Podcast: WholisticMatters - Herbs and Premenstrual Syndrome

December 10, 2020 2 min read

About this Episode

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.

Types of PMS

  1. PMS A (anxiety)
    1. Issues with blood sugar balance
    2. Nutrient deficiencies, like zinc and vitamin B6, are common
    3. Histamine levels exacerbate irritability and anxiety
    4. Angela recommends broccoli sprouts, as the sulforaphane supports phase 2 detoxification, as well as rosemary, Schisandra, chaste tree, peony, and black cumin seed
  1. PMS C (cravings)
    1. Women experience a tendency toward binge-eating and sugar cravings
    2. Angela recommends gymnema for blood sugar regulation and cinnamon
  1. PMS D (depression)
    1. Women may struggle with memory loss, insomnia, and confusion
    2. Nutrient deficiencies, such as zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6, are common
    3. Angela recommends supporting the adrenals and mental health with ashwagandha, rehmannia, rhodiola, John’s Wort, chaste tree, and peony
  1. PMS H (hyperhydration)
    1. Women experience bloating and fluid retention
    2. Histamine levels may be unbalanced
    3. Angela recommends chaste tree, peony, cinnamon, gymnema, and black cumin seed

Histamine and Mast Cells in PMS

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.

Iodine for Breast Pain During PMS

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 and PMS

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.”

Headache, Migraine, and PMS

Headache and migraine problems associated with PMS may be a sign of unbalanced histamine problems and/or a blood sugar imbalance. Angela recommends gymnema, cinnamon, and black cumin seed.

>> Audio bookmark: Angela’s go-to herbal protocol for the luteal phase:

  • Black cohosh as an estrogen receptor modulator
  • Chaste tree and peony to support production of progesterone from the corpus luteum directly
  • Vitamin B6 and magnesium

Closing PMS Insight

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?”



Also in Journal

Podcast: WholisticMatters - Ashwagandha: A Nervous System Tonic
Podcast: WholisticMatters - Ashwagandha: A Nervous System Tonic

March 23, 2021 2 min read

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. 

Read More
Endometriosis :: A Functional Medicine Approach
Endometriosis :: A Functional Medicine Approach

March 19, 2021 7 min read

If you visit a GP or Gynecologist, the medical approaches offered are generally one of two options: Drugs or surgery. The drugs prescribed are oral contraceptive pills to supply the body with synthetic hormones to induce a pharmacological menopausal state…less than ideal if you don't react well to the pill or are planning a baby. This means that they suppress ovulation and aim to reduce menstrual flow and the theory goes, reduce further lesion stimulation. The most common surgical procedure is a laparoscopy, which is aiming to remove the endometrial lesions and cysts. Laparoscopy is considered the gold standard regarding  as a diagnostic tool, meaning that at the same time as the diagnosis is made, the surgical removal of lesions can also be completed. 
Read More
Am I Normal? What every woman needs to ask herself
Am I Normal? What every woman needs to ask herself

March 18, 2021 5 min read

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”.

Read More

join the family