Chinese herbs may be better at treating symptoms of PMS than over-the-counter pain relievers, according to a review of 39 studies. Jamie Koonce, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine in Hot Springs, Arkansas, recommends the tincture preparation Xiao shao san (Rambling Powder), which contains herbs for regulating hormones, stimulating circulation, relieving cramps, and reducing inflammation. For mild cases, take one dropperful three times a day (with meals) the week before your period. For more-severe cases, take it throughout the month.
A clinical trial found that women who took 30 mg in capsule form every day for two cycles experienced significant reduction in overall PMS symptoms within a month.
Calcium, magnesium, and B6
The calming effect of these supplements can reduce PMS-related anxiety and balance the nervous system, according to Roberta Lee, vice chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine Beth Israel's Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. Take 500 to 1,000 mg of calcium daily, 400 to 500 mg of magnesium at night, and 25 to 40 mg of B6 daily one week before your period begins.
Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)
This tree's berries have been found to balance estrogen and progesterone levels, which may relieve breast tenderness and calm your nervous system, Lee says. Take 20 to 40 mg three times a day throughout your cycle.
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