In this episode, naturopathic clinician Angela Hywood returns to the show to talk with host Sara Le Brun Blashka, MS, about the role of herbs in premenstrual syndrome (PMS). According to The Office on Women’s Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 90 percent of women report premenstrual symptoms at some point in their lives.
There are different PMS-related symptoms experienced between individuals, even different symptoms experienced by the same individual on different cycles. Angela breaks down PMS symptoms into four main subtypes, which she says can help in the decision-making process for diet and lifestyle support solutions.
Females with high histamine associated with their menstrual cycle also may lack the ability to produce an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO), which is responsible for breaking down histamine. Angela’s “giveaway detective signs” include migraine, general fluid retention, loose bowels, cramps, and ovulation and period pain. She recommends supporting the detoxification of histamine and supporting the immune system. Relevant herbs include rosemary, Schisandra, black cumin seed, and skullcap.
When considering iodine for breast pain during PMS, Angela looks for fibrocystic breast issues pre-menstrually. Importantly, she stresses being careful with dosages and keeping a close watch over individual iodine status.
Wild yam may provide estrogen support for women experiencing period pain. However, there are many misconceptions about the usage of wild yam, something Angela calls “the wild yam scam.”
>> Audio bookmark: Angela’s go-to herbal protocol for the luteal phase:
Lastly, Angela highlights the importance of a wholistic approach to addressing PMS, especially stress management and mental health support.
>> Audio bookmark: “Take a step back and ask: What is our body asking us?”
Ashwagandha is commonly used in ayurvedic medicine as a general tonic for natural healing, and it is associated with a variety of clinical health benefits like blood sugar reduction, reduced cortisol levels, and stress relief to name a few.
Angela discusses the origins of Ashwagandha as a medicinal plant and how she uses Ashwagandha in her own practice. As a nervous system tonic, Ashwagandha is often associated with supporting healthy sleep. Angela reminds the listeners, though, that every herb isn’t for everyone. Ashwagandha can work for some people to calm the nervous system and help with sleep.
Have you ever questioned if your menstrual cycle was normal and what all those monthly symptoms could be telling you about your hormones? In today’s world, so many females are not in touch with their menstrual cycle and are given ‘the pill’ to control or eradicate unpleasant symptoms - but it may be worth listening to your body and using these symptoms as clues to uncover what support your body may need.
Find out what FIVE CLUES you can use today to know if your cycle is “normal”.