesterone levels, the first step, as mentioned yesterday, is to maintain a healthy liver. This ensures the proper metabolism of estrogen so that it is excreted from the system and does not build up or get reabsorbed. Keeping the intestinal bacteria healthy (adequate numbers and types) is also important in this regard.
Liver supportive herbs including Dandelion root, Artichoke, Milk Thistle, Blessed Thistle, Fringetree, Oregon Grape, and Burdock are excellent choices to help keep your liver healthy.
For hormonal balancing, the key herb we use with estrogen-dominant PMS, is Vitex (Chaste Tree berry). Vitex specifically supports progesterone production, the primary counterbalance for estrogen. Vitex is thought to exert its action upon the pituitary directly, to influence progesterone production in the ovaries.
Wild Yam, though often touted as a source of natural progesterone, is actually not; it does, however, still provide a beneficial ‘progesterone-like’ effect. (How it accomplishes this is not clearly understood.) Wild Yam also provides antispasmodic properties which can be very helpful for cramping, as is Cramp Bark or Black Haw (both are species of Viburnum).
Angelica (Dong Quai), introduced to the west from the Orient, provides blood-nourishing properties and is considered to ‘move blood.’ For the latter reason, Dong Quai is generally not recommended if one has excessive bleeding, such as with fibroids.
FemCycle Gold™ from Natural Wellbeing is a superb combination of the above hormonal-balancing herbs to help relieve estrogen-dominant PMS, along with additional herbs that support the liver and nourish the body.
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan