Five Indispensable Women's Herbs

Amelia Earhart disappeared while flying her plane in 1937, over the South Pacific, while attempting to be the first woman to fly around the world. In July of 2012 researchers found what they believe to be remnants of her plane.  They also found a freckle cream they believed to be hers.  

This got me thinking, what would I want to have with me if I were on a deserted island and more specifically what herbs!

Many of these herbs are excellent not only for women's health but for a variety of ailments. This is why I would want these multi-taskers with me on a deserted island!

Here is my list of 
Five Indispensable Women's Herbs:

Leonurus cardiaca

The 'lion hearted' plant, her name conjures a feeling of strength, intensity and power that mingles with a sense of gentleness.   Motherwort's latin name, Leonurus cardiaca, comes from its ability to strengthen and invigorate the heart. 'Mother' 'Wort' means that she is the common plant of Mothers, which is an excellent indicator of her use as a women's herb and ally.

Motherwort has a direct effect on the heart muscle and lowers blood pressure. It has also been used for spiritual and emotional problems related to the heart.  I have used Motherwort along with Hawthorn for my own heart palpitations with great success.

This plant is also an excellent herb for menstrual cramps. Motherwort is an anti-spasmodic, a nervine and a uterine tonic. She helps to relax the uterine muscle and eases cramps.  She also helps improve pelvic circulation and vascular congestion, which can relieve pain. Motherwort can help stimulate menstruation.

What makes this plant one of my favorites is that Motherwort is excellent for such a wide variety of ailments and women's health issues.  Historically she has been used to treat insomnia, anxiety, pain, heart palpitations, menstrual cramps, headache, chronic pelvic pain, depression, PMS, mood swings, irritability and stress. It is not recommended for use in pregnancy but can be used to assist in labor and post partum for assistance in increasing the milk supply.
(You can see the need for this plant if one were actually stranded on a deserted island!)

A lovely short video on Motherwort from herbalist Susun Weed:

Acteaea racemosa
Black Cohosh

Another beautiful multi-tasker! Black Cohosh appears in the Botanical literature in the 1680's and remains one of the most popular herbal medicines sold.  It is easy to see why, not only for its affinity for  women's reproductive health but also for its ability to treat many different aches and pains.

Black Cohosh is primarily used by modern herbal practioners for perimenopausal complaints such as: headaches, heart palpitations, depression, insomnia, hot flashes, irritability and anxiety.

It is also works effectively on menstrual cramps (especially aching discomfort in the lower back and legs), chronic pelvic pain, painful labor, PMS, endometriosis as well as many other women's reproductive issues. Black Cohosh also treats painful or delayed menstruation and revieves cramping.

This amazing plant is an anti spasmodic, pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. It helps to quiet coughs and is excellent with arthritis and other neuralgic and musculoskeletal complaints.

This herb is not recommended during pregnancy, and is for short term use only.

Vitex agnus-castus
Chaste Tree

Photo source: H. Zell, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chaste tree has a powerful normalizing effect on the hormones. It stimulates and normalizes the pituitary gland and progesterone. It is an excellent herb for PMS, painful menstruation, breast pain, insufficient breast milk production and menopause.

This herb can stabilize the menstrual cycle and is good for acne, as well as regulating the ovulatory cycle, therefore is an excellent herb to try for infertility.

The latin name of this herb, "agnus-castus" means "chaste" and  was named by the Greeks. It was used in temples and monastaries to calm libidio and passions. Chaste tree is not a technically an anaphrodesiac, but rather balances and normalizes.

Traditionally, Chaste tree has also been used as a birthing aid and as a help for new mother's milk production.

It may exacerbate depression and may interfere with dopaminergic drugs.

Urtica dioica

Nettles has a long history working with humans.  Nettle fibers have been found in burial shrouds that date all the way back to the bronze age (around 3300-1200 BCE). The beauty of nettles is that it can be used as a food and as a medicine. 

Nettles strengthen and support the entire body.  They are rich in vitamins and minerals that are easily assimilated and are one of the best sources of digestible plant iron. Taken daily as a tonic it is a beautiful nutritive plant. Its silica content helps produce strong and healthy nails, skin and hair.

As a women's herb it has traditionally been used to treat iron deficiency anemia, PMS, allergies, heavy menstrual bleeding, varicosities, acne, fatigue and to prevent osteoporosis.

Nettles is a delicious spring time food that can been cooked and eaten like other greens such as kale or spinach.  Nettles make a delicious pesto and a heavenly soup!

Rubus idaeus
Red Raspberry

It is hard to resist the charms of this wonderful plant, cultivated since the 16th century.  It grows red raspberries, one of summer's most delectable fruits.  The leaves are the real stars however and act as an excellent multi-purpose herb.

Red Raspberry is truly a women's ally.  It has been used as a uterine tonic and balancer and can be used to help chronic pelvic pain, painful menstrual cramps, and to prepare the uterus in/for pregnancy.  

Due to its high concentration of vitamins and minerals such as iron, niacin and manganese, it is an excellent nutritive herb. Red Raspberry tones and strengthens the entire reproductive system and helps prevent excessive bleeding after birth.

Other uses for Red Raspberry are for diarrhea, reducing fevers, production of healthy connective tissue and to assist with bleeding gums. 

As you can see these Five Indispensable Women's Herbs are remarkable in their abilities to help promote our health and well being.  I have them all in my herbal pantry and rely on them often.  I am thankful for the wide range of ways in which they assist the body!

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