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The top 5 medicinal plants for women: Treat cycle disorders, PMS and menopausal symptoms naturally!

PMS, menstrual pain or menopausal symptoms - so-called women's problems come in many guises. However, treatment is usually limited to medication or hormonal therapies. Many women want a natural alternative to painkillers or hormones. In gynaecology in particular, there are many medicinal plants that have been used since ancient times. The traditional use of medicinal herbs and plants (known as phytotherapy) has the great advantage that it generally has significantly fewer side effects than modern conventional medicine.

Table of contents
  • Which cycle disorders and period complaints occur frequently
  • What causes are behind cycle disorders
  • Treat cycle disorders with herbal remedies: Menstruation too heavy, too light, too infrequent or irregular
  • Which medicinal plants can positively influence the female cycle and hormone balance
  • What should women bear in mind when taking plant extracts?


Which cycle disorders and period complaints are common?

Cycle disorders can affect the frequency of menstruation and the strength of periods. This typically manifests itself in spotting, irregular or heavy bleeding (hypermenorrhoea) or a lack of periods (amenorrhoea). Women particularly often suffer from cramp-like pain during their period (dysmenorrhoea). This can have a huge impact on everyday life. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is also one of the most common complaints. Three out of four women complain of symptoms before their period. Characteristic premenstrual symptoms include mood swings, digestive and sleep disorders, tiredness and irritability.

Do you already know our PMS and Period Support capsules? These have been specially developed for women who suffer from period symptoms and support your well-being before and during your period.

What causes are behind cycle disorders

Genetic factors and/or a hormonal imbalance are usually behind cycle disorders and menstrual cramps. A lack of progesterone and an excess of oestrogen (so-called oestrogen dominance) can, for example, lead to the typical PMS symptoms, spotting or the absence of menstruation.

Irregular cycles or the absence of menstrual bleeding can also be the result of high psychological stress, stress, metabolic disorders or malnutrition. Medication, metabolic or autoimmune diseases can also affect the female hormone balance.

When should you definitely have your symptoms examined by your doctor? Cycle disorders or menstrual cramps can also be caused by diseases such as fibroids, endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (POC for short). Especially if the symptoms occur suddenly or worsen or change over time, they should be examined by a doctor.

Treat cycle disorders with herbal remedies: Menstruation too heavy, too light, too infrequent or irregular

Hormonal contraceptives (contraceptive pill, hormonal coil) and painkillers (ibuprofen, naproxen) are usually the first choice to alleviate menstrual cramps and rebalance hormones. However, due to numerous side effects, many women are looking for a more natural alternative. More and more women are turning to herbal remedies to improve their well-being during menstruation and balance their hormones. Plant extracts are used for numerous complaints and illnesses. Their use often goes back to a long history of traditional application. Modern medicine is also increasingly recognising the potential of medicinal herbs and plant extracts. Traditional remedies are therefore increasingly the subject of current research.

Diosgenin, for example, is a plant-based ingredient that is similar to progesterone (known as a phytohormone). It can bind to the receptors for progesterone and has a progesterone-like effect. Diosgenin is found in asparagus, carrots and yam, for example. The medicinal herbs yarrow and lady's mantle also have an effect on progesterone levels and raise them slightly.

Which medicinal plants can have a positive effect on the female cycle and hormone balance? Naturopathy recognises numerous plants that are used for women-specific complaints. Today we present five of the most popular medicinal plants for women.

Monk's pepper

The fruit of the medicinal plant is often used to treat PMS. One study shows that the active ingredients in monk's pepper (Vitex agnus-castus) bind to the opioid receptor and can therefore presumably help to alleviate PMS symptoms. Other studies point to a hormone-regulating property by lowering prolactin levels. The hormone prolactin influences cycle regularity and can cause feelings of tension in the breasts. A placebo-controlled study of women with premenstrual syndrome showed that treatment with monk's pepper extract was able to reduce symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, headaches and a feeling of fullness in the breasts. We have developed our PMS capsules especially for women suffering from PMS - with monk's pepper, St John's wort, calcium, tryptophan and vitamin B6 to regulate hormonal activity.

Lady's mantle

The name already indicates that lady's mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) has a firm place in gynaecology. Since ancient times and the Middle Ages, lady's mantle has been used to treat menstrual irregularities and cramp-like complaints. The tannins (tannins, ellagitannins) it contains are thought to be responsible for its positive effect. The dried herb is used, for example, as a dietary supplement, tea or bath additive.

Wild yam

The yam root (Dioscorea villosa) is used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), for example, and is used to treat cycle-related complaints. Wild yam contains the phytohormone diosgenin, which is said to have a positive effect on PMS and menopausal symptoms. The hormone-like substance even played an important role in the development of the contraceptive pill in the 1930s. Diosgenin is said to have a progesterone-like effect and thus contribute to hormone balance in a natural way. The tuber is also an important staple food in some countries.

Black cohosh

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) originates from North America and was already used by the Native Americans. The rhizome of the plant is mainly used for menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and sweating - but also for menstrual cramps and PMS. The triterpene glycosides it contains are said to have an oestrogen-like effect and are responsible for the positive effects of black cohosh. In our Meno Support capsules, which have been specially developed for women going through the menopause, we combine black cohosh with red clover, wild yam and St John's wort.

Yarrow

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is said to have antispasmodic properties, which is why the plant is not only popular for painful menstrual cramps during periods, but also for gastrointestinal complaints. In some regions, yarrow is therefore also known as stomachache herb or women's herb. One study showed that yarrow can alleviate abdominal pain and cramps. That's why you'll also find yarrow in our Period Support capsules.

What should women bear in mind when taking plant extracts? Plant extracts work in a gentle and natural way. A little patience is therefore required when using them, as the positive effect does not materialise immediately after the first intake. Food supplements with plant extracts should be taken over a period of at least 3-6 months. Anyone taking medication, using hormonal contraceptives, pregnant or breastfeeding should have their intake checked by a doctor beforehand. The same applies to chronic illnesses such as cancer, liver or kidney disease.

Don't forget micronutrients!

An adequate supply of vitamins and minerals is also important for hormone balance. You can find out which micronutrients are particularly important for women and which vitamins are particularly at risk of deficiency on our vitamins for women overview page.

Sources:
D. E. Webster et al. Activation of the μ-opiate receptor by Vitex agnus-castus methanol extracts: Implication for its use in PMS. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2006; 106 (2): 216-221.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH): Black cohosh. Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/black-cohosh (30/07/2023).
European Medicines Agency (EMA): Agni casti fructus. Retrieved from https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/herbal/agni-casti-fructus (30/07/2023).
E. Jenabi, B. Fereidoony B. Effect of Achillea Millefolium on Relief of Primary Dysmenorrhoea: A Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology 2015; 28: 402-404.
A-M. Beer et al. Efficacy of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) medicines for treatment of menopausal symptoms - comments on major statements of the Cochrane Collaboration report 2012 "black cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.) for menopausal symptoms (review)". Gynecological Endocrinology 2013; 29 (12): 1022-1025.