AUTHOR: JENNA B. RADOMSKI
Here at Moon Cycle Bakery, we wholeheartedly believe in the healing powers of foods, especially when it comes to hormonal health.
We also love exploring the powerful properties of herbs, spices, flowers, and other plants + their role in supporting hormones, because who said that hormone health can’t be colorful? Here are our top three plants and flowers for your period.
Lavender is my best friend around my period as I’m feeling anxious, moody, stressed, and suffering from PMS pains. This fragrant flower is well-known for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, calming properties, and versatile uses! (1)
An interesting study found that participants massaged with a lavender essential oil blend experienced decreased menstrual pain than those in the placebo group. (2) Lavender is also known as a nervine, meaning that it aids in the relaxation of the nervous system and muscles. (3) Like other plants and foods, the effects vary from person to person; when searching for a calming lavender, look for the latin name Lavandula angustifolia as this is commonly the most soothing variety. (4)
– adding it to lattes, baked goods, and spice blends for all sorts of recipes.
– keeping a sachet of dried lavender flowers on your bedside table – inhale a few deep breaths of the dreamy scent to help calm the nervous system and the mind before drifting off to sleep.
Roses are easily one of the most popular flowers in modern society, which unfortunately means some of the medicinal properties have been lost in several species along the way. When choosing roses for culinary and medicinal purposes, ensure to retrieve them from a trusted source that does not spray with chemicals.
Roses aren’t just for beautiful centerpieces – the petals, leaves, fruit (rose hips), and inner bark are used for teas, syrups, vinegars, and are even eaten alone.
I encourage you to take the saying, “Stop and smell the roses” seriously. Experts say the fragrance molecules in rose oil stimulate a portion of the brain resulting in increased secretion of serotonin and enhanced mood. (5) There is also evidence that consuming rose improves symptoms of PMS, including cramps, anxiety, and stress. In a clinical trial of 130 adolescent females, those given rose tea experienced significant relief in PMS symptoms compared to the females who did not. (6)
– adding rose hips to your favorite tea blend.
– rolling your favorite blogger’s fat bombs in dried rose petals!
The leaves and flowers of this popular hybridized herb are often prepared as tea and in candies, but are also utilized to create tinctures and essential oils. (7) Peppermint oil has many medicinal properties, including mood enhancement, pain reduction, and digestive relief. (7)
Research shows that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules (read: it safely makes its way to your intestines) help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in 70%-85% of cases. (8) The main active compound found in peppermint is called menthol, which has been shown to help relieve digestive issues by inhibiting calcium channels within the smooth muscles of the intestine. (9)
So, if you’re one of the many women experiencing IBS-like digestive issues (think gas, bloating, and diarrhea) in the days leading up to your period, peppermint can help soothe that. Plus, research shows that inhaling the volatile peppermint oils relaxes muscles as well as calms the mind. (10)
– sipping on hot peppermint tea or enjoying our peppermint chocolate cup to calm an upset stomach.
– rubbing a bit of peppermint essential oil mixed with a carrier oil on the temples is a great way to combat a headache, too.
Not sure where to find these ingredients for recipes like teas, breads, granolas, salads, smoothies? I recommend checking out Mountain Rose Herbs – this company uses sustainably-sourced, organic ingredients and supports non-profit organizations in the environmental, herbal, and social justice sectors.
Another PNW-based company near to my heart is Roots & Crowns Apothecary. The ingredients for these amazing tinctures, salves, bath salts, and essential oils are ethically sourced and often hand-harvested in small batches. I recommend the Beloved Sensual Mineral Salts for a cozy self-care session and the Rest Well Aromatherapy Roll On for restful sleep.
- Hajhashemi V, Ghannadi A, Sharif B. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of the leaf extracts and essential oil of Lavandula angustifolia Mill. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003;89(1):67-71.
- Bakhtshirin F, Abedi S, YusefiZoj P, Razmjooee D. The effect of aromatherapy massage with lavender oil on severity of primary dysmenorrhea in Arsanjan students. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2015;20(1):156-160.
- Wood M. The Earthwise Herbal, A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants. North Atlantic Books; 2008.
- Jirsa A. Herbal Goddess: Discover the Amazing Spirit of 12 Healing Herbs. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing; 2015.
- Hongratanaworakit T. Relaxing Effect of Rose Oil on Humans. Vol 4.; 2009.
- Tseng Y-F, Chen C-H, Yang Y-H. Rose Tea for Relief of Primary Dysmenorrhea in Adolescents: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Taiwan. J Midwifery Women’s Health. 2005;50(5):e51-e57. doi:10.1016/j.jmwh.2005.06.003.
- de la Forêt R. Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Heal. Hay House Inc.; 2017.
- Murray M, Pizzorno J. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Third. New York, New York: Atria Paperback; 1998.
- Alam MS, Roy PK, Miah AR, et al. Efficacy of Peppermint oil in diarrhea predominant IBS – a double blind randomized placebo – controlled study. Mymensingh Med J MMJ. 2013;22(1):27-30.
- Göbel H, Schmidt G, Soyka D. Effect of peppermint and eucalyptus oil preparations on neurophysiological and experimental algesimetric headache parameters. Cephalalgia. 1994;14(3):228-234. doi:10.1046/j.1468-2982.1994.014003228.x.