To begin, I would recommend addressing is heavy bleeding. Known as menorrhagia, this imbalance is likely a key factor in your PMS symptoms as well. While there are a number of effective natural remedies to help balance out heavy periods, it is important to look into or rule out potential underlying causes. Fibroids, polyps, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, anovulation, or hormonal issues are associated with menorrhagia.
One of the best herbal remedies for the treatment of menorrhagia is Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). This common weed is highly valued by herbalists due to its ability to staunch blood flow, whether it be a nosebleed, a post-partum haemorrhage, or as a menstrual flow regulator. Use a heaped teaspoon of shepherd’s purse per cup of near-boiling water, and drink 3-4 cups daily.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are key when it comes to cramping and mood swings. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) in particular has a long history of usage to help ease menstrual cramping and the associated lower back pain caused by inflammatory hormones due to being a rich source of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), a prostaglandin which works as a natural anti-inflammatory.
While the severity of symptoms differs between women, there seems to be a general consensus that the mental and emotional symptoms are much more difficult to deal with than the physical ones. Herbs frequently used to address emotional and physical symptoms include Agnus Castus, Dong Quai, Black Cohosh, and Maca.
Joint pain is the number one issue associated with ageing, with more than 50% of people over the age of 55 years dealing with some degree of pain and reduced mobility. One of the most effective combinations when it comes to supplementation for joint health is glucosamine with chondroitin and Methyl Sulphonyl Methane (MSM). These work synergistically to repair damage to the joints. Glucosamine supplies the necessary minerals, chondroitin attracts additional nutrients and fluids into the damaged joints, helping to provide shock absorption and lubrication, and MSM helps with tissue pliability.
It is also important to address inflammation when it comes to prevention and repair of painful or swollen joints. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO), vitamin E, and vitamin C are great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. EPO contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is a building block in the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, vitamin E is an important antioxidant – particularly in the role of circulation and tissue repair, and vitamin C is a powerful anti-inflammatory which is also crucial in the formation of collagen.
Holland & Barrett’s Joint Care Glucosamine Chondroitin Complex with Omega 3, 6 & 9 includes Evening Primrose Oil, flaxseed oil and fish oils.
There are some foods which also may help with your aches and pains. Pineapple is a great anti-inflammatory food due to the enzyme bromelain, which reduces inflammation by breaking down fibrin, the substance responsible for localised swelling. Cherries have long been used to alleviate arthritic pains and gout, while plums and prunes contain antioxidants which are believed to protect against post-menopausal bone loss.
Pumpkin helps reduce inflammation and protects against a number of arthritic conditions, while the seeds provide minerals and healthy fats. For more instant natural pain relief, you might want to look into Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) and Turmeric (Curcuma longa). Boswellia can be used instead of Ibuprofen, since it works by dilating the blood vessels, relieving the restriction that is often responsible for pain. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.