When a woman’s menstrual cycle is beginning to approach, she may be filled with dread at the thought of having to go through yet another frustrating and painful two-week period. During this time, it can seem like one’s body has turned against them. Nearly 75% of women experience PMS in varying degrees of severity. For those that get hit hard with PMS symptoms, it can be a time filled with physical and emotional shifts that cause a great deal of discomfort and pain. Fortunately, there are tools available that can provide significant aid in reducing, or even resolving PMS. In celebration of National Women’s Health Week, why not examine the incredible and surprising PMS aids available to us?
Know Your Enemy
Before discussing the resolutions to premenstrual syndrome, it is important to have a grasp of the causes of and symptoms associated with PMS.
The weeks leading up to menses, or menstrual flow, is a time where one is premenstrual and may experience PMS symptoms. At this point, depending on their unique situation, one may experience some or all the following symptoms in differing degrees of severity:
- Headaches and migraines
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
The degree in which these symptoms occur is highly dependent on the amount of estrogen in one’s system. As one enters menstruation, the body produces increased amounts of estrogen which can quickly cause estrogen dominance. An extreme and fast-paced shift in hormones can cause a significant increase in symptom intensity. For this reason, one of the primary goals when it comes to treating PMS is properly maintaining hormone balance. Keeping hormone levels regulated can be done in a variety of ways, but many find that naturally occurring solutions provide the most benefit with the least risk.
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza)
When one thinks of licorice, they generally imagine the classic candy. However, licorice root has significantly more to offer than just a sweet treat. Glycyrrhizin, the element used in sweetening the black confection, provides a variety of health benefits. Ancient cultures recognized this very early and utilized the root to treat common ailments such as coughs, asthma, gastrointestinal discomfort, and inflammation. Furthermore, glycyrrhizin can benefit female reproductive function and may provide relief of PMS symptoms.
This powerful chemical found in licorice root has estrogen-like properties that helps reduce the intensity of PMS and helps restore one’s cycle. Some suggest taking a supplement containing glycyrrhizin or drinking tea made of licorice root daily about a week prior to menstruation to reduce symptoms. The specific symptoms positively impacted by licorice root and glycyrrhiza include:
- Breast tenderness
- Menstrual cramps
- Mood swings
Licorice root may also improve general bodily function because it is an adaptogen herb. This means it helps the body manage stress and lower cortisol levels. Furthermore, most licorice root strains contain flavonoids, coumarins, stillbenoids, and triterpenoids, which provide different degrees of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and steroidal action.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of this herb is its ability to improve the efficacy of other herbs, vitamins, and minerals. Licorice root does this by aiding in gastrointestinal absorption, allowing for easier utilization of other helpful substances. A wide variety of compounds benefit from the addition of licorice root in its formulation.
Another highly beneficial plant product for women’s health is chasteberry, also known as vitex. Like licorice root, chasteberry has been used for centuries as a natural remedy. Cultures commonly used this peppercorn-sized fruit to treat irregular periods, infertility, PMS, and menopause. These people were certainly on to something. According to a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health and Gender-Based Medicine, 93% of the women treated with chasteberry over three menstrual cycles experienced a noticeable reduction in PMS-related symptoms or total relief of PMS issues.
It is suggested that chasteberry’s effectiveness in treating premenopausal and menopausal symptoms is linked to dopaminergic compounds found within the plant. Although the compounds themselves are not hormones, they influence hormone function by interacting with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. With the positive stimulation of chasteberry, the body may experience improved hormone balance. This can be seen in boosted levels of luteinizing hormone, improved regulation of prolactin, and inhibited production of follicle-stimulating hormone. These aspects help keep progesterone and estrogen in balance, which reduces PMS.
Chasteberry also reduces the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland. This helps limit the intensity of several frustrating PMS symptoms including breast tenderness, headache, and irregular shifts in mood. Other PMS-related benefits of chasteberry include reduction or resolution of the following symptoms:
- Headaches and migraines
- Joint pain
The benefits of chasteberry are numerous and according to a study review conducted by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and the University of Australia, “five out of six studies found vitex to be superior to a placebo for treating PMS.” With such strong endorsement of this natural remedy, it is difficult to disregard this powerful plant.
The Supporting Cast of Cycle Restore
If you experience PMS symptoms and are looking for a natural remedy that provides hormonal support, try using a supplement containing licorice root and chasteberry. Cycle Restore, produced by HoltraCeuticals, contains both naturally occurring women’s health aids. This supplement is specifically formulated to aid in menstrual cycle relief and maintain healthy hormone balance. Numerous PMS-related symptoms can be reduced or in some cases completely resolved by using a supplement like Cycle Restore to bolster your body’s hormone function. By introducing your body to licorice and chasteberry you may be pleasantly surprised with lowered intensity or complete resolution of PMS.