PMS and Herbal Remedies
Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS, refers to a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that consistently occur during the latter phase of the menstrual cycle. These symptoms vary from one woman to another, and afflict an estimated number of up to 5 per cent of all women days prior to their menstrual flow. Risks increase with age. However, it is not unheard of in younger populations.
There are herbs proven safe and effective in managing premenstrual syndrome. Phytoestrogens are organic compounds naturally occurring in plants that have always shown positive estrogenic activities inside the human body. Isoflavones are among the plant-based compounds that exhibit strong phytoestrogen properties. Dong quai and red clover in particular have been noted to contain high quantities of isoflavones, producing noticeable health benefits when ingested. In conjunction with B vitamins, phytoestrogens found in herbs can significantly alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
PMS and Dong Quai
Dong Quai Reverses Chemical Imbalance
There has been an abundance of literature devoted to PMS, but the exact causation remains under scrutiny. Hormonal imbalance has long been postulated to be a plausible explanation. However, recent studies haven’t been able to produce a strong correlation between changes in hormones and PMS. What we do know is that apart from sex hormones there are chemical compounds that contribute to its symptoms, and one of the major compounds is found in the nervous system. The neurotransmitter serotonin is implicated in the chemical reactions that bring about not only changes in mood, but also physiological disturbances like palpitations. This is exactly what Angelica sinensis, or dong quai, has been reputed for over the centuries. This herb creates a homeostatic effect on endogenous compounds interacting with serotonin.
Red Clover Mimics Endogenous Estrogen
Trifolium pretense, or red clover, is widely believed to be one of the safest sources of estrogenic isoflavones as it is very well tolerated by the human body. More importantly, anecdotal evidence has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, it has even been used to maintain the body in an alkaline state, notably the female reproductive system, to make it at optimum health for conception. One of the reasons for its popularity is the fact that it rebalances activities of estrogen and counters the unwanted effects of irregular menstrual cycle. And isoflavones unique to red clover, such as irilone and pratensein, have been the subject of many recent studies in an effort to quantify the health benefits they bring to women of all ages.
Isoflavones are the Best Phytoestrogens
Not all phytoestrogens are isoflavones, but the most common and readily available are isoflavones, the reason why data on isoflavones is also the most extensive. Fortunately, research on isoflavones is very encouraging while there are other forms of phytoestrogens. Isoflavones contain a phenolic ring not present in other estrogen-like compounds, and this makes them indispensable as far as binding to estrogen receptors is concerned. Both dong quai and red clover contain classes of isoflavones that are highly regarded as phytoestrogens, and their combination is touted to be very effective against PMS.