Guest Blog By FreddieAnn Nappi
If you’re anything like me, then you know that PMS is no joke. I have struggled for years, and I am constantly searching for any new source of relief. The tiredness, the extreme bloating, and the pain which can be completely debilitating; I’ve had it all. I have a strong family history of endometriosis and I try to be extremely aware and proactive when it comes to my reproductive health. I love to incorporate my study of herbalism into my own health journey whenever it is possible. In doing so, I’ve made incredible progress in relieving my symptoms. One of the PMS symptoms I struggle with treating is most often depression (“monthly blues”) and being unable to relax, it’s one of those symptoms that is often easy to overlook as it’s not as “in your face” as the cramps or bloating. I have recently found the most relief from a few of my favorite herbal allies, in the form of a luscious and easy to make salve! The two main herbal ingredients are St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) and Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Both of these herbs are known for their antidepressant and antispasmodic effects. Whenever you’re in a ‘blue mood’ these herbs may very well become your best friends. I use this salve from the moment I begin to feel the onset of PMS and I have found it to be a great comfort. I also recommend doing your own research and discovering which herbs work best to treat your symptoms, everyone is different and may have more positive results from a different combination of herbs.
- 1.8 oz / 50 g glass jar
- 1 oz / 30 g dried St. John’s wort
- 1 oz / 30 g dried Chamomile
- 8 oz / 230 g organic olive oil (or another carrier oil of your choice)
- 1 oz / 30 g beeswax
- 20-30 drops of Bergamot essential oil
- 5-10 drops vitamin E oil
- Cheesecloth for straining oil
- 2.4 oz / 70 g jars/tins
The first step is to infuse your St. John’s wort and Chamomile into your carrier oil. I have found the most success in using solar infusion for my oils, but feel free to use whichever infusing method you are most comfortable with. Fill your 8 oz. glass jar with your dried herbs. Next, pour your 8 ounces of organic olive oil (or other carrier oil) over the top, making sure the dry herb is covered completely. Add in a few drops of vitamin E oil and shake well to mix everything together. Label the jar with the date and contents, and place the jar in a location which has the most exposure to the sun. Allow the oil to infuse for 2-3 weeks, making sure to shake the jar at least once a day.
Once the oil has finished infusing, use cheesecloth to strain the oil into a glass bowl. Using a double boiler, or a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water, melt your ounce of beeswax. I typically use 1 ounce of beeswax for every 8 ounces of oil, you can use slightly more or less depending on the preferred texture of the salve. Once your beeswax has completely melted, add in the infused oil. Stir well until fully mixed together. When the salve seems well mixed, add in the bergamot essential oil. Stir well.
Now your salve is ready to be poured into your containers/tins! Once cooled completely, the salve is ready to use and should have a shelf life of at least six months.
Other herbs I have found to be helpful in relieving PMS symptoms
- Burdock root (Arctium lappa). Particularly useful in those who suffer from blood clots. I typically take in a powdered capsule form.
- Raspberry leaf (Rubus spp.). Has been used for centuries to tone the uterus and relieve PMS. I have found drinking raspberry leaf tea to be quite useful.
- Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus). I could not survive a menstrual cycle without my cramp bark tincture! As the name implies, cramp bark is excellent for relaxing muscles and relieving pain caused by cramps.
- Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). A wonderful nervine, valerian is great to have on hand when suffering from PMS symptoms. It also combines well with cramp bark.
Hi, I’m FreddieAnn! I’m a native of western North Carolina, and I was blessed enough to grow up surrounded by the beauty and fascinating culture of the Blue Ridge mountains. I am an Alternative Medicine student currently focusing on Herbalism and Health and Wellness Coaching. I have a passion for what I am studying, and I welcome any opportunity to aid others as they begin their own journey into natural healthcare. Connect with me over on Instagram and Facebook.