When it comes to migraines and period pains, I'm not someone who grins and bears it. I'll happily take painkillers if it means being able to go on with my life (relatively) pain-free. But there's an alternative: herbal remedies. If you live with chronic symptoms or regular PMS, you may not want to constantly be mainlining over-the-counter drugs. There are tried-and-tested herbal remedies for many health issues, and to make it easy, Neal's Yard Remedies has compiled all that information into an easy-to-use book filled with over 800 natural remedies for everything from bloating to menopause.
Below, I've extracted the herbal remedies NYR recommends for some of the issues that affect those with PMS, menstrual pain and menopause. Want to try something a little gentler than medication? Keep scrolling to find out more.
A sneak peek inside the book.
The brand says feverfew helps prevent migraines and has bitter properties that support the liver. Avoid during pregnancy or if you're taking antibiotics. Take one 50- to 200-milligram dried-leaf capsule daily.
Neal's Yard Remedies says candida is a yeast that usually resides in the body. Its levels kept in check by the immune system, but if immunity is weakened, it can flourish, causing fatigue, headaches, depression, joint pain and poor focus. Thrush is an overgrowth of candida in the vagina or the mouth. Oregano is a key antimicrobial herb with specific activity against candida. This is not suitable to take during pregnancy. Take one 150-milligram capsule of oregano as directed.
A week before your period, oestrogen levels rise, which can cause both physical and emotional symptoms. Vervain helps to balance hormones, lift mood, and relax mind and body. Excessive doses may cause vomiting, according to Neal's Yard Remedies. Take 2- to 5-millilitre tincture in a little water three times daily.
Cramp bark is an antispasmodic that helps to relax uterine muscles, ease cramping and promote healthy blood flow to reduce pain. Take 4- to 8-millilitre tincture in a little water three times daily.
Menopause is the gradual decline of oestrogen production as women age. Symptoms include night sweats, hot flushes, insomnia aches, pains, anxiety and mood swings. According to Neal's Yard Remedies, fenugreek seed is a mildly oestrogenic to ease hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and headache. Avoid if you have hypothyroidism or are possibly pregnant. Take a break from other drugs, as it may impede their absorption. Take one daily capsule.
According to Neal's Yard Remedies, horse chestnut can strengthen capillaries and reduces local water retention. Avoid taking this with anticoagulants. If it irritates the stomach, take with soothing lime flower. Take a 1- to 4-millilitre tincture with water daily.
Peppermint has an antispasmodic action to ease bloating and improve digestion, according to Neal's Yard Remedies. Avoid with oesophagal reflux. Infuse one to two springs fresh mint in 175 millilitre of boiling water. Drink after meals.
Thyme has an antibacterial action against the acne-linked bacterium P.acnes and is also a tonic for the immune system. According to Neal's Yard Remedies, you should avoid internal use of this during pregnancy. Infuse dried thyme in 175 millilitre boiling water and apply it as skin wash twice daily, or drink as a tea twice daily.
Calendula is an anti-inflammatory and promotes skin healing. It also helps fight propionibacterium acnes. Add 10 drops tincture to the thyme infusion, and apply it directly to the skin.
Chronic stress can lower the immunity and cause insomnia, anxiety and general aches and pains. Liquorice balances stress hormones, according to Neal's Yard Remedies. Avoid in pregnancy, with hypertension and large doses over a prolonged period. Add a half teaspoon of dried, shredded root to 250-millilitre boiling water. Drink two to three times daily.
According to Neal's Yard Remedies, anxiety can be eased with lemon balm, which induces a relaxed state of mind. It can also help ease tension and lift spirits. Avoid with hypothyroidism. Infuse one to two teaspoons of dried lemon balm in 175-millilitre boiling water and drink three times daily.
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