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Menstruation is the normal monthly breakdown and discharge of endometrial tissue lining the uterus and also refers to the arbitrarily given beginning of the menstrual cycle. To prepare the uterus for possible pregnancy, this tissue thickens as a part of the natural menstrual cycle.

Ovulation is the releasing of the egg by the ovary, and occurs halfway through the menstrual cycle. The egg then slowly progresses down the fallopian tube to the uterus. If the egg is not fertilized by the sperm, the uterine lining and egg are shed. This material, the menses, then passes through the cervix to the vagina and out of the body. The entire discharge process is known as menstruation.

Both menstruation and ovulation begin at puberty. This is usually between the ages of 9 to 14. Menstruation ends with the onset of menopause.

The following hormones are involved in this process:

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
Luteinizing hormone (LH),


Menstruation is a natural physiologic process controlled by hormone levels in the female body. Menstruation occurs monthly if fertilization of the released egg fails to occur.

The alkaline nature of menstrual fluid combines with the acidic vaginal environment, balancing the chemistry (pH) of the vagina with normal, healthy flora. This balance may be disturbed by the use of tampons, for example, which may also cause injury to the vaginal walls, inviting infection e.g. HPV.

Signs & Symptoms

Monthly Vaginal discharge of blood and endometrium

In a healthy, young female, this should be asymptomatic. A wide range of symptoms, however, are frequently experienced:

Headache which usually disappears at the onset of menstruation
Sacral pain
Abdominal pain
Change in body temperature
Cyclic edema or "water weight gain"
Changes in emotion and behavior

Complications of menstruation:

Abdominal uterine bleeding
Iron deficiency anemia due to temporary loss of blood
Menorrhagia (heavy bleeding)
Premenstrual syndrome
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS)
Uterine cancer, if hormone balance is extremely disturbed

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function: Women's Health

General Supplements

Bee propolis*
Calcium400 - 600 mg
Chlorophyll25 mg daily
Iron 10 - 20 mg
Vitamin A*
Vitamin C*
Vitamin E100 - 400 IU
Vitamin K 1 - 2 mcg

* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.


Bee propolis, is sometimes recommended. It may be used in the form of a salve, as well as other forms.

The hormonal, antioxidant: melatonin is recommended, particularly for mood disorders.

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

Iron requirement for women of childbearing age exceeds that of men in the same age group because females must replace iron lost during menstruation. The Recommended Daily Allowance of iron for a menstruating woman is about 18 milligrams per day while that for men is only 10 milligrams per day. Philippine diets provide 14 to 39.6 milligrams per day; Ethiopian diets provide 98 to 1,418 milligrams per day. In contrast, westernized diets provide only 10 to 12 milligrams of iron per 2,000 calories. Because of processing and refining methods, westernized diets cannot meet the iron requirements of women in their reproductive years. Hence, oral supplements of iron should be taken in addition to following a Dietary Goals Diet.

Menstruation ceases in vitamin A toxicity. Doses of 25,000 IU per day over a prolonged period or 1,000,000 IU given at once are toxic.

Extreme dieting or weight loss can cause cessation of menstruation. When normal eating patterns are resumed, menstrual periods return.

Homeopathic Remedy

Amenorrhea (absence of menses)

1. Aconitum Napellus tinct. - sudden cessation (shock?).

2. Ignatia amara - changed behavior (grief?).

Cramp - Uterine

1. Cactus grandiflorus - 3C to 15C.

2. Sepia - indifference to loved ones.


1.* Conium maculatum - 15C but, 1M to 10M in single, weekly doses works well, especially where a rash precedes mensis.

2. Magnesia phosphorica - cramping pains, better for warmth.

3. Colocynthis - Doubled up, better for firm pressure.

4. Chamomilla tinct. - unbearable.

5. Pulsatilla nigricans - Weepiness.

Uterine Bleeding

1.* Trillium - 30C

2. Calcarea carbonica - preceded by weight gain.

3. Sepia - faintness and irritability (approach of menopause?).

Uterine Hemorrhage

Hamamelis virginica - 6X to 15C

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency
Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Tissue Salts

Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation)

Calc. Phos.at puberty, scanty flow;
Ferr. Phos.bright red flow, flushed face, quickened pulse;
Kali Mur.dark blood;
Kali Phos.tearful, sensitive women, dark red flow;
Mag. Phos.primary remedy for cramps;
Nat. Mur.scanty, dark menses, preceded by frontal headache;
Siliceaicy coldness, constipation, sweating of the feet;

4 tablets every 15 minutes during acute phase, less frequently once relief is obtained.

Menorrhagia (Profuse menstruation):

Calc. Fluor.menorrhagia with bearing down pains;
Calc. Phos.menses too early in young girls, also when anemia is present;
Ferr. Phos.menses too frequent, too profuse;
Kali Mur.dark, clotted blood, leukorrhea;


Herbal Approaches


Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
False Unicorn root
Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Amenorrhea (delayed or absent menses)

Blue Cohosh
Chaste Tree (Vitex)

Dysmenorrhea (painful menses)

Black Cohosh
Blue Cohosh
Chaste Tree (Vitex)
False Unicorn root
St. John's Wort
Squaw VIne
Wild Yam

Menorrhagia (excessive menses)

Lady's Mantle

Metrorrhagia (uterine bleeding other than menses)

Lady's Mantle

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


In Native American medicine Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) is commonly used. Squaw Vine (Mitchella repens) was another favored North American Indian remedy for "female problems." It was administered during the last trimester of pregnancy to aid parturition and to prevent miscarriage. It was also used for menstrual problems. It is still considered to be a female tonic.

False Unicorn root is recommended as a uterine tonic for pain (dysmenorrhea) and cramps.

Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) is one of the best known and has the support of clinical studies. It is often used to treat menorrhagia characterized by lengthy and frequent, almost colorless flow.

For excessive bleeding, Vitex has been recommended, although many herbalists prefer to use a blend of several different astringent herbs: Witch Hazel Leaves (Hamamelis virginiana) being widely used.

The principal Ayurvedic herb is Ashwagandha.

Newall has compiled a list of hormonally Active Herbs:

Agnus CastusHormonal imbalance disorders
AlfalfaEstrogenic, in vivo
Cohosh, BlackEstrogenic
FucusHyper-/hypothyroidism reported.
GinsengEstrogenic, human
HorseradishMay depress thyroid activity
LicoriceMineralocorticoid activity, human.
estrogenic in vivo, in vitro
Pleurisy RootEstrogenic
Red CloverEstrogenic in vivo
Saw PalmettoEstrogenic and anti-androgenic in vivo,
human use in prostate cancer.
VervainInhibition of gonadotrophic activity
Wild CarrotEstrogenic

Vitex (Chaste Tree fruit) is uniquely recommended for menstrual disorders b ythe German Commssion E.


Anonymous: Therapeutic botanical protocol for dysmenorrhea. The Protocol J. of Botanical Medicine, Summer, 1995:84-92.

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Costello, C.H. & C.L. Butler. 1950. The estrogenic and uterine-stimulating activity of asclepias tuberosa. A preliminary investigation. J of the Am Pharm Assoc, 39. pp. 233-237.

Hoffmann, D: The New Holistic Herbal. Element, 1983. Third edition 1990.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Heavy periodsCypress Essence.
Irregular periodsChamomile Essence,
Geranium Essence.
Painful periodsCalendula Essence,
Caraway Essence,
Cardamom Essence,
Clary Sage Essence,
Juniper Essence,
Marjoram Essence,
Rosemary Essence.
Scanty periodsJuniper Essence,
Lavender Essence.

Related Health Conditions

Premenstrual syndrome



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