Nature's way of taking care of a woman
Many medicinal plants can make up effective remedies to relieve female discomforts. Essential oils made from herbs and flowers, mentioned in Essential Oils from A to Z box, are used topically, according to aromatherapy recommendations, and help the overall well-being of women.
+ Nothing is better than natural remedies to relieve symptoms that are also, on the whole, natural such as most female discomforts. Many medicinal herbs provide a gentle remedy without side effects. The following are effective medical plants and herbal remedies to fight back pains and ailments. Some plants may be easier to find than others depending on where the plants are cultivated. You can find some as fresh plants or dried, and others in liquid form, tinctures, tablets or powder.
You should always consult your physician before starting any herbal treatment.
(Vitex agnus castus)
- • Parts used. The fruit, which is used to make capsules and extracts.
- • This tree grows in the Mediterranean countries and Central Asia. The dried fruits, which has a pepper-like aroma and flavor, is used.
- • Chasteberry could be considered a women's herb. It has the effect of stimulating and normalizing pituitary gland functions, especially its progesterone function. The greatest use of chasteberry lies in normalizing the activity of the female sex hormones, it is thus indicated for premenstrual stress and other disorders related to hormone function such as migraines, acne during puberty, menopause and infertility.
- • Warning. Chasteberry is not recommended for use during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. If taken in excess it can be toxic.
Is a system which treats different ailments via the use of essential oils extracted from plants, flowers, trees and shrubs. These are highly potent and concentrated extracts which are mixed with a vegetable oil, that acts as a carrier of each essence. Essential oils are applied to skin through massage or via drops added to the bath, –they can also be inhaled with a vaporizer– always under medical supervision. When used in baths and massages they center the system by penetrating the skin and the sense of smell. To know which are the most appropriate essences for relieving female discomforts see Essential Oils from A to Z box.
To help relieve aches and discomforts related to your periods you can take capsules or extract of chasteberry for four months, until your symptoms subside. To find out what is the appropriate dose, you should consult your doctor.
ESSENTIAL OILS FROM A TO Z
Has a regulating effect on the female reproductive system, relieving menstrual discomforts. It also stimulates blood circulation and regulates excess heat and fluids in the body. Blends with juniper, lavender, lemon, rosemary and marjoram.
Safety. It shouldn't be used during pregnancy. During massages it's recommended to use without applying pressure to varicose veins.
Its clean, potent and refreshing aroma strengthens the nervous system and has a stimulating effect. Recommended for treating the negative emotions common with PMS and menopause. Blends well with juniper, lemon, lemon herb, lemon balm and rosemary.
Safety. Shouldn't be used in cases of high blood pressure or epilepsy. Use in low doses to prevent skin irritation.
Essential oils are for external use only, they should never be ingested. Keep stored away from children and keep away from your eyes.
- • Parts used. Roots, hips of the root, leaves, stems and seeds are used to make capsules and tinctures or in infusions.
- • There are three variants of angelica: European, American and Chinese. The Chinese species is recommended to treat female discomforts.
- • This herb may be very useful for painful or irregular menstrual periods, or as a tonic during menopause to improve circulation for cold hands and feet.
- • Warning. Angelica should not be used during pregnancy.
(Capsella bursa pastoris
- • Parts used. The entire plant, especially the stem. It is commercially cultivated to dry for making infusions.
- • This plant belongs to the crucifer family. It gets its particular name from its fruits, it looks like the bag shepherds carry in some regions.
- • It's principal use is to regulate menstrual flow, in cases of excessive menstruation and when your menstrual flow is little or irregular; it is an effective tonic for the uterus. Because of its anti-hemorrhage properties it is used for nosebleeds.
- • Parts used. Flowers and leaves, for infusions.
- • Native to Europe, this plant is grown in gardens. It looks like a daisy, but with yellow or orange petals.
- • The plant can be used internally for the reproductive system, because it relieves menstrual problems, regulating the cycle. Because of its antiseptic, antibacterial and fungicidal properties, it's recommended to treat candidiasis.
FOR SWELLING OR ACHY BREASTS
Prepare an infusion with marigold flowers and apply a compress soaked in this infusion to the sore area.
ESSENTIAL OILS FROM A TO Z
Aromatic and spicy aroma, similar to anise, increases the energy and self-esteem. Because of its estrogen content, it's good for relieving menstrual pains and PMS symptoms. It's also used to relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Blends with geranium, lavender, lemon, rosemary, basil and sandalwood.
Safety. Shouldn't be used during pregnancy and for those who suffer from epilepsy, or for small children.
This is a tonic for the circulatory system, appropriate for treating PMS. Relieves headaches, tones the nervous system and fights depression, reducing stress and nervous tension. Blends with Angelica, bergamot, grapefruit, lime, neroli and patchouli.
Safety. In high doses geranium can irritate the skin.
(Cinnamomum verum sin.)
- • Parts used. The inner bark of young tree branches.
- • It's cultivated in Southeast Asia, in India, Madagascar and other tropical regions in South America.
- • It's normally used for its digestive properties, helps to relieve nausea and vomiting, making it recommended during pregnancy. It also helps to improve the appetite and improves digestion in general.
- • Warning. Not recommended for those who suffer from peptic gastric duodenal ulcers.
TO FIGHT NAUSEA
Prepare an infusion with 1 or 2 sticks of cinnamon per cup of water. You can add lemon slices. Drink 1 cup after meals. Keep in mind that it's more effective if drunk unsweetened.
- • Parts used. Seeds and leaves.
- • This stout, annual or biennial plant is found in dry, rocky soils in Southern and Western Europe and in some parts of the US.
- • An excellent remedy to increase the production of breast milk. Recommended for people who suffer from low blood pressure, to prevent sudden drops in pressure.
- • Warning. Not recommended for those who suffer from high blood pressure.
INFUSION FOR BREAST-FEEDING
Crush or grind the seeds. Use 1 small teaspoon of crushed seeds per cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for a few minutes and drink before meals.
ESSENTIAL OILS FROM A TO Z
Works as a hormonal regulator, effective against postpartum depression. Relieves menstrual pain and vaginal infections, in addition to calming the nerves and lifting up spirits. Blend with myrrh, geranium, lime, neroli, rose, ylang ylang and sandalwood.
Safety. Should not be used during pregnancy, only to relieve childbirth pains.
Clears, stimulates and tones the mind, lifting the spirits in moments of anxiety. Relieves cystitis, regulates the menstrual cycle and calms pains during menstruation. Blends well with clary sage, cypress, myrrh, grapefruit, and sandalwood.
Safety. Shouldn't be used during pregnancy, because it might induce labor. Should be used in low doses to protect the skin against irritation.
Prepare an infusion with black cohosh root, chaste berry, wild yam, ginseng, liquorice and fennel. Drink 3 times a day during the second half of the menstrual cycle, for at least 3 months, to help regulate hormone levels.
- • Parts used. Roots and root heads.
- • Native to Canada, United States and Europe. It gets its name from the root, a black color.
- • Used to relieve female discomforts such as pains and menstrual cramps, lack of estrogen or excess progesterone, high blood pressure and symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and depression.
- • Warning. Do not take during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or if you suffer from low blood pressure.
Place 1 teaspoon of black cohosh powder in 3 cups of water and boil. Cool and drain.
Warning. Do not drink more than ½ cup, 2 times a day.
RED CLOVER FOR HOT FLASHES
Red clovers are rich in isoflavone compounds, between 10 and 20 times higher than soy. This herb may help to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes and nocturnal sweating. It's advised to use it in low doses.
- • Parts used. The seeds and leaves are used in infusions and to make essential oils.
- • Its properties have been understood for millenia, its use is mentioned in Egyptian papyrus and later in the Greek and Roman cultures.
- • Coumarins, flavonoids, phenolic acids and chlorogene are the active compounds in dill for nursing mothers, to promote the flow of milk. It can also be used as a mild diuretic, and for light cases of bruising, water retention and small changes in blood pressure.
Place 1 teaspoonful of dried dill root for every cup of boiling water and sit to steep; filter and drink. It should be taken after meals.
ESSENTIAL OILS FROM A TO Z
Relieves mood swings brought on by PMS and menopause, at the same time having a regulating effect on the central nervous system and helping you sleep better. It is also effective in cases of depression or anger. Used with marjoram it calms menstrual pains. Blend with geranium, jasmine, lemon, camomile, rose and pine.
Safety. Do not use during pregnancy.
Recommended during menopause for its toning effects on the nervous and circulatory systems. It helps to get rid of dead skin cells, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the immune system. Blend with eucalyptus, lavender, camomile and rose.
Safety. Use in low doses to avoid skin irritation. It's not recommended exposing your skin to direct sunlight after applying lemon to the skin.
RESTORE NATURALLY WITH NETTLES
Nettles are an excellent remedy to help you recover during menopause. They can be added to soups and stews, or use them as spinach to prepare a sauce to accompany pastas.
Add ½ teaspoon of raspberry leaves to 1 cup of water, previously boiled. Let the leaves steep in the water, off the stove for 12 minutes. Drain and drink. As a diuretic, you can drink up to 3 cups a day. It's recommended for cases of oliguria, nephrolithiasis and cystitis
- • Parts used. The leaves and flowers.
- • Raspberry bushes grow mostly in mountainous regions.
- • Raspberry is used as a diuretic, laxative and anti-inflammatory. One of its most important uses is against feminine and menstrual pains. It is very useful against water retention and swelling. In addition, it is high in vitamin C.
- • Parts used. Roots, seeds and leaves are used to make infusion and decoctions, they are also used to make an essence, which can be ingested. But the essential oil is only for topical use.
- • Fennel is a biennial or perennial plant that grows wild in the Mediterranean area and in Asia Minor, but is commonly cultivated in the US and Europe.
- • The essence is extracted from the leaves and is an excellent remedy for colic and for breast-feeding mothers. Fennel has been used to promote menstruation in women. It may be useful to relieve the pains of menopause in older women.
- • Used externally, fennel has anti-inflammatory properties, effective in fighting pain. The root is a diuretic (helping to drain liquids) which is why it is used for cystitis.
- • Warning. In high doses, taking the flowers can provoke convulsions. It's not recommended for epileptics. Do not use during pregnancy or for small children or newborns.
FRESH FENNEL CATAPLASM
Its mild estrogenic effect is partially responsible for the use of fennel for milk production. Use with a compress on the breasts to stimulate milk production.
ESSENTIAL OILS FROM A TO Z
Regulates menstruation, relieves menstrual pains. It is a tonic for the uterus. Blend with myrrh, jasmine, juniper, rose, marjoram, ylang ylang.
Safety. Do not use during pregnancy. It can irritate sensitive skin.
Helps to relax the body with its warm, resonant and penetrating aroma. May be added to bath water during menstruation for its calming effects, it's recommended to use during childbirth. Blends with geranium, grapefruit, lime, neroli, sandalwood and vetiver.
Stimulates the immune system and at the same time reduces nervous tension and anxiety brought on by PMS and menopause. Blends with myrrh, geranium, rose, vetiver.
St. John's Wort
- • Parts used. Leaves and flowers are used fresh or dry to make infusions.
- • Native to Europe, today it is grown in many parts of the world.
- • Calming agent against slight and moderate depression. Acts as a tonic for the nervous system and especially for the reproductive system during menopause and during physical changes that cause mental or emotional instability.
- • Warning. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight if you are taking St. John's Wort for treatment, because it increases your skin's sensibility and can cause your skin to react with spots and inflammations.
- • Parts used. The seeds, called “flax”.
- • Native to the Mediterranean but is cultivated in a number of countries in Europe and the American continent where the climate is moderate.
- • For menstrual pain, apply a compress with flaxseed flour as an effective remedy, because of its antispasmodic, sedative and anti-inflammatory properties.
- • The seeds, when ingested with abundant liquid can act as a gentle laxative, indicated for fighting the abdominal ailments that accompany menopause.
- • Warning. The oil found in flaxseed flour makes the flour turn rancid rapidly, this can irritate the skin.
FLAX FOR MENOPAUSE
Due to its antioxidant, antiseptic and anti-tumor properties, it's recommended to eat bread or other foods with flaxseed added. Use flaxseed as a condiment in salads and soups. You can also dress salads using flaxseed oil.
ESSENTIAL OILS FROM A TO Z
This oil is very beneficial because it regulates the metabolic processes, water retention and cellulitis. It also might help to relieve PMS, reduce stretch marks on the skin and improve blood circulation to the skin's surface. Blends with grapefruit, lavender, neroli, basil and ylang ylang.
Safety. This oil makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. Avoid direct sunlight exposure after using on the skin.
Its fresh and clean aroma helps to tone and restore, while fortifying the immune system. It also helps to relieve candidiasis. It combines with eucalyptus, cypress, lavender, pine and ylang ylang.
Safety. It can be used pure as an antiseptic, but before hand you should test your skin for sensitivity and only apply to the affected area.
- • Parts used. The flowers to prepare infusions or to make essential oils.
- • An effective sedative, helping to bring on sleep and relieve stress and tensions brought on by PMS and menopause. It is also recommended for cases of nausea, especially morning sickness during pregnancy, although only in infusions.
- • Warning. Pregnant women should not use camomile essential oil during pregnancy, topically or internally. Some people can become sensitive or develop skin allergies in contact with this plant or taking infusions made with it.
- • Parts used. The leaves are used to prepare infusions or make essential oil.
- • Native to the Mediterranean, this plant is known throughout the world for its culinary uses.
- • Carries anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antioxidant and toning properties. It's recommended for menopause, because it helps to drain fluids to the brain, improving memory retention and concentration. It can also be used for depressive states and apathy. To use on the hair, there are shampoos with rosemary essences added to help prevent hair loss, which is sometimes common during menopause.
- • Warning. Shouldn't be used in cases of high blood pressure.
An infusion of sage leaves and fennel seeds helps to relieve sore breasts.
- • Parts used. The leaves are used to make infusions.
- • Although it's native to the Mediterranean it's cultivated in many countries throughout the world.
- • It helps blood circulation and stimulates digestion. In the reproductive system it acts as an emmenagogue, provoking menstrual periods; during menopause it can be taken to relieve hot flashes (especially in the hands) and to balance hormonal changes.
- • Warning. Do not take during pregnancy.
ESSENTIAL OILS FROM A TO Z
Fights insomnia, depression and anxiety. Strengthens red blood cells, stimulates oxygen flow in the body and tones the reproductive system. Blends well with myrrh, geranium, lavender, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang. It can be used pure, because it isn't toxic and doesn't irritate the skin.
Reduces blood pressure and relaxes the nervous system.
It also helps to regulate the body's hormonal function and aids in fighting postpartum depression. Blends with lavender, lemon, rose, rosewood and sandalwood.
Safety . Should not be used on inflamed skin or if you suffer from dermatitis. If used excessively, it can cause headaches and nausea.