Can chaste berry stop me being a hormonal mess?

2017-08-01T07:11:37+00:00 Anxiety tips, Health, Research|

woman PMS

Periods, you guys.

Nature’s way of reminding you that no matter how pretty your hair highlights, or how on point your pedicure, or tidy your bedroom, you are still a RED HOT MESS. Every. Single. Month. Until you’re too old to care.

Like many women, I’ve always battled with my monthly.

Not only is the actual period itself horrendous and awkward and painful. The weeks leading up to it make me completely flip a lid and freak out.

Like, to the point where I become a totally different person.

One day I’m all ‘La la la, oh look at that blue sky! I’m so grateful for my strong legs that help me walk. Wow, a butterfly! This universe is incredible, and this life is a gift! La la la.’

Next day:

HEAVY DEATH METAL ON FULL VOLUME! THIS PLANET SUCKS. I HATE EVERYONE. I HATE MYSELF. I HAVE NOTHING TO LIVE FOR. THAT STUPID BUTTERFLY JUST TOUCHED MY HAIR. RAAHHHHHHH!

That’s not an exaggeration.

So, what’s a woman to do?

This year, I vowed to try every trick in the book to calm my mind – and keep it that way – throughout the month. Every month.

Even with my hormones and brain chemicals doing their wacky dance.

Quitting the contraceptive pill

I’m also about to come off birth control.

Gulp.

Last time I did, my body freaked out and I got teenage acne All OVER MY FACE. It awakened my depression and after four months, I went back on the pill because I just couldn’t handle the transition.

This time, I want to do it right.

I’ve hired a naturopath, a Chinese doctor, and done tonnes of research on how to minimise acne when stopping the pill.

Keep an eye on the site in coming months, as I blog my (hopefully) blissful experience. Ha!

Things I’ve tried to placate my PMS and prepare for quitting the pill

Here’s what I’ve experimented with so far:

Iyengar yoga
It requires intense focus, technique and a calm mind. You can read all about my experience here

Meditation
I took a long break from meditation (no profound reason, I was just lazy). I now use the Headspace app to keep up a daily practice.

Creative play
Drawing, crafting, painting, designing…without worrying about the final result. It’s about the process, not the product.

Crazy mind journaling
Also known as ‘stream of consciousness journaling’, but for me it’s just a way to get all my weird thoughts out of my head and onto a page that I’ll never look at again.

Herbal teas
Coffee has always given me spots. Didn’t stop me from drinking it though. Ha! But now I’ve given it up completely (sob). The detox blend by Cindy’s Tea is getting me through, and helping my liver clean out excess oestrogen. It tastes divine.

Coconut oil
Eating it, cooking with it, and massaging it into my facial skin before bed. My skin does seem a lot clearer.

Walking
I’ve always loved walking. And without a car, I walk EVERYWHERE. For hours. It’s been my go-to for getting out of my head, feeling connected to the earth and the wider universe, and mulling over problems til they slip away.

Running
Sort of the same as walking, but with added endorphins. So I clear my head, feel fitter AND get a natural high. Triple whammy!

Gelatin
Sarah Wilson got me onto this with her yummy gelatin gummy recipes. I make a batch every week, and aim to have at least a tablespoon (one gummy) a day. Gelatin is a bit of a wonder food. It improves your joints, skin, hair and digestion. It helps the body flush out toxins caused by the stress response. Read Ray Peat’s wonderful article about gelatin and stress.

And now I try chaste berry!

Next up, I’m trying chaste berry (also known as Vitex) for my PMS. And to help rebalance my hormones to come off the pill.

Just a few drops in some water morning and night is apparently all it takes to alleviate PMS symptoms.

Chaste berry is also said to boost progesterone. This is really important when you come off the pill, because you’ll have an overload of oestrogen and undersupply of progesterone. But you should only take it AFTER having a hormone test and speaking with your healthcare professional.

I’m hopeful.

And maybe it’s just placebo effect at the moment, since it’s early days, but this month my PMS was surprisingly subdued. I had one mini-freak out at my boyfriend about the dishes (pretty much the same as crying over spilt milk. Pointless.) but I didn’t get the long stretch of pre-menstrual depression or anxiety or irritability.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

Have you tried any of these tricks for PMS or coming off the pill? I’d love to know! Just comment below. 

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