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 Herbal Medicine: Amenorrhea  
Absence of menstruation, i.e. either lack of menarche or cessation of menses.

To recognize amenorrhea it is necessary to know what would be considered normal menstruation. The duration of a period is 28 +/- 3 days 65% of women, with a range of 18 to 40 days; once a menstrual pattern has been established the variation does not normally exceed 5 days. The average duration of flow is 5 +/- 2 days with a blood loss averaging 130 ml, usually heavier on the second day.

Amenorrhea can be of three broad types:

  • Primary amenorrhoea where menstruation has never happened. Such a wide variation in normal onset times of periods occurs that applying this diagnosis is problematic. Usually primary amenorrhoea implies that menstruation has not started by the age of 16. With the safe and effective herbs available to the phytotherapist, treatment could start at the age of 15 if called for. However competent diagnosis is called for as there are a number of diverse cause to consider, including imperforate hymen, ovarian dysfunction or hormonal imbalance. Obviously the treatment will be dictated by the diagnoses cause.
  • Secondary amenorrhoea when menstruation stops after at leastone period. This is a common occurrence with causes including pregnancy, stress, loss or gain of weight, menopause, breast-feeding, anaemia, excessive exercise, stopping contraceptive pill intake, some drugs, ovarian cysts or tumors etc.etc..
  • Erratic or irregular menstruation. There may be 3 or 4 periods in a year, or 3 close together followed by none for a few months. A similar range of cause is possible

Actions indicated for the processes behind this disease :
Emmenagogues are the classic treatment as they are triggers for the menstrual process.
Hormonal Normalizers will help the body regulate the levels of the various hormonal factors involved.
Uterine Tonics will contribute the nourishing, toning power they have.
Other Actions will be indicated by the associated symptom picture or case history. For example if anxiety and stress are an issue consider appropriate nervines, or cramp is present anti-spasmodics.

System Support:
The reproductive system must be supported, but beyond this will become apparent from the woman concerned.

Specific Remedies:
Most of the emmenagogues could be considered as specifics. However, care should be taken with the stronger ones as they may be too stimulating and cause cramping. Simple infusions can often solve this problem. Plants such as Pennyroyal, Yarrow, Mugwort and other emmenagogues listed above can initiate flow, but if not consider the following:

One possible prescription for amenorrhea associated with hormonal imbalance :
Vitex agnus-castis 1 part
Caulophyllum thalictroides 2 parts
Artemisia vulgaris 2 parts as tincture 2 ml taken three times a day until periods start

This supplies the following actions:
Emmenagogues (Artemisia vulgaris, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Vitex agnus-castis)
Hormonal Normalizer (Vitex agnus-castis)
Uterine Tonic (Caulophyllum thalictroides)

One possible prescription for amenorrhea associated with stress :
Vitex agnus-castis 1 part
Cimicifuga racemosa 2 parts
Verbena officinalis 2 parts as tincture 2.5 ml taken three times a day until periods start

This supplies the following actions :
Emmenagogues (Cimicifuga racemosa, Verbena officinalis, Vitex agnus-castis)
Hormonal Normalizer (Vitex agnus-castis)
Uterine Tonic (Cimicifuga racemosa)
Nervine Relaxant (Cimicifuga racemosa, Verbena officinalis)

Broader Context of Treatment :
This will depend upon identifying causes. Thus, other therapeutic modalities such as Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Acupuncture and so on, all have a potential role.
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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst 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......more
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