As women get older and closer to menopause, they experience a variety of symptoms in their bodies – symptoms that can make life unpleasant and sometimes downright difficult.

These symptoms include; heavy periods, forgetfulness, fatigue, insomnia, headaches as well as symptoms like bloating associated with menstruation.

There are a number of herbs that can help make life a whole lot easier for women who are experiencing peri-menopause as well as women with symptoms of PMS. Three of these herbs are Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus castus) and Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis).

Black cohosh has been used for menopausal symptoms as well as menstrual cramping, headaches, water retention, lessened or absence of menstrual bleeding and uterine/bladder prolapse. Since black chohosh is anti-spasmodic, it tones the female reproductive tract.

However, it is also good for toning and sedating the nervous system. Many women have emotional ups and downs associated with their cycle, so black cohosh is especially useful for problems such as nervous irritability and depression. The herb also helps aching muscles and chilliness associated with the menstrual cycle for the peri-menopausal woman.

Black cohosh should not be used on its own. It is best used in a formula along with other herbs that support the female reproductive tract.

Chaste Tree is another excellent herb good for a variety of female reproductive concerns. These include uterine fibroids, endometriosis, chronic menstrual cramps, heavy bleeding, mid-cycle spotting and irregular cycles which are due to a deficiency of the corpus luteum. Chaste tree can also help with other hormonally related symptoms, such as acne, breast tenderness, fibrocystic breasts and pre-menstrual symptoms including water retention, headaches and depression.

Chaste Tree is useful for younger women as well as it has been used traditionally to treat infertility and prevent miscarriage, as well as to alleviate post-partum depression. It has been used traditionally to relive muscle spasms and pain.

Dong Quai is often used in many women’s formulas. It is a warming female tonic as it enriches the blood, promotes blood circulation as well as regulating and normalizing menstruation and the menstrual cycle. Dong Quai is also a mild laxative, an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic.

Dong Quai can be used for PMS, cramps, menopausal-related symptoms, anemia, bleeding of the uterus due to stagnation as well as chronic pelvic infections. In Chinese medicine, Dong Quai is seen as a herb that ‘dissolves stuckness,’ which means it reduces blood clots, fibroids and other masses.

Dong quai is useful for gynecological complaints when there is pain with spasms, chills, dryness of skin and constipation due to dryness. Dong Quai is often considered the female version of ginseng and it helps women feel good.

Women who take Black Cohosh and Dong Quai should be aware that these herbs should not be consumed during pregnancy and nursing.

They should also be aware that Chaste Tree may take several months to balance a woman's hormones, depending on that particular woman and her health circumstances.

It may also work faster and women may notice a difference in a month.

Author's Bio: 

Marilyn Zink is a chartered herbalist and publisher of The Herbal Collective magazine, which she has been publishing for the past 16 years.

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