Three years ago I was shopping with my husband in a small town several hours drive from home. I suddenly had to rush back to the car when I realized that I was experiencing a menstrual flood. This had never happened before. I was shocked and became frightened that the bleeding wouldn’t stop! I thought that there must be a natural method that could help me. After cleaning up in a nearby restroom, pale and weak, but not ready to give up, I asked my husband drive me to the town’s natural health store.
‘No’, the woman who worked there assured me with an amused smile, “there’s nothing that stops menstrual bleeding or slows it down.” The bleeding eventually did stop on its own, but that comment by a well-meaning, but ignorant employee, left me annoyed and inspired to search for herbs I knew must exist that could do what she said was impossible.
I found them.
Red raspberry leaf, ladies mantle, shepherd’s purse, and yarrow all slow or reduce menstrual bleeding. With a little digging and experimentation, I found many other solutions to prevent the problem.
Use one or a combination of herbs to make an infusion, which is also known as a herbal tea, or buy a herbal tincture at the natural food store. I chose to drink an infusion made from a blend of 1-2 tsp each: dried red raspberry leaves and ladies mantle leaves, I covered the pot and steeped the herbs for 10 minutes in just-boiled water. This treatment works best if you have one cup a day for about week before menstruation and 1-2 cups during your period. If you like it sweeter, add several pieces of licorice root or a few lemonbalm leaves to steep with the red raspberry and ladies mantle leaves, or ¼ tsp honey after the tea is ready.
An effective aromatherapy treatment is to rub your abdomen several times a day with 1 tsp olive oil or sweet almond oil blended with 2-3 drops sage or vitex essential oil.
I also came across an unusual suggestion for reducing profuse menstruation in an old herbal by Dian Dincin Buchman in my personal library. ‘Grate and dry carrots and eat one piece at a time several times a day, as a potent aid to regulate menstruation. Grate about a pound from the heaviest part of the carrot. Dry it on paper in the sun for a week or two until it shrivels up into small pieces.” She also suggests adding a few grains of cayenne pepper to the herbal tea of your choice, drinking diluted lemon juice during your period, eating lentils and drinking a half cup of strong thyme tea, morning and evening. She suggests making shepherd’s purse tea by infusing a handful of the herb in a pint of boiling water. Drink the tea warm if possible. Use 2 cups three times a day.
A long-term solution to address the underlying cause of hormonal imbalance, is the wonderful woman’s herb Vitex aka Chasteberry, which helps balance hormones. A 1930s scientific study using a tincture of dried vitex berries found that a month or two of using this herb normalized menstrual cycles and reduced flow.
Since excessive menstrual bleeding (or menorrhagia) can indicate several serious problems, be sure to consult your doctor for a diagnosis before beginning self-treatment.
An excess of estrogen and prolactin or an excess of a hormone-like substance called prostaglandin 2 are two possible causes for heavy menstrual periods. A sluggish thyroid also increases menstruation. So can endometriosis, uterine fibroids, an IUD birth control device, and blood thinning drugs.
Menstruation normally causes a decrease in physical energy, and if you bleed heavily you may find that your blood pressure becomes low, leading to a feeling of exhaustion and an irresistible desire to take a nap during the day! Excessive menstruation can lead to anemia and that can also lead to extreme fatigue. Some medical researchers believe that iron deficiency stimulates bleeding, which leads to an even greater iron deficiency.
To correct anemia, drink herbal teas made from herbs that have high levels of iron including stinging nettle, oatstraw herb, red clover, red raspberry, goji berries, and rooibos. Your natural food store will have pills or liquid Floridix which is highly absorbable, unlike iron pills dispensed through conventional drug stores.
If you experience cramping along with heavy bleeding, use the same herbs suggested for alleviating menstrual cramps-wild yam root, false unicorn root, cramp bark and American spikenard-to reduce the severity of both of the problems.
Herbs to Reduce Excessive Menstruation
Vitex (aka Chasteberry)- regulates and normalizes hormones connected to the reproductive system. It is especially beneficial and the herb of choice for many women to relieve menopausal changes. It has a profound action in lessening ‘hot flashes.’ Studies verify that vitex increases the production of lutenizing hormones, enhancing the progesterone cycle. At the same time it inhibits the release of the follicle-stimulating hormone, FSH, and normalizes the estrogen cycle. Vitex may be used for acute situations but it is most effective if taken over a prolonged period of time. No side effects have ever been reported from extensive and extended use of this plant.
Red raspberry: Due to the drying effect of the tannins it contains, Red raspberry is used to treat profuse and painful menstruation. It relaxes uterine and intestinal spasms and strengthens uterine walls. Red Raspberry leaves are nutritious too – containing vitamins A, B, C, and E – they’re also rich in calcium, phosphorus, niacin and iron. They are an excellent source of manganese, a trace mineral used by the body to produce healthy connective tissue, such as bone matrix and cartilage and an important factor in energy metabolism. Red Raspberry promotes healthy nails, bones, teeth and skin. Drinking 1-2 cups of red raspberry leaf every day is a nutritious tonic tea.
Lady’s mantle:Lady’s Mantle’s astringent and styptic properties help reduce period pains and lessen heavy menstrual bleeding. It helps a woman’s body adjust to changing hormone levels during menopause. It is an anti-estrogenic herb that helps regulate irregular cycles, relieves cramps.
Yarrow:A catalyst for the female reproductive system, it has a positive effect on ovarian problems, menstrual irregularity, menstrual cramps, and menopausal symptoms, insomnia, nervous tension, stress related conditions;. It is used to reduce excessive menstrual bleeding, to ease menstrual cramps and to stimulate delayed or absent menstrual cycles. Famous German herbalist Maria Treban writes: “Yarrow is a medicinal herb that would be difficult to be without; it is of great value for many illnesses but first and foremost, it is a herb for women. I cannot recommend Yarrow enough for women…A woman during menopause should take advantage of Yarrow tea and save herself a lot of inner restlessness and other problems.” Drink a cup of yarrow tea daily;
Shepherd’s purse:Shepherd’s purse is used to stop heavy bleeding and hemorrhaging, particularly from the uterus when taken internally. It has also been used to treat postpartum hemorrhage. It is considered most effective for the treatment of chronic uterine bleeding disorders, including uterine bleeding due to the presence of uterine fibroids. Shepherd’s purse has been used internally to treat cases of blood in the urine and bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, such as with bleeding ulcers. An astringent agent, shepherd’s purse constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow. Shepherd’s purse is also thought to cause the uterine muscle to contract, which also helps reduce bleeding. It is a remedy for blood pressure problems, nosebleeds, irregular heartbeat, wounds and burns.
Cautions: Pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with kidney stones or kidney disease should avoid Shepherd’s purse. Consult with your doctor before taking Shepherd’s purse if you have blood pressure, thyroid gland, or heart problems.