Excessive uterine bleeding is defined as anything over 80mL and can be caused from a range of different disturbances in the body, primarily uterine fibroids and polyps, endometriosis and other hormonal imbalances. When treating menorrhagia restoring balance in the menstrual cycle is important, however, controlling the bleeding is also of equal importance to ensure minimal nutritional losses and associated psycho-social effects that sufferers experience due to the limitations flooding and constant sanitary product changing places on them.
Vitex is an important herb for treating menstrual disturbances as it acts directly on the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to shift the ratio of oestrogen and progesterone. However, it is a slow acting herb and requires a number of months of treatment to experience results.
Ginger acts on prostaglandin synthesis which directly effects the volume of menstrual loss, as well as other symptoms such as pain and inflammation within the reproductive organs.
Symptomatic relief of heavy menstrual flow can be treated with astringent herbs due to the tannins found in these plants that provide a drying effect on the membranes and tissues they are targeting such as the gastrointestinal tract, the skin and in this case, the uterine lining. In many ancient cultures, traditional medicines for treating heavy menstrual flow do contain tannins with records from ancient Iranian medicine texts showing tannin-rich items such as carob, cedar, jasmine, rose and sandalwood as treatment for these conditions.
Other noteworthy herbs include Ladies mantle which displays astringent and anti-spasmodic properties, Panax notoginseng which acts by improving endothelial tone, Shepherd's purse indicated for heavy bleeding associated with fibroids, and Raspberry leaf which acts as a uterine tonic.