The next time PMS sets in, you might want to rethink reaching for Tylenol or Advil. While they may be necessary in some cases for relieving menstrual cramps and other aches and pains, their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties come at a high price. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Advil, can have life threatening adverse effects and are the cause of thousands of heart attacks each year. They also turn off some important functions, such as the repair and maintenance of stomach lining, which can result in gastric ulcerations and perforations. In fact, more than 16,500 people die in the United States each year due to NSAID related gastrointestinal bleeding.
Acetaminophen, on the other hand, is one of the most dangerous drugs for the liver and has been proven to numb emotional states by suppressing joy and empathy.
Thankfully, mother nature provides us with an abundance of powerful plant remedies that don’t come with the nasty side effects. Below are a few supplements you can taketo alleviate pain, the next time PMS hits.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage essential oil is a powerful remedy for PMS, as it has the incredible ability to treat both the physical and emotional symptoms. Its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties make it a powerful pain reliever and one of the most popular essential oils for menstrual cramps. Its anti-spasmodic properties work to relax nerve impulses, reducing uterine spasms, which is what causes cramping. In fact, a 2011 study found that clary sage essential oil was even more effective than acetaminophen for menstrual pain.
It can also prevent heavy and painful periods due to its ability to regulate estrogen levels. Clary sage’s plant derived, phytoestrogens, protect from high estrogen levels that occur due to genetics and environmental factors such as endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are toxins that mimic estrogen and phytoestrogens prevent the buildup of excess estrogen by allowing less estrogens into the body.
Clary sage’s anti-depressant effects improve PMS related mood imbalances by influencing dopamine levels in the brain. Clary sage also has potent calming properties due to its ability to significantly reduce cortisol levels. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Researchfound that simply inhaling clary sage essential oil reduced cortisol levels by 31 percent, improved thyroid hormone levels and reduced depression by 36 percent.
Directions: Rub two drops of clary sage essential oil on your abdomen daily, starting a couple days before your period. Continue applying two drops daily until no longer needed.
Studies show that women who experience PMS symptoms are often deficient in calcium. One of the most powerful studies to date, reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that daily calcium supplementation of 1,200 milligrams reduced both the physical and psychological symptoms associated with PMS. According to researchers, calcium reduced the incidence and severity of menstrual cramps as well as other aches and pains by 54%, psychological symptoms by 45%, food cravings by 54% and water retention by 36%.
Research suggests that turmeric is more effective at reducing pain and inflammation than aspirin and ibuprofen. Its active ingredient, curcumin, inhibits the synthesis of the hormone like compound prostaglandin,which is what stimulates uterine contractions and contributes to pain and inflammation.
In a study of women with PMS, 32 women were given 100 mg of curcumin twice daily on the seven days preceding their period, as well the first three days of their period. Researchers found that the women who received curcumin experienced a nearly 60% reduction in premenstrual symptoms.
There are also many studies showing that curcumin is very effective in balancing out estrogen dominance which can contribute to PMS, endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and breast cancer. Curcumin helps to eliminate excess estrogen and xenoestrogens, which are chemicals in our environment that mimic estrogen.
Most people are deficient in magnesium as it is and then when a woman hits the second half of her menstrual cycle, magnesium levels diminish even more. This can trigger PMS symptoms because magnesium deficiency increases both the contraction of smooth muscle and the level of prostaglandins.
Magnesium helps to relieve menstrual discomfort byrelaxing spasming uterine muscles, improving blood flow and curbing the production of prostaglandins, which reduces inflammation. It also regulates cortisol, which calms the nervous system, regulates mood and relieves headaches. Dr. Lara Briden, ND, author of the Period Repair Manual calls magnesium her “front-line prescription” for women with PCOS, PMS, period painand symptoms of perimenopause.
In a study of 192 women taking a daily dose of 400 mg of magnesium, “95 percent experienced less breast pain and had less weight gain, 89 percent suffered less nervous tension and 43 percent had fewer headaches.
Magnesium malate is a form of magnesium that is attached to malic acid (an organic compound found in fruits and vegetables) and can be especially powerful for period pain. The malic acid makes it highly bioavailable and also has pain relieving abilities, making it a top choice when it comes to menstrual cramps.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is high in a rare omega-6 fat called gamma linolic acid (GLA), which converts into a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. Its anti-inflammatory properties are said to help alleviate pain while its fatty acids help to balance hormones, which regulate the menstrual cycle and mood swings.
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.