Premenstrual syndrome is one of the most common ailments for women, affecting more than one third of the female population between the ages of 18 and 52. That’s a large percentage of us who are miserable…and perhaps making our family/boyfriends miserable...every month! To make this time easier on you and those around you, start slowing down and taking a little more rest in the days leading up to your cycle, eliminate stress and agitations and start doing more nurturing things for yourself that keep you feeling calm and happy.
Here are some Ayurvedic suggestions for the week leading up to your period:
1. Eat simple and easy to digest foods
Lots of cooked fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes are best. Think soft, light and warm foods and try the simple Kitchari recipe below.
2. Do some yoga
Yoga postures will help with balancing your energy and breaking up any stagnation in the body.
3. Use castor oil
If you’re brave enough (it tastes terrible), you can take 10ml of warm castor oil + warm milk before bed each night. Castor oil is a great muscle relaxant to ease pain and cramps. If you’d rather not take it internally, you can apply warm castor oil and a heat pack on your lower abdomen
4. Eat 10 cherries on an empty stomach daily
Do this every day for the week before your period to help with PMS, body aches, water retention, and/or heavy flow.
5. Take 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel with a pinch of black pepper, 3 times a day before food, to prevent menstrual pain and discomfort.
The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, by Dr. Vasant Lad
Women’s Power to Heal Through Inner Medicine, by Sri Swamini Mayatitananda
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 cup yellow split mung dal
- 1 small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
- 6 cups water
Soak the mung dal for a few hours, if you can, to increase its digestibility. Wash the rice and mung dal twice. Add rice, dal and cilantro to the water. Bring to a boil, and boil 5 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. Turn down heat to low, and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook until tender, about 25-30 minutes.
This is the simplest way of making kitchari, but you can experiment with all sorts of herbs and spices if you like. Fresh ginger, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, bay leaves, and turmeric all work really well. Just avoid making it too spicy (i.e. adding chillies or cayenne pepper) as the body already has excess heat during this time.
Sit, relax and enjoy!
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