Menstruation is the term for the discharge from the uterus of blood and other materials essential for pregnancy when fertilization has not occurred. Cramps, nervous tension, backache, water retention, menorrhagia (excessive or profuse flow), amenorrhea (suppressed or stopped flow) or dysmenorrhea (painful flow) are common menstrual difficulties.

Recommended Action

Emmenagogue herbs stimulate and promote normal menstrual function and flow. If congestion from a recent cold is the cause of amenorrhea or dysmenorrhea, a good diaphoretic may be all that is necessary to relieve the problem. Tonics should be used in addition to stimulating diaphoretics if systemic or specific (organ) weakness is the cause. Avoid the use of purgative and strong cathartic laxatives.

Diet can also be a major cause of menstrual difficulties and can therefore correct some problems. The diet should include whole grains, nuts and seeds (especially sprouted), fresh fruits and vegetables, almonds, buckwheat, millet, oats, sesame and sunflower seeds (rich in Vitamin E and B complex), blackstrap molasses, grapes, and red beets (rich in iron). Yogurt, miso, sauerkraut and other fermented foods, which contain Vitamin B12, help to restore the normal menstrual function. Thyroid deficiency may be indicated by irregular or profuse menstruation (see Thyroid). Lack of calcium and magnesium is also a common major cause of cramps.

Single Herbs: Dong Quai, Vitex, Ginger, White Oak Bark, Yarrow (orally or as a douche, for menorrhagia); Goldenseal, Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Chamomile, St. John’s Wort (amenorrhea); Ginger, Pennyroyal, Squaw Vine (dysmenorrhea).

Nutritional Supplements: B complex, Vitamin B6 (50-250 mg), Vitamin C (500-3000 mg daily), Multiminerals, Calcium (500 mg daily), Magnesium (250 mg daily), Mag. Phos. 6X tissue salt.