If you’re one of the 10 million American women who struggle with menorrhagia (heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding) then you probably feel like you’re at war with your body…every single month.
- have to wear a super tampon and an ultra pad just to (barely) make it through the hour.
- can’t get any sleep because you’re constantly waking up to clean up and change your sanitary products.
- experience vomit-inducing cramps (along with the heavy blood loss) that just make you curse life (and your body).
Whatever the case may be, this post is here to help by giving you some herbs for heavy menstrual bleeding that provide real relief.
Herbs are one of the best natural remedies for heavy menstruation because they address underlying issues like hormonal imbalance, inflammation, toxicity and much more.
So, whether your heavy cycles are due to a specific condition (like PCOS, fibroids or endometriosis) or your body is transitioning through perimenopause…or you have a hormonal imbalance without a specific label attached to it, these herbs should be in your period care kit.
Note: this post contains affiliate links and I earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you use them to make a purchase.
BEST HERBS THAT HELP WITH EXCESSIVE MENSTRUAL FLOW
In this section we’re going to look at 10 herbs that are known to help with heavy bleeding.
These herbs all have anecdotal and/or scientific evidence to back up their healing powers.
As we go through this list of herbs you’ll notice that they all have one or more of the following properties:
- support and encourage blood clotting.
- act like an astringent (i.e. can tighten tissues and therefore, control excessive blood loss from those tissues).
- uterine tonics (i.e. tone the muscles of uterus and reproductive organs).
Now, the reason why there is such a diverse selection of herbs for heavy menstruation is because there are many different factors that contribute to a heavy menstrual flow.
Some of those factors include:
- hormonal imbalance
- nutrient deficiencies
The good news is that in most cases, one herb is able to address multiple factors.
So, that means you may only need to use one herb (or a blend) to address your specific needs.
Just remember that every woman is unique. And that’s why I’m giving you a list of 10 herbs.
That way you can see which one makes the most sense to you.
NOTE: most of the herbs listed below come from this scientific review which was published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association.
1. Shepherd’s Purse
Also known as St. James Wort or St. James Weed, shepherd’s purse is a weed that has a long history of use for excessive bleeding.
In fact, it’s an herb that many midwives have relied on for postpartum bleeding.
Now the main reason why shepherd’s purse is so helpful for profuse bleeding is because it’s an astringent herb.
All astringent herbs contain tannins, which are bitter compounds that are particularly effective at curbing heavy blood loss.
And in the case of shepherd’s purse specifically, it’s known to help with both uterine and cervical bleeding.
Do keep in mind that shepherd’s purse is frequently used in combination with other herbs.
In addition, depending on your specific health history, it can take weeks or months for the herb to really kick in.
We’re all familiar with cinnamon’s sweet flavor…but who knew that it’s also classified as astringent (source)?!
So, very much like shepherd’s purse, cinnamon also helps to tighten tissues so that there’s less hemorrhaging.
Now, when it comes to the research around cinnamon for heavy menstruation, most of it actually focuses on cinnamon essential oil.
In fact, one 2013 study points out that cinnamon oil not only helps excessive menstrual bleeding, but it “supports the actions of estrogen” (source).
This estrogen-supporting action matters a lot because estrogen’s job is to thicken the endometrial lining.
However, if there’s too much estrogen (i.e. the estrogen-progesterone ratio is off balance) then that lining becomes too thick.
As a result, when the lining sheds, there will be more blood loss.
So, by using cinnamon you can help bring balance to your estrogen-progesterone ratio.
For tips and recipes for how to use cinnamon oil safely, be sure to read this post on essential oils for heavy periods.
When it comes to folk remedies for excessive blood loss (from any part of the body), cypress is one of the most popular.
The main reason why cypress is able to do this is because it supports blood clotting (source).
And there are 2 main mechanisms that allow cypress to do this.
- First, cypress is able to keep blood within a damaged blood vessel.
- Secondly, cypress is also an astringent herb and therefore, it reduces blood loss by constricting tissue.
Now, just like cinnamon, the research and anecdotal reports about cypress all focus on the essential oil.
So, do keep that in mind if you choose to try out cypress for yourself.
Ever since the Middle Ages, yarrow has been used as a home remedy for menstrual irregularities, including profuse bleeding.
One reason why yarrow is beneficial for excessive menstrual flows is because it’s a uterine tonic (source).
This means that yarrow is able to regulate blood flow to the uterus, depending on whether there’s too much or too little blood.
In addition, yarrow acts as an astringent and fights inflammation.
Yarrow’s anti-inflammatory action can be quite helpful for heavy cycles because some studies indicate that heavy periods are caused by an excess of prostaglandins (which leads to inflammation).
5. Stinging Nettle Leaf
Nettle is one of the most potent and easy-to-find herbs for all things related to female health!
Here are just a few reasons why nettle is in my top 10 herbs for excessive menstrual bleeding:
- Contains vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting
- Rich in iron, which many women with heavy periods tend to be low on.
- Supports liver health, which means you can get rid of pro-inflammatory toxins more easily.
- Protects the body from the harmful effects of chronic inflammation.
- High in chlorophyll, which helps the body eliminate toxins.
Basically if you were forced to choose just one herb from this list, you might want to make sure it’s this nettle 🙂
To learn more about nettles and how to make a nettle infusion (quite different from a standard tea) read this post on nettle for hormones.
6. Vitex (aka Chaste Tree Berry)
Unlike the herbs we’ve looked at so far, vitex stands apart because it regulates menstrual flow by acting on the endocrine (hormone production) system.
Specifically, vitex acts on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.
The herb’s action causes the pituitary to release more LH (luteinizing hormone) and less FSH (follicle stimulating hormone).
And the end result of this is an increase in progesterone along with a decrease in estrogen.
Now, please note that vitex doesn’t suddenly give you very high progesterone or very low estrogen.
Rather, vitex helps to shift the ratio of estrogen to progesterone.
Since estrogen and progesterone keep each other in check, they need to be in harmony in order for our menstrual cycle to be in harmony as well.
7. Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry is another classic, superstar herb for women’s health.
This herb is an astringent and uterine tonic (i.e. tones the muscles of the uterus).
In addition, red raspberry leaf is a good source of iron (which is much needed when you’re losing a lot of blood every month).
Along with nettle, red raspberry leaf is a go-to herb for menstrual health!
Heavy menstrual bleeding is mainly caused by an excess of hormones known as prostaglandins.
As the levels of prostaglandins increase, inflammatory symptoms like cramps and heavy bleeding pop up.
And one notable study shows that ginger is very effective at preventing the production of prostaglandins (source).
So, by preventing prostaglandin synthesis, ginger is able to function as a natural remedy for excessive menstrual bleeding.
9. Dong Quai
Also known as Angelica Sinensis, dong quai is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to support the female cycle throughout every stage of life, from the reproductive years to menopause.
Although it’s not entirely clear how dong quai works, it’s known to have antispasmodic properties.
This basically means that it reduces spasms (contractions) of the uterine muscles.
By reducing these spasms, that can help to curb heavy blood flow.
10. Cohosh (Black and Blue)
Although blue cohosh root and black cohosh root have historically been used to regulate the female cycle, there isn’t a lot of detailed information available about them.
However, I am including them in this list because they’re mentioned in the scientific review that I referenced earlier in this article.
The one thing that the review mentions is that blue cohosh root acts like a uterine tonic when used in combination with astringent herbs.
So, keep that in mind if you choose to explore blue cohosh.
As for black cohosh the Science Direct database classifies it as a uterine tonic (source).
And as we already saw with other herbs on this list, uterine tonics can up or down-regulate blood flow to the uterus.
HERBAL TEA RECIPE FOR MENORRHAGIA (HEAVY MENSTRUATION)
Even though you can use any one of the herbs above for excessive period bleeding, it’s also worth making a blend.
A blend allows you to take advantage of 2 or more herbs at once.
One blend that you can easily make at home is a red raspberry leaf and nettle infusion.
½ ounce red raspberry leaf (available here)
½ ounce stinging nettle leaf (available here)
1 quart mason jar
- Place the herbs into the mason jar.
- Fill the jar with boiled water.
- Stir to make sure the herbs are fully covered with the water.
- Seal the jar and allow it to sit for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Sweeten with honey if desired and drink within 24 hours.
You can drink this blend daily or every other day to support your cycle.
Don’t feel like making your own blend? Then try this ready-made Healthy Cycle blend from Traditional Medicinals.
It contains red raspberry leaf and stinging nettle, along with other period-friendly and hormone-balancing herbs.
Just keep in mind that since there are more herbs in this blend, you’ll be getting much smaller concentrations of red raspberry and stinging nettle.
SAFETY TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN USING HERBAL REMEDIES FOR HEAVY PERIODS
Most herbs interact with other drugs (over-the-counter and prescription).
So, if you’re on any type of medication, it’s important to check with your doctor before taking it together with the herbs listed in this article.
In addition, most of these herbs are not suitable for pregnancy because they can cause uterine contractions and lead to miscarriage.
As for the few that can be used during pregnancy (such as red raspberry leaf), they should be used under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner. This is because some of them are only appropriate for specific trimesters of the pregnancy.
How heavy is too heavy for my period?
A period is considered too heavy when you lose 80ml or more of blood. In addition, having a period that lasts more than 7 days is seen as having excessive menstrual flow (source).
Other indicators that your period is too heavy include:
- Changing your pad or tampon every hour (or less).
- Passing large clots that are 1-inch or more in diameter.
- Having to use more than one sanitary product at the same time.
Is it normal to bleed through a super tampon in 30 minutes?
Although it’s common for some women with very heavy uterine bleeding to soak through a super tampon in 30 minutes, it’s not normal.
It’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider in such cases, as well as address any underlying systemic issues that are contributing to the bleeding.
What does big blood clots in period mean?
Do periods get heavier as you age?
Periods can get heavier as we age, especially if we live with chronic inflammation and hormonal imbalance. As a matter of fact, heavy periods are a common symptom for women during perimenopause because estrogen dominance can occur during that transition phase into menopause.
Even though heavy periods can be incredibly scary and can totally disrupt your quality of life, you don’t have to “grin and bear it.”
By using the herbs listed in this article, you can start to address the underlying causes of your symptoms.
And to support your body even more, you can use these tips for creating a hormone-balancing diet plan that will help you have healthier menstrual cycles.
I hope this post was helpful. As always feel free to share any comments or questions below 🙂