Photo of a woman suffering stomach cramp and period pain sitting on home couch

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Heating pads, Midol, warm baths, and calming music are the tip of the iceberg for women plagued with troublesome PMS. For myself and many others, the days leading up to menstruation can include bloating, mood swings, acne, cramps, and fatigue. Put down your extra-strength painkillers and embrace your cycle with these herbs to rebalance hormones and wipe out your PMS naturally.

Christmas in July: Peppermint Oil

You’re probably familiar with peppermint from Christmas candles and striped candy canes, but it also plays a pivotal role in quelling your pain from menstrual cramps.

How to prepare: Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil to a warm compress like a heated washcloth and apply directly to your stomach.

What it does: Peppermint oil releases muscle tension, which works wonders for painful cramps and tension headaches. It also boosts energy and improves focus.

Photo of Dfarf YLang-Ylang Tree

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Funky Name, Serious Results: Ylang-Ylang Oil

If you’re new to herbal remedies, acquaint yourself with ylang-ylang oil. Derived from the ylang-ylang tree, the oil is touted as an anti-depressant and stress reliever. Once you use it, its soothing properties may well become a staple in your herbal cabinet.

How to prepare: Mix a few drops of lavender oil in a carrier (like coconut oil) and apply directly to the nape of your neck and abdomen.

What it does: Ylang-ylang oil reduces tension, relieves stress, and combats mood swings.

Photo of clary sage herb

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The Dynamic Duo: Clary Sage/Cypress

Sage elicits a sense of calm. Cypress reminds you of tall, swaying trees. Together, they create a synergistic effect on your well-being. This dynamic duo restores balance to your hormones, leaving you refreshed.

How to prepare: Apply 1-2 drops of clary sage and 1-2 drops of cypress oil directly onto your abdomen. Apply a warm compress for 2-5 minutes.

What it does: Clary sage helps rebalance hormones, which can reduce your PMS symptoms. Cypress oil improves circulation to the area while elevating your mood.

Photo of Ashwagandha herb (Withania somnifera)

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Don’t Spell it, Use it: Ashwagandha

A staple in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is a powerful herb used to treat a cascade of health problems. It’s known as an adaptogenic herb, which means it’s a healing plant that can also improve your PMS symptoms.

How to prepare: Supplement ashwagandha in your diet by taking 500mg once or twice a day with a well-balanced diet.

What it does: Ashwagandha reduces stress hormones, boosts stamina, and activates your metabolism.

Vitex berries, Agni casti fructus

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Not Your Average Berry: Chasteberry

If you haven’t met chasteberry (vitex) yet, you really should. Herbal healers have used this small brown berry for centuries. Its restorative properties balance hormones, treating symptoms of PMS and menopause.

How to prepare: Dosage depends on your specific usage, but the most common is 400mg daily before breakfast to treat PMS symptoms.

What it does: Relieves PMS symptoms by reducing prolactin, cuts down uterine fibroids, clears PMS-related acne, and treats endometriosis and amenorrhea (painful periods).

Photo of Passion Flower

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Find Your Passion: Passionflower

If your period is mentally taxing, passionflower might be a terrific option for you. Passionflower is an herb that supports nervous system function and mental clarity.

How to prepare: Steep 1 teaspoon of passionflower leaves in a cup of herbal tea for 10-15 minutes. Drink and enjoy!

What it does: Passionflower combats mental PMS symptoms by improving mood and reducing headaches, stress, and anxiety.

Photo of bunch of Ginseng roots

PHOTO: KATHARINA LOHRIE/WIKIPEDIA.COM Ginseng roots

Better Than Red Bull: Ginseng

If the only ginseng you’ve consumed comes in an energy drink, it’s time to expand your horizons. Ginseng comes with a basket of benefits, especially for those who experience brutal PMS symptoms.

How to prepare: Add it to your tea or take 500mg twice daily (in the morning and afternoon).

What it does: Ginseng’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduce pain from inflammation, improve focus, and lower stress to lighten your mood.

Image of TURMERIC, one of the healthiest foods on the planet

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Eat More Curry: Turmeric

If you fancy yellow curry, you can thank turmericā€” it’s found in Indian and Middle Eastern recipes. The active ingredient in turmeric bested numerous top-grade pharmaceutical drugs in treating inflammation-related diseases.

How to prepare: Turmeric comes in a powdered form or capsule. Sprinkle it into your curries or mix a teaspoon in with herbal tea. You can also take two capsules in the morning.

What it does: Turmeric stimulates liver function and balances hormones, which clears up acne and relieves pain.

Photo of Herbes de Provence

PHOTO: French Tart-FT/FLICKR.COM Herbes de Provence

Summary

PMS doesn’t have to be the most dreadful time of your month. I used to believe that my symptoms were only something to beĀ managed. It never occurred to me that I could change my entire experience with my cycle without heavy-duty painkillers.

Herbal treatments allowed me to heal my body from the inside out. I am no longer nauseated and bloated, which has left me truly relieved. Fixing the hormonal imbalances in your body can squash your PMS symptoms and restore a healthy balance to your cycle. If you’re suffering from debilitating pain, talk with your doctor about potential diagnoses and treatment. These herbs have helped me tremendously, and I think they can help you, too.