Women and herbs: Treating common female problems with herbal remedies

Endometriosis, yeast infections, bladder problems, fertility issues, menopausal symptoms, and other common female health problems can benefit greatly from herbal medicine. From adolescence to old age, there are herbs to help bring on delayed periods, decrease heavy periods, ease cramps, stop night sweats, even out mood swings, and help control menopausal symptoms. There are even herbs to help increase milk production for nursing mothers.

Some medicinal herbs are especially suited for women. Evening primrose oil, wild yam, chasteberry, red clover, black cohosh, clary sage, and other herbs are known to help balance a woman's system. These "female" herbs can regulate the system during childbearing years, help ease the pain of childbirth, and stop hot flashes during menopause. All through a woman's life, herbs are there to help regulate hormones and make life easier. Many common female health problems can be solved right at home with herbs and lifestyle changes.

Herbs for women
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This woman takes evening primrose oil to stop painful periods.

Medicinal herbs are often used in the treatment of female health problems.

Women’s health problems include everything from mild yeast infections to fertility issues. Many of a woman's complaints can be treated with herbs and aromatherapy.

Yeast infections are common.

Yeast infection, also known as candidiasis, is a common complaint from women. Symptoms include itching, irritation, inflammation, unpleasant odor, discharge, swelling, and pain. Causes may stem from long exposure to antibiotics, a weakened immune system, ph imbalance, and hormonal imbalances. Sometimes spermicidal cream can aggravate a yeast infection. The cream kills friendly bacteria that helps protect the vagina from disease causing micro-organisms causing a yeast overgrowth. Yeast infection can also spread to the urinary system and the rectum. It is also transferred easily from sexual partners. (Men get yeast infections, too.)

Herbal remedies for yeast infections:

Many herbal remedies can help heal yeast infections in women. Herbal douches include diluted solutions of calendula, tea tree oil, witch hazel, sage, myrrh, chamomile, white oak bark, vinegar, black walnut hull extract, barberry, cinnamon, mullein, rosemary, garlic, goldenseal, yellowroot, echinacea, raspberry or blackberry leaf, grapefruit seed extract, chlorophyll liquid, or salt water. Yogurt may also be beneficial. Use of fluorinated cortisone cream is not recommended. This treatment causes thinning and atrophy of skin.

Diet can help fight yeast infection.

Women that suffer from reoccurring yeast infections (also known as candidiasis) need to drink unsweetened cranberry juice diluted with water and green drinks. They should add garlic to the diet and consider taking vitamin B, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene supplements. Drinking herbal tea is helpful. Try licorice, squaw vine, and alfalfa. Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, yeasty breads, and mushrooms.

Directions for making an herbal suppository at home.

Suppositories may be of use in the treatment of yeast infections. Combine a quarter cup of warm cocoa butter with 10 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops of thyme essential oil. Mix well. Roll into 10 bullet shaped suppositories and place on a plate lined with waxed paper. Place in refrigerator until firm and then store in covered container. Use as needed by inserting into vagina and/or rectum until condition is cleared up.

Women and bladder problems

Women suffer from more bladder and urinary problems than men. Do not drink citrus juice if suffering from urinary problems as this acid can irritate the urinary tract. Visit my page about treating bladder problems with herbal remedies for more information.

Herbs for vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness is a problem for many women. Blend equal parts distilled witch hazel and pure aloe vera gel. Mix in some slippery elm powder for use as an herbal lubricant. Rejuvenate the vagina with a mixture of almond oil, ylang-ylang essential oil, and lavender essential oil. Diluted rose essential oil also works wonders -- and even though it is expensive -- the results are worth the money.

Diet to increase fertility

Fertility problems are becoming more and more common. Women considering pregnancy should try eating more sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, avocados, dried apricots, carrots, soybeans, and oily fish. Drinking nettle, red clover blossom, and raspberry/blackberry leaf tea can also help increase fertility. Calcium and magnesium supplements are also beneficial to a woman's reproductive system.

Herbs for use during pregnancy

Safe herbs to use during pregnancy include raspberry and blackberry leaf teas -- which strengthen the uterus. Nettle leaf tea is also safe. Nettle tea supports bladder health which is especially important when pregnant. Oat straw tea is also safe. Oat straw helps calm the nerves and is full of nutrients. Ginger and chamomile are also considered safe and can help overcome nausea and morning sickness.

During labor, cramp bark tincture can ease contractions. Chamomile and catnip can help the body to relax during childbirth.

Nursing mothers that need more milk should drink fennel seed tea. Avoid large amounts of parsley and mint while breastfeeding since they reduce milk production.

Emmenagogues, such as parsley, mugwort, pennyroyal, Queen Anne's Lace seeds, and black cohosh are herbs that can cause miscarriage and should not be used when pregnant. Always consult with your healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy while pregnant or nursing.

Herbs can help PMS and menstrual problems.

Unpleasant menstrual problems like bloating, cramps, heavy bleeding, and PMS can be treated with diet and medicinal herbs. Add foods that contain baron to the diet such as leafy veggies, fruit, nuts, and seeds. Eat more calcium rich foods like corn, tofu, broccoli, and non-fat dairy. Reduce sugar and alcohol intake. Use evening primrose oil, turmeric, milk thistle seed extract, ginseng, wild yam, chasteberry, and black cohosh in teas and lotions. Exercise regularly and get a massage at least once a month. Painful periods and cramps can be sometimes be relieved with something as simple as raspberry leaf and ginger tea. Also experiment with valerian, peppermint, licorice, black cohosh, yarrow, and strawberry leaf teas and tinctures. Every woman is different. Try individual herbs and combinations to see which works best for your body.

Tips for treating endometriosis with medicinal herbs, essential oils, and home remedies

Endometriosis is a painful disorder that affects at least 10% of the women in the United States. Diagnosis is not usually made until a woman seeks help for fertility problems or sever pelvic pain. Women with endometriosis have normal tissue that grows in abnormal places. Uterine tissue dislodges from the uterus and moves into other places in the body. Exact causes for endometriosis are unknown.

Woman with endometriosis takes herbs to treat symptoms.
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This woman with endometriosis treats painful symptoms with herbal remedies.

Endometriosis can cause serious health problems.

Endometriosis is a condition where renegade uterine tissue attaches itself onto the ovaries, the intestines, or even the lungs and brain (although this is extremely rare.) Although the uterine tissue has moved, it still responds to hormonal changes by shedding a layer of blood every month (just like the uterus). This waste blood that should be flowing out of the body via the vagina doesn't have an outlet and causes serious problems.

Endometriosis can be relieved with herbs.

There are no quick fixes for endometriosis but by building up immunity and addressing hormonal imbalances much can be done to help. Take immune building herbs like astragalus and echinacea on a regular basis. Red clover tea can help balance hormones.

Try ginseng, yellowroot, echinacea, and astragalus.

To fight endometriosis, herbs that build up the immune system should be taken on a regular basis over a period of months and years. Ginseng, yellowroot, echinacea, and astragalus are all good for this purpose. Switch around so you don't build up immunity to one specific herb.

No one knows what causes endometriosis.

Causes of endometriosis are currently unknown but studies suggest various contributing factors including excess estrogen, progesterone deficiency, venereal disease, magnesium deficiency, overuse of prednisone or steroid drugs, exposure to toxic chemicals, hypoglycemia, too many x-rays, high fat diet, constipation, dependence on IUDs for birth control, overuse of tampons, pelvic infections, excess amounts of caffeine, and alcohol consumption could be partly to blame.

Symptoms of endometriosis include heavy periods and sharp pain.

Symptoms include heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged menstrual cycles, sharp pain, nausea, swelling, fluid retention, irritable bowels, insomnia, fatigue, depression, headaches, and infertility.

Use valerian, bee balm and white oak bark for pain.

Sharp pain associated with endometriosis can be soothed with valerian or bee balm tea. Sip slowly and try to relax. Another pain reliever, white oak bark, works like aspirin without upsetting or irritating the stomach.

Use essential oils to treat endometriosis.

Adding 15 drops of rosemary essential oil to a warm bath can help stop pain. Many essential oils are useful in the treatment of endometriosis. Geranium essential oil, clary sage essential oil, angelica essential oil, oregano essential oil, chamomile essential oil, and thyme essential oil may help. Use in massage, bath, and aromatherapy.

Balance hormones with burdock, nettle, blackberry leaf, wild yam, or chasteberry.

Balance excess hormones with red clover, burdock, nettle, blackberry leaf, wild yam, or chasteberry tea. Chasteberry is usually included in the treatment of any menstrual problem and has been used by women for thousands of years due to its estrogen balancing properties.

Herbal recipe to help balance female hormones:

A good blend to try is 1 teaspoon of dried chasteberry, 1 teaspoon of dried Echinacea root, 1 teaspoon of wild yam, 1 teaspoon of cramp bark, 1 teaspoon of blackberry leaf, and ½ teaspoon of motherwort. Simmer in a quart of water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink four to six ounces several times per day.

In this interview from March 2018, NICHD infertility expert Dr. Esther Eisenberg discusses recent research to help diagnose endometriosis in women:

Take willow bark for endometriosis pain.

Pain can often be relieved with white willow bark tea. Sometimes a gentle massage can also help. Use lavender or rosemary essential oil in an almond oil base and rub in large circular motions over abdomen and upper thighs.

Other tips for treating endometriosis

Reducing body fat and eliminating caffeine should be top priority. Exercise and get a little early morning sunshine daily. Don't forget to try different herbal treatments including black cohosh, dandelion leaf, ginger, evening primrose oil, borage oil, and milk thistle seed in tea or tincture form.

Woman in window takes herbs to keep hot flashes at bay.
Picture of woman with flowers -- courtesy of Pexels.com

Menopausal symptoms can be treated with herbal remedies.

Tips for treating menopausal symptoms with medicinal herbs, diet, and home remedies

Menopause is normal in women over 50. Menopause is a natural condition of the female body that marks the end of childbearing years – usually around the age of fifty. Menopause occurs after a gradual reduction in the production of estrogen by the ovaries and results in a final cessation of monthly menstruation cycles. To put it simply – menopausal women do not have monthly periods.

Medicinal herbs help stop uncomfortable symptoms of menopause.

Medicinal herbs are a menopausal woman's best friend. Evening primrose oil, milk thistle seed, ginseng, wild yam, licorice root, black cohosh, kudzu root, and alfalfa are all excellent choices for overall benefits during menopause. Ginseng and chasteberry (vitex) are proven to bring quick and lasting relief from hot flashes. Skullcap is known to halt mood swings. Black cohosh and red clover contain natural estrogen-like compounds that ease many menopausal complaints. A great herbal blend for treating menopausal symptoms is equal parts chasteberry, black cohosh, ginseng, and licorice root. These four herbs balance and complement each other. Combine and use in tea or tincture form.

Help for menopausal women

Some food supplements offer special benefits to menopausal women. Royal jelly, kelp, iodine and potassium, B complex, flax oil, vitamin E, and vitamin C are excellent choices. Try one at a time for a week or two or until improvements are noticed.

Menopausal symptoms can be mild or severe.

Most women in today's society experience at least one and possibly many symptoms during menopause. Symptoms range from mildly irritating to life threatening and include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, decreased libido, poor circulation, irritability, calcium imbalances, mood swings, depression, headaches, heart palpitations, dryness, urine leakage when coughing or sneezing, appearance of male characteristics such as facial hair, and body shape changes. No wonder we dread aging!

Good diet is the best remedy for menopausal symptoms.

The best way to avoid unpleasant menopausal symptoms is with diet. Good nutrition is a key to maintaining youthful vigor and energy. Foods that contain baron can be especially helpful and include leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, and legumes. The same goes for calcium. Eat plenty of non GMO corn, seeds, tofu, broccoli, and low-fat dairy.

Try exercise and massage.

Exercise and stretching are also extremely important to maintaining health and vitality during menopause. Weight training is recommended as the best way to keep tissue and skin from sagging. Muscle and skin tone can also be greatly improved by gentle massage. Use good carrier like grape seed oil with geranium and ylang-ylang essential oils for best results.

Menopausal symptoms can be relieved with lifestyle changes.

Sometimes menopausal symptoms are aggravated by smoking, pollution, and stress. Get plenty of fresh, clean air, and find ways to relax on a daily basis. Menopausal women should try aromatherapy and warm baths. Both can work wonders on the female system.

Menopause is a time to enjoy life.

Menopause is NOT a health problem or diseases. It is a wonderful stage of life that offers freedom from periods, pregnancies, and child rearing responsibilities. Menopause is a time to become a wise woman, for healing, for coming into our own. Women can use this time in life to nurture greater insights into being, to cultivate deeper understanding of life, and to use our talents to make the world a better place.

Hemochromatosis - the opposite of anemia

Menopausal women can also develop an iron overload condition called hemochromatosis. Symptoms include joint pain, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, poor skin color (grayish tint), loss of sex drive, liver problems, pancreas abnormalities, enlarged spleen, and heart palpitations.

It is thought that turmeric, which contains curcumin, can help remove iron from the blood. Turmeric is a wonderful spice to keep in the kitchen. The health benefits of turmeric are numerous and include lowering bad cholesterol levels and stopping arthritis pain.

If iron overload is suspected, mention it to your healthcare professional. You may need to give blood more often or even have blood removed by a physician.

* Always consult with a health care professional before using any herbal remedy. Licorice should not be used for over four weeks without medical supervision. People with high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, weak kidneys, heart problems , or liver conditions should avoid licorice. Licorice should not be used by pregnant or breast-feeding women or by men with sexual dysfunctions. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin which can cause serious side effects such as headaches, fatigue, high blood pressure, and even heart attacks when mixed with certain drugs or taken in high doses. It may also cause water retention, which can lead to swelling and other problems. People taking dopamine related medications should avoid chasteberry. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies especially when pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription medications. Never take any herbal remedies in early pregnancy without consulting your healthcare professional.

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