Menstruation Medicine Plants
Herbal medicine is traditionally used in many cultures around the world. In fact, many pharmaceutical medicines are actually based on herbal remedies. ‘Modern’ medicine uses compounds extracted from plants to treat individual symptoms. Herbal medicine simply uses unprocessed plants to form holistic healing remedies.
As menstruators, we can experience so many different symptoms, which can strike at any point in the month. From period pain to nausea, and headaches to fatigue, some of us never know what we’ll be dealing with next. And when it comes to herbal medicine, figuring out where to start can be so tricky!
We’ve prepared a list of easy to use herbal remedies to treat specific menstrual ailments. All the plants listed here are easy to find or buy in most parts of the UK, and most of them are also easy to grow.
If you find it difficult to harvest your own herbs, then dried herbs can be purchased online at any of the following stores:
A note about using herbal medicine:
Herbal medicine is best taken continuously over an extended length of time. The most common method is to use the remedy 3 times a day for 3 months—after this time, you’ll know whether the treatment is working for you.
The information provided here is general only and is not intended to replace professional consultation. Please be extra careful when using herbal medicine in combination with other medicines. Do not self-diagnose or treat serious or long-term medical conditions without consulting a qualified medical practitioner.
For more information about how to use herbal medicine, we recommend the following books:
- Hedgerow Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Remedies – by Julie Bruton-Seal and Mathew Seal
- Your Period Handbook: Natural Solutions for Stress Free Menstruation – by Natasha Richardson
- The Complete Woman’s Herbal: A Manual of Healing Herbs and Nutrition for Personal Wellbeing and Family Care – by Anne McIntyre
The following list is in alphabetical order, according to the name of the symptom. Please click one of the links below, or scroll down to find out what herbs could help you:
Can’t find your symptom on this list? Don’t worry! We will be adding to this list every week. If there’s something you need help with, please feel free to contact us here and let us know—we’ll make sure it’s added to the list!
Most of us are well-acquainted with the monthly dose of oily skin that leads to annoying red lumps all over our skin. But for some, this can be extremely difficult and painful to manage. Acne can be a sign that the body is struggling to process toxins. Helpful herbs are those that aid in cleansing the blood and improving the detoxification abilities of your kidneys, lymph, bowel and liver.
Herbal remedies for Acne include:
Do you get those huge flows each month that leave you feeling exhausted? Like, where is all this blood coming from?!
The biggest thing to watch out for during those big flows is iron-deficiency anaemia. It’s caused by a lack of iron, often due to excessive blood loss or pregnancy. The main symptom is fatigue, and you may find you’re tired and struggle to do much. Other symptoms include pale skin, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
I recommend seeing your GP and getting a blood test to confirm whether you’re anaemic. In the meantime, start increasing iron-rich foods in your diet. Plus, be sure get plenty of vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron—I find that orange juice an easy source of vitamin C.
Iron-rich foods include:
- Organic meat and fish
- Peas, beans and lentils
- Parsley, chives, sorrel, and coriander
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Wholewheat bread and brown rice
- Dandelion leaves, nettles, elderberries and hawthorn leaves
Herbal remedies for iron-deficiency anaemia include:
Bloating, Gas and Bowel Issues
Rising estrogen levels can affect the estrogen receptors in our stomach and small intestine, causing bloating, gas and constipation. For those of us with IBS, this can be a living hell. But there are a few things we can do to reduce the impact of these symptoms on our life.
Start by trying to reduce certain foods and drinks in your diet, such as:
- Beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lentils, mushrooms, onions, peas and whole-grain foods
- Beer and other carbonated drinks
Herbal remedies for bloating, gas and bowel issues include:
- Nettle-top tea
- Raspberry leaf tea
- Guelder rose tincture
- Mugwort tincture and mugwort punch
- Rosebay willowherb (fireweed) tea
You know those pesky, sticky weeds that grow along the side of the road? Well, they’re great for a spring cleanse! They pop up at the start of spring and keep tangling along into the summer months. Cleavers will help detoxify the lymphatic system and gently support the kidneys.
- Pick a fresh handful of cleavers and place in a large glass
- Top up with cold water and leave to soak for a few hour
- Drink 1 glass a day to clear your lymph
Hint: you can use the same cleavers for a couple of days before you need to go and harvest some more of the fresh plant.
Red clover tea
Red clover is a nutrient dense plant that grows in grassland and on the side of the road during the summer months. Pick the newly opened pink flowers in early summer. Dry them by spreading on paper or trays in the sunshine.
- Combine 1-2 heaped teaspoons of dried red clover and 2 fresh nettle tops with 1 cup of boiling water
- Infuse for 15 minutes.
Drink 3-4 times a day for 5 or 6 weeks.
Dandelion, with its gorgeous yellow flowers, pops up on lawns, fields and roadsides all over the world! It’s the one that gives you free wishes, but It’s also a well-known liver tonic and is perfect for cleansing the skin.
- Dig the whole plant up, flowers, root’s and all, and give it a good wash; remove any dead leaves.
- Chop it up and put it in a large jar
- Pour enough vodka in to cover the plant completely
- Store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks
- Strain the liquid off into a smaller jar (preferably a little blue bottle)—squeeze the plant in a piece of muslin to get all the liquid out.
- Dose: 10 drops in water frequently throughout the day. Take until skin clears.
Raspberry leaf tea
While they’re better known for their sweet fruits, raspberry is also a valuable medicinal plant, especially for menstruators. Raspberry leaves are high in nutrients, such as iron, magnesium and calcium. The leaves are best picked on a sunny morning and can be used fresh or dry. Dry the leaves by hanging canes in a dry place, then crumble them into jars for storage.
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water onto 1 tablespoon of dry or 1 handful of fresh leaves
- Brew for 15 minutes
- Strain and drink hot or cold
Dose: 1 cupful, 3 times a day
Nettles are a wonderful blood tonic because they are high in iron, chlorophyl and vitamin C. The iron is nettles is known for being easily absorbed and assimilated. Harvest the top 10-15 cm of the plant in spring–be careful not to get stung and protect yourself by wearing a pair of thick gloves.
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 fresh nettle tops
- Infuse for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Drink as often as you like!
This is one of my all-time favourite herbs. It’s a beautiful, calming plant that can help with all kinds of issues. Mugwort is well-known for its calming effect on the nervous system, relieving stress and nervous tension. It also aids with digestion by encouraging the stomach to secrete digestive juices and the oils it releases help reduce gas.
You can find mugwort growing tall during the summer months all around the world. Pick the flowers just before the buds open, or collect the leaves on a dry summer’s day. Most herbalists will also sell the dried herb.
- Fill a jar with dried mugwort
- Top it up with vodka, being sure to completely cover the mugwort
- Shake it to remove air bubbles
- Place in a cool, dark place for 2 to 4 weeks
- Strain and bottle
Dose: 1–4 ml, 3 times a day
- Bring to the boil 1 cup of red wine, a stick of cinnamon, 5 cloves and a handful of mugwort tops.
- Place a lid on the pot and gently simmer for 30 minutes
- Strain the liquid into a cup and sweeten with honey.
Drink hot or cold. Can be kept in a bottle for 3 weeks.