If you weren't raised going to a health food store, you’re not too late to find out about the amazing plants that can help us keep moodiness at bay so we can stop being the Grinch once a month. It is important to realize that some of these herbs and roots can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.
Here are some of the top herbs, roots and foods that are abundantly available as natural alternatives that don’t have a list of potentially harmful side effects. Mood swings in women are unfortunately something that happens often, so these might become some of your best friends. Remember, knowledge after all, is power.
I love this one. It’s similar to ginseng because it’s a root and what we call an adaptogen. That means it’s not a stimulant and not a relaxant. It’s a harmonizer. It brings you into balance hormonally and gives you what you need. Sounds magical right?
There are more benefits to this Peruvian root powder, it’s also an aphrodisiac, so if you get some of the raw chocolate bars with maca or add it to a smoothie, watch out baby!You can find maca at most health food stores and I recommend the raw powder over the capsules because it is more potent.
Don’t take too much because it’s very strong and takes some getting used to. Just be sure to take the recommended amount and don’t take it every day for a long time, it’s more of an as needed thing. Also here’s another disclaimer, it’s been used for centuries by Peruvians to increase fertility, so there’s that.
A word to the wise: as with any supplements, it’s important to do some research and not take advice (even mine) at face value so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
2. Black cohosh
Black cohosh is traditionally used by Native Americans to relieve menstrual cramps and the symptoms of menopause. Don’t worry, it’s not a hallucinogen. It’s pretty cool though, right?
Today it is commonly used for irritability and mood swings. It comes in a tincture form, keeping us calm, one drop at a time. It won’t taste good, so I recommend adding it to a smoothie or chasing it with lemon.
This is a mild sedative and an anti-inflammatory so be weary (pun intended) taking it in the morning or during the day as you might get tired. It’s also important to note that this can be used to induce labor and should not be consumed during pregnancy.
3. St. John’s wort
St. John’s wort is used as a natural antidepressant and also to treat moodiness. This is one of those remedies that can mess with birth control though, so use it with caution. This comes in capsules or tinctures. Gaia is a trusted brand for hormonal balancing herbs and is available online or at most health food stores. Gaia Adrenal Health is an herbal blend that I highly recommend as well.
In Germany, doctors prescribe herbs more than medications and St. John’s wort is prescribed most commonly for depression, anxiety and PMS. This perennial shrub has been used in Europe for hundreds of years as a safe alternative to drugs that have harmful side effects.
St. John’s wort boosts the levels of brain serotonin which is a chemical that makes us happy.
Keep in mind that this stuff would be more effective if you reduce alcohol, get exercise and get lots of fresh organic fruits and veggies. If you have a hotdog and beer diet and sit in front of the TV every night, it probably won’t be effective.
4. Evening primrose oil
This is a remarkable plant that has a natural painkiller in it called phenylalanine. It also contains a fatty acid that regulates hormones, which is in a higher concentration than in most other plants. It interferes with the chemicals that create inflammation during menstruation to help relieve cramps.
This one has been found to specifically help with migraines as well as help with nerve function. So get some gamma linolenic acids and have yourself a great day! Get your zest back and let go of the idea of having a terrible day, we don’t have to!
5. Chaste tree berry
This is a funny one. It has the exact opposite effect than the one of an aphrodisiac, and in fact, it was used at monasteries by monks and by women to reduce libido while their husbands were away at war. It has been referred to as ‘Monk’s Spice.’ Europeans have used it to regulate the menstrual cycle, especially the heaviness.
It has been scientifically studied and it contains compounds that help balance female hormones. Surprisingly, it’s also used to help with infertility. How do you get it? It is available in capsules and like any other supplement; you’ll need to pay attention to the recommended milligram dosage to make sure it’s effective.
It is said that it works better over time, so don’t expect immediate results. In one study, it was found that PMS symptoms were reduced by a staggering 60%. That’s a significant amount if you ask me.
6. Don Quai
This is probably the most commonly used herb for moodiness in women. It is used to help with menopause and PMS. It is a part of the carrot family actually, similar to ginseng and maca root in that its root is used as an adaptogen. It is specifically used for women in Chinese medicine to balance energy levels and reduce cramping.
It has been used for over 2,000 years as herbal medicine. You can get it in tea, capsules, tinctures, or in herbal blend supplements. Herbal blends are a great option as well because you can get the benefit of many herbs simultaneously. There are some amazing herbal tea blends that will help your moodiness hit the road.
Burdock root is often sold in juice bars to help clean out your liver. If you’ve had some wine or cocktails recently, it’s a great way to help cleanse those toxins out of your filter organs. You can buy the root yourself and juice it at home, but make sure to combine it with other fruits and vegetables because it has a strong flavor.
You can also get burdock root tea or buy it in a tincture or capsule. Burdock root actually grows as a weed and is used in traditional Japanese food. It purifies your blood and helps circulation, immunity, lymphatic and urinary tract by taking toxins out of your body.
It can help increase urination as a diuretic to reduce water retention. It can help to balance hormones and reduce anxiety and moodiness.
Peppermint is a common herb that has many benefits. It can help to provide emotional balance and can reduce headaches, mood swings and menstrual cramps. This is a widely used herb that can be so processed that it will no longer be effective. If you buy it in a tea form, make sure there are no additional ingredients such as natural flavors or soy lecithin which will reduce the potency.
You can get this in an essential oil as well. I only recommend getting therapeutic grade essential oils because the other ones are mostly just a filler base such as alcohol made from grains. Expect to pay around $35 minimally for a good essential oil. Two of my favorite brands are Floracopia and DoTerra.
The World Health Organization has said ginkgo is the most highly prescribed pharmaceutical in France and Germany. It has been used in China for over 5,000 years. It is a tree native to China that can live for over a 1,000 years. These trees have been growing for over 150 million years. What does it do? It is a mood stabilizer and helps improve memory.
It is used to help with depression symptoms and help bring blood to your brain. It is anti-inflammatory and can help reduce cramping. Commonly referred to as ginkgo biloba, it is used for menopause symptoms and can be found as a tea, capsule or tincture.
Chromium is one of many minerals that can help harmonize our body and our mood. It has been found to be especially efficient in cases of depression. A lack of chromium can decrease the body’s ability to regulate insulin which can result in fatigue, irritability and mood swings.
Chromium helps to maintain regular insulin levels and regulates food cravings as well as the body’s use of carbs, fats and proteins. That’s quite a big job! Minerals are found in food, plants specifically. They help to regulate our brain functions so our mood can regulate. Some foods that contain chromium are fresh vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms and green beans.
I recommend eating these raw to get the most bioavailability. Once the vegetable is cooked, the nutrients can be zapped and eating the plant is less effective. Corn and potatoes also have chromium but make sure you buy them organic.
If you made it this far in the article, you probably have noticed how many of these herbs have been used outside of this country for longer than our country has been around. Just because people take prescription drugs, doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Understand what I’m saying?
Think of your mood swings as an indicator that a few things in your life are out of balance and know that you can bring them back into it. Remember, these herbs are not going to be a magic bullet. You’ll need to address your diet, exercise, stress and sleep habits. It’s recommended that you reduce alcohol and caffeine to manage hormonal swings as well.
The more we educate ourselves about how the systems in our body work together, the better we will be able to manage them. I’m not biased about yoga just because I’m a yoga teacher; I’ve felt the effects and the mood boost thousands of times and heard feedback from thousands of students that agree with me that it really does work.
Remember, if you’re in your late twenties or early thirties you may not be aware of your moodiness but it could still be there. We often just become increasingly negative and blame other people for our poor attitude and blame our exterior circumstances for our lack of energy. Sometimes we are so used to being in a bad mood we don’t realize we could manage our moodiness and stop bringing down the vibes.
For women that are going through menopause, this is a new experience and you also may not realize the extent in which moodiness may be creeping up into your life slowly. If you find yourself losing your cool often or crying more than usual, this is a good sign that it’s time to try some of these mood stabilizers and don’t beat yourself up about it.
It’s not just during our time of the month that we can be moody. Two weeks before, we usually start to get the emotional symptoms. Depending on our stress levels, moodiness can strike at any time and we can be armed with these plants to fight back and keep ourselves positive. Mother Nature has a few tricks up her sleeve and it’s important we share these with our friends so we don’t get addicted to prescription drugs!
Even if you’re not feeling symptoms of moodiness right now, why not just buy some of these online so you can have them on hand when you need them? This information is not intended to replace medical advice and if you have a serious mood disorder, are pregnant, nursing or have any other serious health concern, please see your physician.
It is also a great idea to consult with a naturopath or an herbalist about which herbal blends would best suit your body and personality.
There are great monthly publications about herbs and you may be able to grow some of your own to save some money. Remember to pay attention to the quality and don’t be afraid to pay a little extra to get something that actually works.
Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing your feedback in the comments below…Thank you for being a part of the YouQueen community of empowered women.