Herbal Health Information on Irregular Periods

Don’t stress yourself if you miss the odd period, unless you think you may be pregnant.

The hormone balance in the body is very finely tuned and any slight change in normal body function or activity may affect the hormones and disturb the usual reproductive cycle which usually results in an egg being released from the Ovaries once a month. During the month the lining of the womb grows and prepares itself to receive a fertilised egg. If the egg is not fertilised then this lining is shed each month and the whole cycle starts over again.

So many factors may affect this cycle on a one off basis, such as, stress, poor nutrition, increased exercise levels, a shock, breast feeding.

If periods are persistently irregular then this should be investigated by a doctor to eliminate polycystic ovaries and endometriosis. I have treated both of these conditions very successfully in my clinic but they need careful monitoring so I do not advise self medication.

If no underlying cause for irregular periods has been found then it is usually easy to get the cycle back on track with herbal medicine.


Very very important as we need the right building blocks in there that make the hormones.

An intake of the omega oils, 3, 6, 9 is essential for the production of hormones in the body. These are found in oily fish (salmon, mackerel) seeds and nuts and evening primrose oil. The other essential ingredient for a healthy reproductive system is Zinc, found in pumpkin seeds, peas and oats. Of course all nutrients are essential in sensible amounts but if these are lacking in the diet then the hormone production will be thrown out.


For the one and only time I am going to say that excess exercise is not good for you. It raises the testosterone levels in the body and can cause irregular or cessation of periods. By excess I do not mean going for a walk or a bit of a jog every day I mean heavy duty training for several hours a day. You cannot use this as an excuse to stop exercising.


The books will tell you that Agnus castus is THE herb for regulating periods. This is because it works on the pituitary gland which is the gland responsible for sending messages to the ovaries to tell it what and how much hormone to produce during the cycle. You can buy it in any good health shop but make sure you follow the instructions.

Of the plants we have seen on our herb walks, Yarrow has a tradition for balancing hormones and getting the cycle back on track and I use Tansy almost every time someone comes to me with irregular periods. Tansy is a strong herb so I do not recommend you trying it yourself.

Once the periods are back on track, you can usually wean off the herbs within a couple of months, by which time the body will have been re-educated as to how it should work and will continue working in that way.

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Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information