This post is about PERIODS. Menstruation. Aunt Flo. That time-of-the-month. Those with sensitive constitutions and no desire to discuss such things (teenage boys or those with the maturity of teenage boys) are advised to skip this one.
Just to recap, a couple of days ago, I posted about testing the Three C’s of a Happier Period: Crampbark, Chamomile, and Capsella (Shepherd’s Purse). Crampbark is for pain, Chamomile for bloating, and Capsella for heaviness of flow.
My regimen has consisted of 15 drops of Crampbark tincture in water twice daily, 15 drops of Shepherd’s Purse tincture in water twice daily, and a cup of chamomile tea three times a day. Here is my honest review:
While I found the Crampbark effective and rather fast-acting (I felt relief of cramping/aching about thirty minutes after a dose), I did not find it to be particularly long-lasting. I obtained about 2 hours of relief from each dose. That being said, it was effective and you can take it more frequently. (Dr. Marisa Marciano suggests 5-10 mL three times per day.)
As for the chamomile, I did not see any noticeable results where bloating is concerned. My stomach still feels and looks like a drum skin stretched over a boulder. But it is soothing and hydrating and helps me fall asleep. So that’s nice.
And lastly, the STAR of the show: the Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella). This stuff is a bloody miracle (pardon the ironic turn-of-phrase). This herbal tincture was meant to address heaviness. I have a personal problem with my periods being rather heavy, so much so that I lose a bunch of iron and get all anemic and uber-tired. It has been my lot in life since age 12. Enter Shepherd’s Purse. I could seriously write this herb a sonnet.
I awoke this morning expecting the usual carnage. Without going into too much detail, the second morning of my period always involves some frantic washing, rinsing, wringing, and crying. There is no amount of preparation that lets me off the hook. And yet, that did not happen to me this morning. No sir. For the first time in years, I did not have to deal with any of it. What’s more, I had run out of my size ginormous tampons and went to bed with a regular-sized one in, absolutely certain that would not be enough and I would be sorry in the morning. But I was fine.
I can’t tell you what this means to me. Where has this been all my life? And for the record, I made it myself. I found it, identified it, dried it, and tinctured it. ALCHEMY. This is very empowering.
(By the way, if Shepherd’s Purse does not grow where you live, I’m sorry. But not really, because you can buy some at this fabulous site and be sure it has been organically grown and responsibly harvested.)
I have spent the afternoon researching what is in this plant that might have such a profound effect. I seem to have narrowed it down to acetylcholine. Without getting too technical, acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that may stimulate the brain to produce vasopressin (Iitake et al, 1989). Vasopressin is hormone with myriad functions but, for our purposes, it should be known that it and synthetic versions of it are used by the body to control bleeding (Schweitzer et al, 1982). Well, well, well!
I may have it all wrong. I am, after all, NOT a scientist. My interpretation of scientific research, therefore, should be taken with a HUGE grain of salt. This blog is really meant to offer anecdotal support of herbs and their effects, and leave the science to the experts. Therefore, I shall close by reiterating my anecdotal support for the glorious Shepherd’s Purse: it worked, I love it, go get some. Or better yet, go make some.