We all know about the birds and the bees, but what about our own body's reproductive cycles?
Our body's cycles are a wondrous and beautiful thing, but when we get out of sync with our natural rhythms, our reproductive health can suffer.
Whether you have painful periods, are trying to conceive, or are having menopausal symptoms, turn back to Mother Nature for your remedies.
From herbs for easing menstrual pain, to yoga for fertility to natural hormone replacement there is a solution for your body that will put you back in sync with nature's rhythms.
Here is a guide to helpful, healthful methods, remedies and advice for maintaining reproductive health naturally.
We've made some revolutionary medical gains over the last 50 years. Fertility, conception, childbirth, breast health, cervical cancer, STDs and many other women's health issues have become safer, easier or better treated thanks to conventional medicine.
But we also lose our connection to nature when we allow conventional medicine to treat what are natural female processes—menstruation pain, infertility, menopause—, as diseases.
As a result, hysterectomies, synthetic hormones, mastectomies, artificial infant formula and many other trends away from nature are on the rise.
Mother Nature is the original physician and she knows our bodies best.
Here are some natural alternatives to keeping your body and reproductive health in shape, whether you're just beginning your cycle of creation or transitioning to completion.
Painful Periods and PMS
For many women, their menstrual cycle can be problematic, with symptoms causing mild discomfort to severe pain.
The body changes in the 10 to 14 days prior to their periods can also cause discomfort. Known as Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS, symptoms can include irritability, headache, anxiety, depression, mood swings, bloating, sore breasts, fatigue, sugar cravings, and weight gain.
Before trying natural remedies you should check with your healthcare provider to rule out underlying causes for PMS or painful periods. Uterine cysts, fibroids or endometrial conditions can cause painful symptoms.
Hormones, diet, and emotions are also a factor of menstrual discomfort.
Prostaglandins are the hormone-like chemical culprits that cause uterine contractions during menstruation and pregnancy labor. Contractions do an efficient job of pushing things out of your body, like menstrual tissue and babies. But the discomfort level can range from mild bloating to raging pain.
Herbs such as chasteberry or vitex, yarrow, lemon balm valerian, hops and chamomile all have properties that relax muscles and may ease menstrual cramps or irregularities.To relieve the nervous tension and irritability of PMS or menstrual cramps, sip some chamomile or motherwort tea.
Other herbs that help relax uterine cramping or reduce stagnant blood flow include cramp bark, black haw, black cohosh, dong quai and wild yam.
An essential oil blend of chamomile, marjoram and fennel oil, put on your temples, wrists or ankles also help with muscle spasms and hormonal fluctuations.
If you suffer especially painful periods, consider eliminating or minimizing heavy, congesting foods such as red meat or dairy in the week or two before the onset of menstruation. Meat and dairy produce lactic acid and other metabolic waste that can build up in muscle tissue and cause inflammation.
Relaxation is also key to easing menstrual symptoms. When hormones are fluctuating our emotions can go out of balance too.Take some time out for a soothing nature sounds meditation
or walk off your stress with a stroll through your favorite park.
Taking just five minutes a day to connect with the natural world helps reduce muscle tension, improve heart rate and normalize breathing.
You can also pamper yourself with the Dahnjon Pack
, a soothing hot/cold pad that's just yummy on painful tummies.
For severe or persistent symptoms you might want to consult an acupuncturist, massage therapist, or other energy medicine practitioner who works with the meridian system. Opening the meridians regulates blood flow, improves circulation, clears congested lymph and strengthens Qi.
Whether you want to conceive or not, having deep awareness about your body's fertility cycles should be part of every woman's wellness plan.
The two basic guages of fertility, when you are most likely to become pregnant, are waking body temperature and cervical fluid. Both natural birth control and family planning depend on this crucial information.
To boost fertility, have a healthier prenatal body and create a healthier pregnancy, choose foods and herbs that are rich in minerals and vitamins such as calcium, iron, magnesium, Vitamins C, B12 and D.
Herbs that are excellent sources of calcium, magnesium and iron are red raspberry leaf and stinging nettles. Other herbs that balance hormones and promote relaxation are oatstraw and maca root
Stress is one of the leading causes of infertility, second to poor nutrition. Try some energy yoga for tuning up your body
preconception and during pregnancy.
You can learn more about female reproductive health and useful facts about fertility from The Institute for Reproductive Health
The hormonal shifts of menopause can bring frustrating and uncomfortable symptoms, ranging from hot flashes, and mood swings to serious anxiety and depression.
But with a strong energy practice and natural herbal support, the transition to menopause can be smooth and even exciting.
Most women reach menopause around the age of 50. If you experience menopausal symptoms at a much younger age, ask your doctor to check your hormone levels, test for possible pregnancy and other related health issues.
Most herbal formulas for menopausal symptoms contain some blend of the herbs black cohosh,
evening primrose oil, holy basil, ginseng or dong quai for their ability to support and regulate hormones, calm the nervous system and fortify bones and heart health.
Black Cohosh especially contains phytoestrogens (plant based estrogens), making it one of the natural alternatives to synthetic
hormone replacement and a favored remedy for hot flashes.
The first or Root and the second or Sacral Chakras are integral to the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of menopause. The Root Chakra correlates to basic survival while the Sacral Chakra houses our vitality
and creative forces.
Exercises that fire up the energy of the Lower Dahn-jon balance both of these lower chakras.
Try these yoga poses to manage your fire energy
Speaking of fire energy, one of the best ways to support your body and soul during menopause is to balance fluctuating hormones with the loving energy principle of Water Up, Fire Down
Besides eating healthy, getting plenty of rest and exercise, your attitude toward this stage of your reproductive cycle can also make the difference between a difficult ordeal or graceful awakening to a new sense of yourself.
If you can see the end of your menstrual cycles and fertility as the rewarding conclusion of a life well created, your body will remain vital, strong and eager to experience life independent of the role of nurturer.
With these natural remedies and energy exercises in your feminine hygiene kit, every cycle of your life can be strong, creative and full of grace.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions about your medical condition.