PMS - The Naturopathic Solution

P.M.S - three little letters that strike fear into the hearts of men, the dreaded week (or maybe two) when the usually calm and serene women in their lives become unpredictable and scary creatures best to be placated at all costs! Well it’s no fun for us females either. We typically dread the onset of these monthly symptoms, which can have an impact over many aspects – emotional, physical, mental.

Premenstrual Syndrome occurs during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and it is commonly linked to hormonal changes in the body and the impact they have on the central nervous system. The list of possible symptoms is a long one.


Headaches, bloating, constipation, mood swings, skin breakouts, sugar cravings, breast tenderness, digestive problems, depression, irritability, fatigue, abdominal cramping, increased appetite, fainting/dizziness, lack of concentration, insomnia, weight gain, backache and anxiety/tension.


Water Retention, breast tenderness – Dandelion leaf, Parsley, Yarrow, Corn silk

Abdominal cramping – Crampbark, Skullcap, Black Cohosh

Mood Swings – Chamomile, Melissa Insomnia

Anxiety/Depression – Valeriana, Passiflora, Melissa, Motherwort, Skullcap, Oats

Mood Swings, Depression, Skin breakouts, irritability – Vitex Agnus Castus , Wild Yam

Dizziness, fatigue, concentration – Angelica sinensis, Paoenia

Constipation, digestive issues, bloating, weight gain – Bitters such as Berberis, Dandelion root, Milk Thistle and Carminatives such as Fennel, Peppermint, Chamomile, Melissa.

Headaches, breast tenderness pain – Gingko, Feverfew

Excessive sweating – Sage, Ashwaganda Contraindications – Feverfew should not be used during pregnancy or if blood thinners are being taken. Black Cohosh – Should not be used during pregnancy or where liver problems exist.


Firstly, balanced nutrition is key.

• Avoid high acidic foods and foods with high salt content.

• High Acidic foods are – dairy, chocolate, fatty foods, refined/processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, red meat.

• Avoid raw and cold foods as the digestive system may be too sluggish to digest these as they take more energy to break down than cooked foods.

• Excessive consumption of animal products should be avoided as these can disturb the body’s natural hormonal balance and thus worsen any PMS symptoms.

Good Foods

• Legumes (iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc)

• Seaweed (Iodine, iron)

• Wholegrains (zinc, iron, Vita B6, Essential Fatty Acids, Vit E)

• Spirulina – (Iron)

• Fresh vegetables (Iron, Vit C, calcium, folic acid, Vit A)

• Seeds (Essential Fatty Acids, zinc, magnesium, Vit E)\

• Foods which contain phytoestrogens: a good source of soy, flaxseed, nuts, wholegrains and apples.

• Detoxing a few days before with fresh juices can help support the liver and improve sluggish digestion.


Vitamin B complex especially B6 and folic acid

Calcium/Magnesium Evening Primrose Vitamin E



Try massage with the following herbs or putting a few drops in to your bath…

Moody – Geranium

Irritable – Lavender

Depression – Bergamot

Water Retention -Juniper


Regular exercise

Water 1.5– 2 litres per day

Rosehip tea – Vitamin C

Acupressure – There are acupressure points you can try, which may alleviate the abdominal cramping associated with PMS - Sp 12/13, they are located in the middle of the crease, at the top of the leg in the pelvic area.

Also two finger widths below the belly button is another point for relieving menstrual cramps and PMS (cv 6) Due to the nature of PMS some of these tips will work and some wont depending on the individual, so trial and error is required and patience until you find the right combination that works for you.

Happy Healing!

About the author: 

Denise O'Connor qualified as a Naturopath and herbalist from the College of Naturopathic medicine in 2012. If you wish to contact her please do so through the Network Team.