Ayurveda For You - Celebrating Women's Natural Cycles

Celebrating Women's Natural Cycles
Women of the modern world work through the month, no matter what. Double-income families, high costs of living and having to multi-task means modern women have learned to ignore their natural rhythms.  

A healthy menstrual cycle is essential to a woman’s health and well-being. Most women experience PMS (Pre-menstrual Syndrome) or menstrual irregularities at some point in their lives. Hormone swings dramatically affect the delicate balance of the body leading to complaints associated with PMS and their monthly cycle. The number of complaints is even more likely to increase as women have been exposed to an unprecedented amount of toxic environmental chemicals which, once inside the human body, have the ability to mimic estrogen which creates a series of symptoms and conditions, including infertility, fibroids, cancer, premature aging, PMS and dysfunctional uterine bleeding.  

Ayurvedic healing for women addresses the need to treat the root cause of feminine disturbances rather than accepting the myth that symptoms of discomfort, pain and emotional swings are normal throughout life.

Ayurveda’s medicine chest has many woman-friendly remedies. Musta (Cyperus rotundus) is a special Ayurvedic herb very effective for relieving dysmenorrhea or painful and difficult menstruation. Kumari (Aloe vera) taken a week before the expected date of the period stimulates the uterus and helps prevent all types of menstrual pain and discomfort. Ginger mixed with sugar is effective for menstrual discomfort when the climate is especially cold. Ashoka (Saraca indica), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra) are also recommended for those troubled by heavy bleeding.

Women should never drink any ice-cold beverages before and during menstruation. Even a swim in cold water should be avoided. Cold causes stagnation in the body and exacerbates menstrual problems. Diet before and during the cycle should be easy on the digestive system and foods should be nourishing and warm. Lightly steamed vegetables, well-cooked grains, lots of leafy greens and green herbs like basil, coriander, or parsley are recommended. Spices like fennel, coriander, turmeric, cardamom and saffron are wonderful to enhance digestion and alleviate PMS symptoms.

Many women have food cravings during PMS, especially sweets and snacks like ice cream, chocolate and potato chips. Eating complex carbohydrates is probably the best way to ward off those food cravings. They are a good source of fibre, which helps clear excess estrogen from the body. High-carbohydrate foods actually relieve the psychological symptoms of tension, anxiety and mood swings that accompany PMS.

Good sources of complex carbohydrates include whole grains, potatoes, corn and legumes. Sugar, alcohol and caffeine should absolutely be avoided. Walking, deep breathing, warm baths, massaging the abdomen with warm sesame oil, drinking fennel tea or ginger tea will help alleviate many symptoms. Taking a mild laxative like Triphala for about two days before the scheduled start of menstruation, or eating stewed apples will help with constipation.

There is no reason for the monthly cycle to be uncomfortable. A woman's life should be filled with joy and bliss every moment, including during the menstrual cycle. Just taking a few little steps to create balance will have a profound effect on body and mind. When a woman feels healthy and happy, she naturally expresses her beauty, intelligence, authenticity and strength. And wouldn’t you agree that our world can use all the positive shakti, or woman power, we can offer in these times?

Ayurvedic healing for women addresses the need to treat the root cause of feminine disturbances.

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