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Premenstrual Syndrome

  • PMS

  • Definition

    A syndrome that occurs several days prior to the onset of menstruation. Characterized by one or more of the following: irritability, emotional tension, anxiety, mood changes, esp., depression, headache, breast tenderness with or without swelling, water retention, which may be sufficient enough to cause edema (swelling). The symptoms subside close to the onset of menstruation.


    Not completely understood, but related to the alterations in estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle. One cause of PMS is hormone imbalance (excessive estrogen levels and inadequate progesterone levels). Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is also a factor. Fluid retention affects the blood flow, reducing the oxygen in the uterus, ovaries, and brain.


    PMS can start as early in the menstrual cycle as one to two weeks before the menstrual flow starts. Symptoms may include any or all of the following: depression, cramps, water retention, skin eruptions, headaches, bloated abdomen, backache, breast swelling and tenderness, fatigue, nervousness, joint pain, fainting spells, and changes in personality (such as outbursts of anger, violence, and thoughts of suicide). PMS is linked to food allergies, candidiasis, malabsorption. Unfortunately, some women have been misdiagnosed as mentally ill when vitamin therapy, exercise, and change of diet was all that was needed.


    Depends on the severity of symptoms. Mild analgesics may be helpful, but in severe cases restriction of salt intake and use of a diuretic to control fluid retention may be indicated.
    Herbal Medicine Formulas and Recipes
    Chinese Formulas
    Ayurvedic Formulas


    Calcium with magnesium chloride, 1,500 mg. per day, relieves cramping, backache, and nervousness. Primrose oil, 2 capsules 3 times per day. Vitamin B complex, 50 mg. 3 times per day, reduces water retention. Vitamin E, 400 IU at first, increase to 800 IU, helps relieve sore breasts, and improves oxygen utilization. Kelp, 4 tablets per day, is a good mineral source. L-Lysine, 500 mg. daily, start 5 days before menstrual period for those who suffer from hypoglycemia and/or herpes. L-Tyrosine, 500 mg. daily, is needed to reduce anxiety, depression and headache. Multivitamin and mineral complex with manganese, taken as directed on the label. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids, 3,000 mg. daily in divided doses, helps in the relief of discomfort and breast swelling, and boosts the immune system. Vitamin D, taken as directed on the label, is needed for uptake of calcium and magnesium.


  • TB
    • Alfalfa
    • Aloe
    • Angelica
    • Asparagus
    • Borage
    • Carrot
    • Cayenne
    • Celery
    • Chamomile
    • Chaste tree, berries
    • Dandelion
    • Dong quai
    • Evening-primrose, common, oil
    • Ginseng, Siberian (do not use if you are hypoglycemic)
    • Kelp
    • Lady's mantle
    • Motherwort
    • Parsley
    • Pennyroyal
    • Pulsatilla
    • Raspberry leaves
    • Sarsaparilla
    • St. John's wort
    • Skullcap
    • Squaw vine
    • Thistle, blessed
    • Valerian, American
    • Yam, wild


    Dong quai relieves PMS symptoms including pain, bloating, vaginal dryness, and depression.

    Avoid salt, alcohol, caffeine, red meats, dairy products, sugar in any form, processed foods, fast foods or junk foods. Do not smoke.

    The thyroid gland's function should be evaluated. Large numbers of women with PMS have thyroid dysfunction of some type. The effectiveness of oral contraceptives is sharply reduced when taking antibiotics. Estrogen-type hormones should not be used if any of the following are present: breast cancer, pregnancy, abnormal vaginal bleeding, or phlebitis (inflammation of the leg veins).

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