Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

PMS - Helped by St Johns Wort and healthy eating

A recent study shows that Hypericum Perforatum (St John's Wort) is effective in the treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are probably the most often prescribed drugs for the treatment of PMS. But it is not surprising that many sufferers, especially those who have mild to moderate symptoms, are often reluctant to take these drugs. Rather than risk the side effects, they buy over-the-counter remedies like St John's wort , the favourite choice, for which there is not much scientific evidence that they help PMS.

Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort) seems to work in a similar way to the SSRI drugs, so scientists at the Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds did a two year study. Daily treatment with Hypericum perforatum was more effective than placebo for the most common physical and behavioural symptoms of PMS. So women can use this herb in the knowledge that it really helps to reduce their symptoms.

KarmaMood is a licensed traditional herbal product that contains St John’s Wort, used to relieve the symptoms of low mood and mild anxiety. It provides some unique active substances called hypericin and hyperforin, known for their positive effects on mood. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sleep problems and PMS are all conditions for which this plant has been traditionally used, and now its value in PMS is confirmed.
KarmaMood costs £9.99 for 30 tablets and is available from Boots, leading health stores and pharmacies. Or direct from

It is not that long ago since the burden of PMS was virtually ignored by conventional medicine and relegated to the department of "all in the mind" conditions. And of course, it is all in the mind due to the hormonal changes and the way they affect the mental processes and cause the physical symptoms; not, as many medics would still have you believe, all in the imagination!

PMS is one of the most common forms of extreme stress. It can turn rational women into murderers, the most respectable mother into a shoplifter or the calmest daughter into a screaming dervish.

This distressing collection of symptoms produces physical, emotional and behavioural changes in millions of women in the few days before the onset of a period. Up to 70% of women may suffer and even those who have mild symptoms will be less efficient at everything they do for a week in every month.

Complementary medicine has believed for a long time that nutrition is the key. A good diet with extra zinc and B6 can work wonders. There is also a registered herbal medicine available in Boots and other leading pharmacy retailers called PremHerb containing Agnus Castus that is beneficial to those who suffer with PMS. For more information go to

Dietary changes are the first and most important step. Make sure that you maintain a constant blood sugar level by not going for long periods without food. You need to eat something at least every three hours. This does not mean huge amounts, but spreading your consumption more evenly to avoid peaks and troughs of blood sugar.

The changes aren't hard so give them a try:-

1. Cut down on your tea and coffee consumption. Try not to have more than two or three cups altogether each day. Instead you should use herb teas or unsweetened fruit juices.
2. Increase your consumption of wholegrain products – wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta and brown rice. oats, barley, nuts, seeds, lentils and beans.
3. Eat more fish (especially sardines, mackerel, tuna and salmon; more poultry and less red meat.
4. Eat a salad each day, and plenty of green and root vegetables.
5. Use LESS salt. Don't sprinkle it over your food, and put as little as possible in cooking. Avoid salty foods – crisps, salted nuts, bacon, kippers and the like.
6. Cut down on sugar, especially the 'hidden' sugar in cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolates and fizzy drinks.
7. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
8. Watch out for 'hidden' fats in meat products, and cut down a bit on all dairy products.

You may have cravings for all the wrong things just before your period. Try to resist, you may feel better if you can.


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