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Many women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) a week or two before their menstrual cycle begins. PMS is characterized by symptoms of a physical and emotional nature that can range from mild to severe. Herbal remedies for PMS exist that can help alleviate symptoms. These include chase tree berry, evening primrose oil, wild yam, Chinese angelica, cramp bark and several types of herbal teas.
Some women experience minor symptoms of PMS while others experience severe physical and emotional side effects such as cramps, headaches, weight gain, depression, anxiety and fatigue. Seeking relief, some women have turned to herbal remedies for PMS such as the chase tree berry, an anti-inflammatory herb that helps reduce pain. It also treats depression and headaches in women. Studies have shown that the herb is most effective when taken over three menstrual cycles. Side effects of the herb include acne, rashes, nausea and digestive problems.
Evening primrose oil is also considered by herbalists as one of the more effective herbal remedies for PMS. It contains an omega-6 essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid that helps metabolize prostaglandins. These are hormone-like substances that regulate inflammation. Some women who have taken this herbal remedy report feeling less painful PMS symptoms.
The wild yam herb has been used for centuries as one of the herbal remedies for PMS that helps treat cramps, nausea and inflammation. It is one of the best sources of phytohormones, which bind to estrogen receptors in the body. Herbalists recommend taking the pill daily for a month to yield the most relief from PMS symptoms.
Some women take Chinese angelica as a preventative remedy for PMS. One side effect of the herb is that it can induce heavier blood flow. Women who normally have very heavy periods should avoid it because it may increase the loss of blood during menstruation.
To alleviate cramping, herbalists recommend taking cramp bark. This herb helps the muscles in the uterus relax, thereby reducing the occurrence of cramps. It also acts as a sedative that helps calm the body. There are no reported side effects of using this herb.
Teas such as nettle, dandelion root, and vervain can also be effective remedies against PMS symptoms. Nettle tea reduces water retention and menstrual bleeding. Vervain tea has a relaxing effect on the body that counteracts mood swings and relieves tension. Dandelion root tea contains iron, which helps fight off the onset of anemia that can be common during menstruation. Other herbal remedies for PMS include ginkgo, saw palmetto and St. John’s wort.
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