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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
A degree of premenstrual syndrome will affect almost all women at some time in their fertile life. Premenstrual syndrome is a collection of both physical and emotional symptoms experienced in the 2 weeks before a woman's period. Once the period starts, the symptoms improve and will often disappear by the end of menstruation. PMS is often triggered by hormonal surges such as pregnancy, miscarriage and puberty; and women aged 30-45 years are most likely to experience it. This is also the age of lowered thyroid function for some women, and a blood test for this is helpful if only to exclude an additional problem. Post-natal depression is another trigger.
Symptoms vary but the most common ones include:
- Mood swings.
- Feeling depressed, irritable or bad-tempered.
- Feeling upset, anxious or emotional.
- Feeling lethargic and tired, or experiencing problems with maintaining sleep.
- Headaches and acne.
- Changes in appetite and intense food cravings, particularly for sugar and chocolate.
- Feeling clumsy, possibly leading to increased accidents.
- Fluid retention and feeling bloated with sore, tender breasts.
It is estimated that 5-10 percent of women suffer from PMS so severe that it impacts their lives negatively, affecting earning and family life.
Foods & herbs for the home
- Manage sugar cravings in the 2 weeks before your period is due, when your metabolic rate is raised anyway. It is important to have small meals and snacks every 2 hours, each of which should be based on complex carbohydrates and/or proteins to balance blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates include oat-based cereals, oatcakes, rye crisp bread, granary or seeded bread, basmati or brown rice and whole grain pasta, plus vegetables.
- Whole fruit smoothies are fine if the focus is on less sweet fruit such as plums, green pears or apples and all stone fruits. These can also be combined with organic soy yoghurt and some almonds or other raw unsalted nuts.
- Cravings for chocolate can be satisfied by eating organic 80 percent cocoa chocolate which can boost levels of much-needed "happy hormones" and give a vital mental boost and comfort.
- Avoid red meat, chicken, eggs and dairy if possible during this time. You are attempting to balance hormones and these foods may be overly rich in oestrogens.
- Salt, caffeine and alcohol are all possible triggers for PMS symptoms – limit your intake.
- Evidence suggests that vitex agnus castus is helpful in relieving some PMS symptoms and you should work with a skilled herbal practitioner to explore this route. Look for a herbalist in your area via the website of The Association of Master Herbalists.
- Vitamin B6, calcium and vitamin D are also able to relieve some symptoms in women. These can be found in Superfood Plus. This rich tonic food can help to stabilise blood sugars and is the ideal in-between-meals snack.
- Evening primrose oil may relieve the pain of sore and tender breasts.
- Anger is traditionally associated with the liver, as it can manifest when high levels of hormones are present, outstripping the liver's ability to process them. If the liver cannot produce enough cholesterol, this, in turn, leads to low levels of progesterone production, which also plays a part in PMS. Read Dr Richard Schulze’s “5-Day Liver Detox” to learn more about the liver.
- Sprinkle some wild crafted Milk Thistle Seeds on your cereals, soups and salads and gently support the liver.
- Ask us for a sample of PolliTox Capsules for additional liver support. Lemon & Artichoke Concentrate is another delicious way to support the liver with food.
- Energy levels can be supported with EnergiRevive Powder, especially if you have cut out caffeine and miss the artificial push it gives the adrenal glands. Ask us for a sample.
- Almost all herb teas will help the move from energy-draining caffeine drinks to something less taxing. Look at our entire range and consider Hibiscus Herbal Tea for smoothing out blood sugar fluctuations. Parsley & Cornsilk Herbal Tea can assist in the removal of excess fluid from body tissues during times of bloating. To assist relaxation and sleep take Evening Peace Herbal Tea in the evening.
- Take omega 3 6 & 9 capsules, e.g. hemp or flax seed as these can offer general hormone support.
- Obesity and low exercise levels may result in an increased tendency to PMS. Exercise consistently but lightly; it need not be arduous. Add extra walks, dance or yoga.
- Meditation and breathing exercises may help you manage stress more effectively.
- Epsom salts added to a long relaxing bath will allow your skin to absorb magnesium from the salts. This can support sleep and relaxes muscles.
- Add your favourite essential oil to the bath water such as Lavender and remember to add a few drops to your pillow as well.
Additional help is available by phoning the free product advice line at Herbs Hands Healing between the hours of 9.00am to 1.00pm. Tel: 01379 608201.
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Learn more about Dr. Richard Schulze’s Superfood Plus and why we believe this is such a wonderful food by following this link on our website, where extensive information is available. Also please visit our Superfood Plus facebook page for articles and current news.
To learn more about natural healing for this and other ailments, visit Dr Schulze's blog.
If you would like to see videos of Jill Davies showing you plants growing in their natural settings and discussing their medicinal attributes then visit us on facebook. You can also explore additional herbs and their traditional uses by linking to Herbs Info & Photo Gallery and Herb Profiles. Useful additional information can also be found at the Herbs Hands Healing information pages on Detox & Cleansing and Natural Healing.