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erbal Actions
Emmenagogues: Are they or are they not?

© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

The term emmenagogue is widely used to describe plants that are used for a range of conditions in the female reproductive system. It has, unfortunately, come to imply a remedy that has some kind of effect on the functioning or tissue of the reproductive system. Strictly speaking the emmenagogues are remedies that stimulate menstrual flow and activity. In most herbals today the term is used in the wider sense of a remedy that normalizes and tones the female reproductive system. Such a broad definition is almost meaningless, as it obscures the wealth of diversity these herbs offer. Such remedies provide a whole range of distinct actions that can be used for the reproductive system either directly or indirectly.

It is important to identify the primary tonic herbs and then see how they impact this system in addition to their toning effects. From the list of `emmenagogues' that follows we shall select the most valuable tonics and explore their differential indications. For more details on the secondary actions of the whole list please refer to the section on Emmenagogues in the actions section.

Herbal 'Emmenagogues'
Achillea millefolium ----- Yarrow
Anemone pulsatilla ----- Pasque Flower
Artemisia abrotanum ----- Southernwood
Artemisia absinthium ----- Wormwood
Artemisia vulgaris ----- Mugwort
Calendula officinalis ----- Calendula
Caulophyllum thalictroides ----- Blue Cohosh
Chamaelirium luteum ----- False Unicorn Root
Cimicifuga racemosa ----- Black Cohosh
Gentiana spp. ----- Gentian
Hydrastis canadensis ----- Golden Seal
Hyssopus officinalis ----- Hyssop
Lavandula officinalis ----- Lavender
Leonurus cardiaca ----- Motherwort
Marrubium vulgare ----- Horehound
Marsdenia condurango ----- Condurango
Marrubium vulgare ----- Chamomile
Mentha piperita ----- Peppermint
Mentha pulegium ----- Pennyroyal
Mitchella repens ----- Partridge Berry
Petroselinum sativum ----- Parsley
Rosemarinus officinalis ----- Rosemary
Rubus idaeus ----- Raspberry
Ruta graveolens ----- Rue
Salvia officinalis ----- Sage
Salvia officinalis ----- var. rubia ----- Red Sage
Senecio aureus ----- Life Root
Tanacetum parthenium ----- Feverfew
Tanacetum vulgare ----- Tansy
Thymus spp. ----- Thyme
Tilia spp. ----- Linden
Trillium erectum ----- Beth Root
Trigonella foenum-graecum ----- Fenugreek
Tropaeolum majus ----- Nasturtium
Valeriana officinalis ----- Valerian
Verbena officinalis ----- Vervain
Viburnum opulus ----- Cramp Bark
Viburnum prunifolium ----- Black Haw
Vitex agnus-castis ----- Chasteberry
Zingiber officinale ----- Ginger
Attempting to clarify this situation, here is a list of the more toning `emmenagogues' in terms of their main impact on this fundamental body process. Remember that all bitters will have an emmenagogue effect in the strict sense of the word. If this is not immediate evident please review the section on bitters.
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About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it with hope, he as an individual had to be whole within himself....more
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