One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “My periods are irregular, can you help me?” Yes! Here’s the good news: I researched the most popular and safe natural herbs and herbal remedies for irregular periods, and here I share them. Plus, I found expert advice and tips from doctors and naturopathic physicians.
The not-as-good news? You need to carefully and thoughtfully decide which of these herbs and natural remedies will help with your irregular periods. What works for me or your Auntie Flo won’t necessarily regulate the flow of your menstrual cycle. And, what harmonizes your irregular periods this year may not help you next year. Our bodies are baffling and beautiful, mysterious and miraculous.
In 9 Easy Healthy Ways to Make Your Menstrual Cycle Regular, I list a variety of simple diet and lifestyle changes you can make to cope with irregular periods. That’s the article that most of my readers comment on, asking me for help. In this article, I list the most popular natural herbs and herbal remedies – but I want you to remember that there are no “easy ways to get regular periods.” But, these natural ways to remedy irregular periods will at the very least give you new information to think about…
How long have you been looking for help with irregular periods? WebMD says here’s when you need to call a doctor for an in-person examination:
- You miss three or more periods a year.
- You get your period more often than every 21 days.
- You get your period less often than every 35 days.
- You are bleeding more heavily than usual during your period.
- You get your period for more than 7 days.
- You have more pain than usual during a period.
I know it’s a pain to see a doctor – and it may be expensive, too. But if you’ve been searching for help with irregular periods for a few weeks or months (or even since your menstrual cycle started!), then you know that the solution isn’t on the internet.
Talk to a qualified medical health practitioner. Get examined in person. The natural herbs and remedies in this article can be helpful in normalizing irregular periods, but it’s important to see a doctor in person. Why? In case you have a more serious health issue (eg, endometriosis, polycystic ovaries (PCOS), structural uterine problems, etc) that are disrupting your menstrual cycle.
If you’re dealing with painful symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, you may find 5 Proven Ways to Ease the Pain of PMS helpful.
Natural Herbs and Herbal Remedies for Irregular Periods
Learning what type of natural herbal remedy affects which hormone is confusing, which is why many women simply take whatever herb tincture or supplement a naturopathic doctor prescribes. Sometimes, my readers even comment on past experiences when they say, “please help me with my irregular periods”.
Don’t fall into the trap of blindly trying any natural remedy without researching it yourself.
You’re here because you want to know why your periods are irregular and how to normalize them, right? So, take time to read through not only this information, but do some follow-up research yourself.
If any of these herbs or herbal remedies seem like a fit for you, make sure you take one more easy little step to protect yourself. I listed four of the top medical websites in America; your job is to search for the herb before you take it for your irregular periods. This is especially important if you have a health condition (eg, endometriosis, fibroids, hyperthyroidism, etc) or if you’re taking prescription medication or another herbal remedy for any reason.
Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)
According to Dr Sara Gottfried in The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep and Sex Drive; Lose Weight; Feel Focused, Vital, and Energized Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol, chasteberry is proven to reduce premenstrual syndrome and infertility, possibly by raising progesterone.
Most researchers believe that chasteberry increases the release of luteinizing hormone from the pituitary, which raises progesterone and normalizes the second half of the menstrual cycle. This helps with irregular periods by stimulating and boosting the hormone progesterone. Some doctors and naturopaths also say that the chasteberry herb lowers prolactin (another hormone that affects menstrual cycles). Other health practitioners believe that chasteberry has positive effects on dopamine (the brain chemical corresponding to learning, pleasure, and satisfaction), acetylcholine (the neurotransmitter that governs communication between the nerves and muscles), and/or opioid receptors.
The Chaste Tree Berry Vitex Supplement Formula can be taken to restore and normalize progesterone levels, chasteberry (also known as chaste tree, chaste tree berry, and vitex), is available as capsules or liquid tincture. The average dose is 500 to 1,000 mg/day.
Researchers don’t know exactly how the chasteberry herb helps with irregular periods, but it’s probably related to raising progesterone levels.
“In Germany, where integrative medicine is practiced as the standard of care, chasteberry is approved for menstrual irregularity, PMS, and breast pain,” writes Dr Gottfried in The Hormone Cure. “A Stanford University School of Medicine study shows that in women with low progesterone, fertility rates are higher among those taking chasteberry. After six months of treatment, 32% of the women taking chasteberry became pregnant, compared with 10% of the group taking a placebo. Unlike with most pharmaceuticals, fewer than 2% of the women taking chasteberry have adverse effects. Among this small percentage, the most common complaints are malaise and gastrointestinal complaints, including nausea and diarrhea.”
This naturopathic doctor adds that chasteberry has been proven to help low progesterone in more than sixty years of clinical research, including five randomized trials. “Randomized trials are my gold standard of best evidence,” Dr Gottfried writes. “When performed properly, they allow the least amount of bias and demonstrate causation – unlike lesser- quality study approaches, such as observational studies or case- control studies. As we try to find what truly, effectively helps women with hormone imbalances, any kind of bias is the enemy.”
Saffron (Crocus sativus)
Saffron comes from a type of crocus flower; it’s a common spice in Mediterranean cooking. If you’re searching for help with irregular periods from areas such as the Mediterranean, India, or Asia, you may know more about the spice saffron than I do! While saffron isn’t exactly a herbal remedy for irregular periods, it is a safe option for painful menstrual cramps, depression, and premenstrual syndrome.
One Body’s Vegetarian Saffron Extract 8825 is also a natural appetite suppressant, so you may find yourself losing weight with this “natural remedy for irregular periods”! Hopefully, that’s good news for you 🙂
Saffron is a difficult spice to harvest – it takes 75,000 flowers to get a pound of saffron, wow – so it’s one of the world’s most expensive spices. The best part is that it’s been used as a traditional natural treatment for thousands of years, so there’s a good chance it might help normalize and regulate your irregular periods.
Saffron is also an antioxidant; researchers are conducting lab and animal studies to see if it can help fight or prevent certain types of cancer. Saffron may help with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and painful periods. It may also help with other health conditions such as high cholesterol, but there is no clear evidence yet.
Ideal doses for saffron have not been set for any health or medical condition – not even to help with irregular periods – although studies have been done either on saffron extracts or 15-200 milligrams of dried saffron daily. Because the ingredients in supplements vary widely, it makes it very hard to set a standard dose of saffron to help women with irregular periods.
“While less proven than chasteberry in women with symptoms of low progesterone, saffron is a safe option for depression, painful periods, and PMS,” writes Sara Gottfried, M.D. in The Hormone Cure. “Yes, the same saffron that you add to your paella. This is not as wacky as you might think – saffron has been used medicinally for more than 3,600 years, and it is effective for treating depression, according to six randomized trials, including two that show it’s as effective as Prozac (for both depression and PMS, dosage was 15 mg twice a day).”
Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculousus)
If your periods are short and irregular because of low progesterone, then an edible brown seaweed called bladderwrack may be helpful. It’s been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India. Again, if you’re searching for help for irregular periods from India or Asia, you may know more about this herbal remedy than I).
Nature’s Way Bladderwrack is a natural source of minerals and is guaranteed to contain 0.04 iodine (no amount of iodine is safe for women with thyroid conditions – this is why it’s important to know why your periods are irregular before seeking help through natural herbs or herbal remedies).
A research study called The effect of Fucus vesiculosus, an edible brown seaweed, upon menstrual cycle length and hormonal status in three pre-menopausal women: a case report was reported in the online Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This report states that bladderwrack consumption may lead to significant changes in the regulation of the menstrual cycle by increasing the length of the cycle, stimulating ovulation, and lowering the estrogen/progesterone ratio in pre-menopausal women. This is all very helpful for remedying irregular periods.
“Such changes may be beneficial particularly with regard to women at high risk of estrogen-dependent diseases or who are experiencing fertility problems,” write the authors of this bladderwrack research study. “Results from these preliminary experiments also suggest that bladderwrack administration may alleviate hypermenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, which may provide some relief in the treatment of endometriosis. Although these reported effects are generally in a beneficial direction, their clinical significance is yet to be determined in a well-controlled study.”
Bladderwrack may help women who have short periods by lengthening their menstrual cycles and exerting anti-estrogenic effects – particularly in pre-menopausal women, say the researchers. This bladderwrack research also shows that seaweed – along with soy – may be an important part of Japanese women’s diets that reduce their risk of estrogen-related cancers.
Black cohosh or Remifemin – a phytoestrogen for irregular periods
“For women with absent or irregular periods, phytoestrogen-containing Black Cohosh may stimulate the uterus and help normalize menstrual flow,” writes Sarah Abernathy in Clearing up the Confusion on Phytoestrogens on the Natural Fertility Information website.
“Women with premature ovarian failure or unexplained infertility may benefit from phytoestrogens because they have the potential to bring balance to the reproductive system. This is particularly true for the endocrine tonic, Vitex. Vitex has been shown to help lengthen the luteal phase and encourage normal progesterone production, without being a source of progesterone itself.”
She mentioned Vitex; that’s the chasteberry herb for irregular periods that I described above. It helps with menstrual cycle irregularity by raising progesterone and normalizing the second half of your cycle. Black cohosh is another herb that can help women with irregular periods.
Enzymatic Therapy’s Remifemin Estrogen-Free Menopause Relief is standardized to be equivalent to 20 mg of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) root/rhizome. Black cohosh contains potent phytochemicals that have an effect on the endocrine system; exactly how this herb or herbal remedy helps irregular periods isn’t clear yet.
Remifemin has been clinically proven to reduce symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, including mood swings, irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, and occasional sleeplessness. Remifemin is estrogen-free, so it’s ideal for women choosing not to take estrogen. It’s a safe alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for normalizing irregular periods and relieving symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.
Black cohosh is widely used in the United States, Australia, and Germany. The German government has approved it as a prescription alternative to hormone therapy. In the U.S., black cohosh is available without a prescription. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you take it. You can buy black cohosh as a standardized extract in 20 mg pill form (such as Remifemin), which is taken twice a day. Root, extract, and tincture forms are also available in health food stores.
If you know you’re getting irregular periods because your hormonal balance isn’t normal, read 8 Natural Ways to Regulate Periods by Balancing Hormones.
Phytoestrogens or plant estrogens
Phytoestrogens (or plant estrogens) are naturally present in many plants and foods in the legume family. Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like substances from certain plants that work like a weak form of estrogen. While they are not the same as human hormones, some phytoestrogens are similar to and behave like hormones the body makes naturally. Phytoestrogens tend to balance estrogen, with estrogenic or anti-estrogenic effects to match what the body needs.
“Phytoestrogens are by and large nonsteroidal hormone-like constituents found in over 300 medicinal and edible plants,” writes Tori Hudson, N.D., Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness. “With the currently available evidence, soybeans are probably the richest edible source of phytoestrogens. Some plant compounds, such as lignans, found in flaxseed, are not phytoestrogens but are converted to estrogens in the intestines. There are many herbs that contain phytoestrogen compounds and have a role in amenorrhea.”
She adds that some plant compounds, such as lignans that are found in flaxseed are not phytoestrogens but are converted to estrogens in a woman’s intestines. There are many herbs that contain phytoestrogen compounds and have a role in amenorrhea. They support the reproductive cycle and relieve menopausal symptoms in women who are actually menopausal (as opposed to “just” coping with irregular periods for other reasons).
Herbs that contain phytoestrogens include:
- Alfalfa (Angelica sinensis)
- Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)
- Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
- Hops (Humulus lupulus)
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
- Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
Thyroid remedies for hormonal balance
If you’re underweight or overweight (a common cause of irregular periods), you could have a thyroid problem.
“Thyroid hormones regulate our metabolism and organ function,” writes Dr Natasha Turner in Supercharge Your Thyroid on the Dr Oz website. “They directly affect heart rate, cholesterol levels, body weight, energy, muscle contraction and relaxation, skin and hair texture, bowel function, fertility, menstrual regularity, memory, mood and other bodily functions. Without enough thyroid hormone, every system in the body slows down. Those who suffer from hypothyroidism feel tired and tend to sleep a lot. Their digestion is slow and weight gain typically occurs. They can also experience extremely dry skin, hair loss, and slowed thinking.”
In The Hormone Boost- How to Power Up Your 6 Essential Hormones for Strength, Energy, and Weight Loss Dr Turner reveals how the impact of five specific hormones (testosterone and DHEAs, adiponectin, growth hormone, adrenaline, and glucagon) are important when trying to lose weight and harmonize your cycle.
In Dr. Turner’s previous bestselling books, she described how to identify and solve hormonal imbalances. In The Hormone Boost, she focuses on optimizing what’s right and includes a revolutionary plan that has been proven effective for everyone, not just those experiencing symptoms of hormone disruption. With more than 60 recipes and a simple Pick-4 guide to creating meals, smoothies, and salads, the book makes getting the right balance of carbs, fat, and protein easy.
“You need to remove foods that keep your thyroid from running like a well-oiled machine and provide optimal hormonal balance,” says Dr Turner. “Some foods may be forcing your thyroid to work harder.”
She suggests avoiding these foods for two weeks to see how your body responds:
- Soy/flaxseed oil: These oils can act like estrogen and may force the thyroid to make more thyroid hormone than usual.
- Raw cruciferous veggies: These vegetables can contain compounds known as goitrogens that may interfere with the thyroid’s ability to use iodine. Only eat these veggies if they are steamed.
- Peanuts and peanut butter: This common legume is very acidic and contains goitrogens.
- High-mercury fish: Mercury is a known thyroid disruptor. The worst offenders are swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, shark and most tuna.
If you’re avoiding certain foods to lose weight and adding herbs to regulate your period, Dr Turner encourages you not not to overly restrict your calories. If you cut your food intake too much, you’ll simply hamper your metabolism by creating (or aggravating) imbalances in your stress and blood sugar hormones.
Herbal tea for irregular periods
When researching various herbs and herbal remedies to help normalize periods that are irregular, I kept coming across herbal teas. So, I found the most popular herbal tea for women’s hormonal balance and included it here – along with real women’s stories about how it helped their irregular periods.
Yogi Teas’ Women’s Energy Herbal Tea helps balance the female system. This herbal tea also contains herbs to help soothe the minor tensions and discomfort of your monthly cycle – so if you’re prone to PMS, you might enjoy this warm brew because it addresses common menstrual discomforts.
Here’s what Sue said: “I didn’t really expect to see results with this product, but I got desperate. I tried stopping birth control after six years and developed acne, so I went back on birth control. Fast forward two months later…I tried going off birth control again and I wanted to prepare myself for the hormonal flux. I drank this herbal tea 2-3 times a day for a month and I had my first normal period (4 days instead of 9) in six years. No crying spells! Super great results from this herbal tea…Cheers to hormone free, holistic health and I hope you find help for your irregular periods as well!”
And Cammie said, “This tea has changed my life. I have always gotten incredibly painful periods, to the point where I could not function. I had to ask my neighbor to take my dogs out to pee because I couldn’t walk! If I tried to take them myself, I would get sick and feel like I was going to pass out. I have collapsed on the sidewalk before, on day 1 or 2 of my period. And aside from the nausea, the period pain was literally unbearable. I started drinking the herbal tea every day. I would make a big pitcher, and sometimes combine it with green tea and a little bit of honey, then chill in the fridge. Or drink it warm at night with a little milk and honey, it tastes comparable to black tea. That first month, I barely had any period pain at all. Before, I would have to take 600-800 mg of Motrin just to be able to lay in bed and not cry. Since then, I have been drinking the tea regularly and my periods have all been incredibly mild.”
A diet to help balance your hormones
In The Hormone Reset Diet: Heal Your Metabolism to Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 21 Days, Dr Sara Gottfried – a Harvard-educated physician and the New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Cure – describes easy, natural ways to grow new receptors for your seven metabolic hormones. By balancing your hormones, you balance your whole system – including your menstrual cycle.
When it comes to weight loss, most women don’t think about hormones. But when you develop resistance to your seven major metabolic hormones (cortisol, thyroid, testosterone, growth hormone, leptin, insulin, and estrogen), your body adjusts by increasingly raising your hormone levels and ultimately slowing down your metabolism. And a slower metabolism leads to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. The solution is to reset the efficiency of your hormones by repairing and growing new hormone receptors.
The hormone diet will help you:
- Boost your metabolism and calorie burning by growing new and fresh thyroid receptors;
- Increase your weight loss by re-balancing estrogen and progesterone receptors;
- Reverse your aging by resetting glucocorticoid receptors (for better processing cortisol).
While this book isn’t specifically focused on helping women whose periods are irregular, it will help with hormonal balance. And, that, my dear friends, is the key to regulating your menstrual cycle.
More help for irregular periods and herbs
To learn more about all of the herbs and herbal remedies for irregular periods, search each of them individually on these websites:
National Institute of Health – The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives.
MayoClinic – U.S. News & World Report ranked Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. the best hospital in the nation in their 2016-2017 rankings. Mayo Clinic has ranked at or near the top of “Honor Roll” hospitals through the history of U.S. News and World Report’s best-hospital rankings. Mayo Clinic has more number one rankings than any other hospital in the nation with No. 1 rankings in eight specialties: diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, pulmonology and urology.
WebMD – provides credible information, supportive communities, and in-depth reference material about health subjects that matter to you. We are a source for original and timely health information as well as material from well known content providers. The WebMD content staff blends award-winning expertise in journalism, content creation, community services, expert commentary, and medical review to give our users a variety of ways to find what they are looking for.
MedlinePlus – the National Institutes of Health’s website for patients and researchers. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, for free.
I welcome your thoughts on these natural herbs and herbal remedies below! However, I can’t offer personal help or advice for irregular periods. You may find it helpful to share your experience, though, so please feel free to write.