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The Naturopath
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Herbs that can make life easier for you....


Nothing in this article is intended as medical advice. It is for educational and informative purposes only. This is not a substitute for individualized care. As always, in the event of a suspected illness or injury, consult your Health Care Provider.

Hundreds of thousands of women suffer each year from discomfort and problems associated with menstruation. Herbal and nutritional therapies have been used successfully and safely for thousands of years. PMS, headaches, menopause, and many other problems can respond quite favorably to naturopathic treatments.

A good herbal program should be around 4 weeks long, beginning with the end of the menstrual cycle. Herbal therapy for general female health should be divided into 2 Phases of 2 weeks each. It can be rotated with other therapies such as Shiatsu, Reflexology, etc…, in order to work with the body's natural rhythms. By using naturopathic remedies in specific cycles, the body is more responsive, especially for women with sensitive systems, such as fluctuating hormones and irregular menstruation cycles.

Phase One consists of weeks 1 and 2, starting with the end of the menstrual cycle. In this phase, your body is in a transitional state between menstruation and ovulation. Your hormonal balance is changing from predominantly progesterone, to predominantly estrogen. You want to tone your body by nourishing the blood and regulating your hormones. The 2 best herbs (in my opinion) for this are Dong Quai (Angelica sinesis) root, a Chinese Medicine herb that functions as a blood tonic and estrogen regulator, and Red Raspberry (Rubicus idaeus) leaf, an equivalent herb in Western Herbalism that has similar effects. The reason I recommend using both of these together is that in Chinese Medicine, Dong Quai is a 'warming' herb (warm, cool, wet and dry are principles of Chinese Medicine too involved to explain here. I will address them in future articles), and Red Raspberry is a 'cooling' herb. They offset each other, making them 'neutral' and can be used long-term for a variety of menstrual problems.

At Phase Two, consisting of weeks 3 and 4, your body is once again in a transitional state, this time in reverse. You hormone balance is shifting from predominantly estrogen to predominantly progesterone in preparation for the possible implantation in the uterus of a fertilized egg. During this time, the liver is at its maximum stress, trying to maintain the balance between 'favorable' estrogen, and 'unfavorable' estrogen and progesterone. Frequently, the liver becomes temporarily congested, causing wide fluctuations in hormone levels and balance. This is the cause of PMS. Although Western medicine has only recently begun to recognize this as the cause, the Chinese have been diagnosing and successfully treating PMS as a result of liver dysfunction for over 2000 years!

Obviously, in this Phase, cleaning the liver will be a major concern. Our 2 chief herbs for this will be the Chinese herb Bulpleurum, and the Western herb Dandelion. Both are very effective at clearing congestion from the liver. The nutritional supplements Choline, Inositol and Methionine (also called Lypotrophic factors) are very effective at stabilizing liver function.

A general program for optimal health might look like this:

For General Female Health:

Phase One: Week 1-Dong Quai Root and Red Raspberry leaf combination, as a tea, capsule or extract. Three times a day.

Phase One: Week 2-the same as week 1.

Phase Two: Week 3-Astragulus, Ginseng, Bulpleurum or Dandelion combination, as a tea, extract or capsule. Three times a day.

Phase Two: Week 4-Echinacea, Goldenseal and Dandelion combination, as a tea, extract or capsule. Three times a day.

For Women With A Propensity For PMS

Phase One: Week 1-Same as for General Health.

Phase One: Week 2-Repeat Week 1 until the onset of ovulation, then continue to Week 3.

Phase Two: Week 3-Take vitamin B6 and Magnesium supplements 2-3 times a day to reduce PMS symptoms and cramping. Take Choline, Inositol and Methionine 2-3 times a day to stabilize and cleanse the liver and maintain full function.

Phase Two: Week 4-Repeat Week 3 until menstruation begins.

If you have severe cramps that are not caused by fibroids, or other serious conditions, you can add Homeopathic Mag Phos 6X in Week 3 for relief. Take the recommended dosage every 2- 3 hours until the cramps subside, then 3 times a day for the next 3 days.

If you are anemic, for all 4 weeks, add Ginseng, Yellow Dock, Nettle and Alfalfa. Also, drink plenty of Phyto-Greens type juice (containing spirulina and chlorella), or capsules, along with iron supplements.

These programs are not intended as a replacement for medical care. Check with your Dr. before beginning any programs. In the event of illness, always consult with your Doctor, or Health Care Provider.


Logo for Mind, Body, and Spirit Holistic Health Services, 248 1st St. NE, Suite # 137, Cleveland, Tn. 37311  (423) 438-1060.

Be sure and let your Dr. know if you are taking any herbal suppliments.

Written by Joel C. Brothers, ND, SHD, LMT