Sunday, January 22, 2012

Herbs and Food for PMS Due to Cold or Yang Deficiency

This time of year I recommend a lot of "warming" herbs and foods--things that help your body battle cold. One problem we don’t think of as being aggravated by cold is PMS.  

Excess cold (when your body is exposed to too much cold from climate or food), and Yang Deficiency (when your body does not warm itself well) can affect your menstrual cycle. Excess cold causes symptoms such as severe cramping, dark blood, headaches, achiness, and contributes to cysts and indigestion. Deficient yang causes dull aching cramps, extreme fatigue, bloating and can cause excessive bleeding.  Both can make you more tearful.

Both also usually respond well to treatment. Here are great ways to improve PMS related to cold, whether it's deficient or excess:

·      Avoid cold food and drink, and avoid all raw food: This step is absolutely critical to warming the body. Your body has to give away precious heat to warm salads, ice cream, sushi, iced drinks, cold cuts and any other cold foods you throw at it.  Simply having everything you eat or drink be warm (all month long, not only during your period) will cause some improvement in your PMS symptoms, probably the very first month.
·      Add warming foods to your diet.  Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, curry powder, black pepper, cayenne or other spicy peppers (only if you are easily chilled any time of the month), sweet potatoes, butternut or acorn squashes, carrots, parsnips, lamb and brown rice give your body tools to warm itself.  You do not have to limit yourself to just these foods; just add them into the mix.
·      Dress warmly. Dress slightly more warmly than you think you need to, especially around time for your period.  Use a scarf around your neck and shoulders, and wear a light jacket even if it doesn't seem terribly cold to you. Wear socks to keep your feet warm, and if it's even a little chilly wear gloves outside.  If this slight overdressing is new to you, give yourself a couple of weeks to get used to it. . .you will find yourself craving the warmth after just a little while.

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