I have a bag full of tricks for PMS and mood swings. Some herbal, some nutritive, some foods, some aromatherapy, some homeopathic, some Bach Flower Remedies. This is an incomplete list; but here is a link with even more ideas: http://www.westonaprice.org/womens-health/645-natural-pms-relief.html

For severe rage, I find that Cherry Plum, the Bach Flower Remedy is the most potent flower essence alternative to regain sanity, instantly. It is for "when you fear losing control or rationality". Or Rescue Remedy, which has Cherry Plum as one of the ingredients. We don't leave home without it. Elm is another Flower Remedy. It is for "when you feel temporarily overwhelmed with responsibilities". It is wonderful at 5pm. And Beech is a Flower Remedy for "patience with other's imperfections".

Red raspberry leaf tea, Chamomilla tea, Kava Kava, Peppermint tea all are useful calming herbs.

Cod liver oil, flax seed oil, Acidophilus, Calcium, Vitamin A (natural not synthetic) and Magnesium all help the body utilize the sex hormones more effectively. Magnesium is low in most Americans, during menstration and post-natally. Evidently, progesterone gets out of whack with pregnancy and breastfeeding. Same with Magnesium levels. All of these make one more reactive. It is hard to get enough Magnesium from food. Chocolate is high in Magnesium.

Magnesium is a critical element in 325+ biochemical reactions in the human body.

I found an interesting link about the associations of Mg, Ca, K, and Na (and thyroid problems and PMS!): http://www.ithyroid.com/potassium.htm

This one is a bit more readable: http://www.ithyroid.com/latest_ideas.htm

Magnesium utilization is increased by the presence of estrogen. And even a *lack* of sleep is associated with depleting magnesium further. Magnesium is necessary for utilization of many hormones, which affect our moods and sleep cycles. Iron, too, is depleted, of course.

"Peace & Calming" is an aromatherapy for a relaxed mind and restful sleep. Lavender essential oil for calming effects.

I don't know about acute homeopathics but I have seen Pulsatilla and Kali Phos mentioned.

Exercise, even 15 minutes of walking relieves depression temporarily.

Epsom Salt baths, but not late in the evening as it can have a rejuvenating effect.

Evening Primrose oil has helped me too.

Increased protein and fluid consumption is important to my mood stability too.

This is a little hormone tutorial. A couple of years ago, I attended a class about female hormonal imbalances. The issues regarding hormonal levels is that they may be normal on blood levels, but symptomatic (menstrual pain, moodiness, endometriosis, tired, difficulty conceiving, insomnia, hair loss, etc.). The blood levels were discussed as *available* hormones BUT with poor utilization by the body, they aren't effective. The utilization efficiency is dependent upon many interrelated nutrients and other hormones. Interestingly, cortisol is a huge variable associated with effective uptake of the hormones progesterone (especially), estrogen and testosterone, AND thyroid.

High corisol levels cause hormone resistance and block the utilization of the hormones. Many post partum women have disturbances in their cortisol (due to STRESS!!) and thyroid uptake becomes interferred with too. Evidently, progesterone levels, associated with mood stability, start decreasing precipitously about age 35 naturally. Low progesterone = mood changes.

The recommendation was to have saliva testing of these hormones, instead of blood level evaluation. And it should include the saliva levels of cortisol and thyroid. Pregnancy and breastfeeding alter these sex hormones and nutrient variables are critical in the uptake and utilization ability of the blood, especially in the brain neurosynthesis of these hormones. These hormones effect the immune system, and serotonin is associated with sleep and estrogen. (I was taking notes.) The progesterone level evaluated in saliva is critical
as most women at age 35 are low in progesterone, irrelevant of recent pregnancy or breastfeeding even. Pregnancy alters all of these hormones, as does breastfeeding.

Apparently, there are synthetic hormone replacements (HRT) and bio-identical hormone replacements (BHRT). (I had never heard much about this issue before now.) Anyway, the BHRT are more able to be utilized by the body because of their "fit" with (proteins or amino acids, I believe) in order to be used rather than freely "available" in the blood. Does this make sense? Basically, HRT and even our own hormones may appear to be adequate in quantity. according to the blood level, but the the interaction of other hormones and nutrients (specifically deficiencies) means that they are not effectively used. So, the suggestion was to have each of the sex hormones evaluated in saliva and replaced specifically (as necessary) with bio-identical repacements
(BHRT). Evidently, the reason that most HRT used by the medical profession is HRT, is because HRT is marketed. BHRT are naturally derived and MUCH less expensive and don't hold the profit potential.

Apparently, BHRT are *derived* from Wild Mexican Yams and Soy and made to be chemcially identical to our natural hormones. Although, food consumption of these foods in huge quantities would NOT be as useful or
efficient an effort to "replace" the hormones. The natural derivative of the hormones is chemically dissimilar, ie. phytoestrogen is NOT the same as a bio-identical hormone. Confused as mud? I am giving my best
understanding, but this is NOT my area of specialty. BUT, I am now 47 and ummmm....needing to understand this stuff better.

BTW, endometriosis is associated with progesterone levels. I too have endo too. And progesterone is associated with the utilization of estrogen...which all needs to be in balance to conceive and carry babies to term. All of this is interestingly connected. Frankly, I have written all I know. So, I am not more help than knowing that I need more info! And Magnesium (and many other nutrients) are critical to the immune system and the hormones. And most of us are low in Magnesium, especially after pregnancy and while breast feeding. Amazing isn't it?

The book "Menopause & The Mind" was a referenced resource for the lay person about the interaction of hormones and moods. I am going to seek it out. Another author knowledgable about hormones and women is
Susan Weed. She has several books about different stages in a woman's life: childbearing years, premenopausal, etc. I haven't read her books, but a friend recommended them. And John Lee writes about hormone balancing in relation to diet, supplements and exercise.


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Comment by Kara on March 12, 2010 at 4:18pm
In th epast i have used high doses of evening primrose oil or progesterone cream for pms.


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