Herbal Support for Women’s Reproductive Health
By Seed SistAs
The Seed SistAs are passionately dedicated to shining a light on herbal education and bringing back where it belongs, into your hands. Caring for and nurturing our bodies with herbs could be something that we are taught about throughout life.
Women’s wombs are organs of great creative force. We see this represented physically in the state of constant change and flux as the womb cycles through growing, shedding and shrinking each cycle through the menstruating years and with the potential of growing new life in the wonder of pregnancy and birth. Looking after your womb can be a gift to yourself to nurture your creative soul and the passions that give you joy, drive and lust for life.
There is a delicate balance of hormonal activity that creates the monthly cycle in a menstruating woman it is easy for this to be thrown out of balance. There are identifiable factors that can predispose effects on the hormone system such as ancestry, relationships, shock, trauma, diet, posture, physical injury, and the high levels of phthalates in food and water. Anyone with experience of persistent pain or pregnancy should always see a herbalist or contact us for a consultation.
Menarche or the first menstrual cycle, the potential to be a celebration of entry into the fertile years. The first bleed is the point that a girl moves towards womanhood. Many of the young women we work with are lucky enough to be part of a wider community of elders who are gifting menarche ceremonies to the next generation. An awful lot of young women however are not gifted this loving nourishment. This turbulent time sees little preparation or conscious awareness for millions. Just a little awareness and recognition can make a huge difference to the future menstrual and emotional health of an individual.
The menstrual cycle will continue to ebb and flow for around 35 years. There may be pregnancies along the way, births, miscarriages. And then the walk towards menopause and the cessation of the bleed. A time where psychic abilities and intuition might become more acute.
Common symptoms of an imbalance of the female reproductive system
• Pre-menstrual tension (PMT)
• Menstrual irregularities such as scant periods, spotting, heavy periods over many days
• Period cramps and pains
• Difficulty conceiving
Periods and Sensing Pain
Painful periods are medically termed dysmenorrhea. The interpretation of pain can vary from person to person but also depends on other factors like what foods we consume, how emotional or stable we feel, various life experiences and our childhood. Whatever the interpretation of pain is, you will know if you struggle to move, feel deep cramping sensations in the womb area, have spasmodic painful sensations, suffering from a bad back or feel super tired around your menstrual period.
Our society prefers to ignore the bleeding phase and the dominant narrative advises using a tampon and carrying on as normal. Advertising campaigns see smiling women horse riding and trampolining. Ideally firstly we need to acknowledge that our bodies are actually bleeding and may need more rest, at this time our ligaments are more relaxed so heavy lifting is not recommended.
Pain is our body bringing our attentions to something important and learning how to support and manage ourselves at this time is imperative.
Issues with painful periods arise from lack of blood flow to the area, postural problems or previous trauma (such as through child-birth), liver insufficiency (many hormones are processed through the liver), and prolonged stress or anxiety.
There is a theory that much of menstrual health issues stem from misalignment of the womb. There are ligaments and musculature that hold the womb in place and there is a host of issues that can affect the positioning. Particularly with menstrual cramps, the womb could be working harder to expel blood and as a result creating more cramping and pain. This could be an indicated factor if the flow alters throughout menstruation, heavy, light, back to heavy, red to brown etc.
Menstruation is a time of deep release, it is a monthly detox for the body both physically and emotionally. It is a time when the both emotions and body become more open. Ligaments become looser, leaving injuries vulnerable, and heightened emotions can also experienced around this time. These fluctuations should not be waved off as crazed rantings or over-emotional outpourings but rather expressions of feelings that might otherwise be kept under the surface.
Depending on the flow and the cycles, we recommend avoiding heavy lifting around the few days before and at the start of the monthly bleed. Taking steps to support and protect emotions is also recommended. If you know you will be due on at a certain time, try to factor in gentle walks, hot baths, time for reflection and creative writing, time to relax and nourish yourself. This may be more challenging with and irregular cycle but when you feel your period is near, create space in your diary to just relax.
We use a beautifully nurturing, supportive, nervine and womb tonic blend in a tea and suggest starting to drink it just a few days before menstruation is due. We use different herbs depending on what we have available in our stores and to make sure that the blend is balanced. The drying, tannin-rich nature of tonifying herbs like raspberry leaf and lady’s mantle, those herbs that support the tissues of the womb, can create a drying tea when used alone. This needs to be complimented with more soft, soothing herbs like calendula. We use other herbs to encourage circulation to the pelvic area such as yarrow, and herbs like dead nettle to relax tense musculature and release spasm. And we ensure that the nerves are supported by relaxing nerviness like mugwort and rose. And a little iron rich nourishment can be found in herbs such as nettle leaf.
Lush for Ladies Tea
Womb tonic, lymphatic, circulatory, relaxing
Herbs include: calendula, mugwort, yarrow, dead nettle, rose, nettle, raspberry leaf, lady’s mantle
6 parts calendula
3 parts Lady’s Mantle
3 parts Raspberry leaf
3 parts nettle
1 part rose petals
1 part yarrow
1 part mugwort
Add one heaped teaspoon per cup full to a tea pot and pour over boiling water. Steeep for 5-8 minutes, strain and drink a few cups daily around the menstrual period.
A well-rounded blend of herbs like red clover, calendula, yarrow, ladies mantle that support womb health, hormonal balance and healthy circulation of the blood and lymph.
Herbs in our blend: calendula, mugwort, yarrow, dead nettle, rose,
nettle, red clover & lady’s mantle
Yarrow is a circulatory herb especially to the pelvic region. It aids blood flow to the area promoting and supporting healing and the natural functions of the female reproductive organs. Yarrow has a strong affinity with psychic protection, as indicated by its powerful essential oils, protecting the plant from disease. Menstrual issues can relate to feelings safety around sexual encounters and/or a disconnection to the womb due to past trauma or negative associations. Yarrow can be a powerful ally to support healing on many levels when it comes to menstrual and reproductive health. Yarrow is not recommended in pregnancy
Rose: Ruled by Venus she embraces and encourages the power held in the feminine and in freedom of sexual expression.
Calendula; herb of the sun -super lymphatic deep cleansing
Nettle; iron tonic, strengthening, revitalizing and supportive to the blood
Lady’s Mantle; an excellent uterine tonic and has a strengthening and astringent effect on the entire female reproductive system. To help regulate menstruation or control menstrual flooding
Mugwort is a nervine relaxant and womb herb extraordinaire. With the quality of initiating a waking dream state, we can become more connected to our innate wisdom, and needs. Mugwort can teach us to contact our intuition and tap into what medicine we really need. She relaxes the musculature of the womb (again not recommended in pregnancy) and tones and supports the whole area of musculature and ligaments in the pelvic region.
Another herb that is indispensable is the Valerian – Organic Valerian Capsules – £6
Valerian – read more about this central nervous system relaxant here .
Long term support
Regular pelvic massage can help to realign the womb, improve pelvic circulation and if practiced over a few months can support menstrual flow.
Plotting the menstrual cycle, connecting in with the womb through pelvic massage, taking care and time out with each bleed and providing yourself with some nourishment and relaxation each month will improve the flow and pain associated with menstruation.
- Increased omega oils; flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- Lots of leafy greens for iron and mineral content
- Low refined sugar diet decreasing inflammation
- Womb/pelvic massage to encourage circulation to the area
- Exercise, gentle and care taken lifting around menstruation when ligaments are more relaxed