Lavender for the Pre-Menstrum

Each month I bleed with the full moon so right now, I’m patiently awaiting my flow. The days leading up to this monthly release can be intense. Depending how easeful life has been during my cycle so far and the external demands of me in this moment, the pre-menstrum arrives with varying degrees of tension or ‘inner claustrophobia’. This can be relieved safely, naturally and healthily from the body through (widely misunderstood & inappropriately stereotyped) passionate and righteous emotional expression. As women, I feel that we need to claim the Pre-Menstrual for the healthy experiencing and expression of emotion that is really it.

The facts tell us that this is an incredibly tense time in the female body ~ the body has been working with clockwork lunar-timing and impressive hormonal fine-tuning throughout the cycle to ripen an egg (yes a human life – let’s not forget the magnitude of that) and release it from the ovary at Ovulation. Post-Ovulation, during the Pre-Menstrum, our hormone levels are very high but with no fertilised egg to direct it at, it stays in our system. So we feel it all as we wait patiently for the release of the hormonal overload with our bleed.

Over the years I’ve learnt that the inner pressure-cooker isn’t always so strong and that the Pre-Menstrum doesn’t need to be so challenging. Instead, it shows me that something demands my attention and my body has something to say. Often something in my life isn’t working for me or my giving/receiving balance is out of whack. Probably I did too much this cycle? Maybe I got swept up in the joys of Ovulation & said yes to too much (a classic for me!). Perhaps I gave away too much of myself to help others in need and now in my Pre-Menstrum, all the signals are calling me home to reclaim myself piece by piece. I need to slow down, get quiet and turn inward because I know I need to tune into what this intensity has to say. Most of the significant life changes I have made over the last 5 years were rooted in emotion that arose from my Pre-Menstrum and got listened to. Believe me – be open to listening to what comes up at this time of your cycle and this becomes like your secret super power. It has helped me to mould a life that is aligned with my needs over than the needs or expectations of others.

So what herb ally can we look to for support during this time? When the Pre-Menstrum comes strong, I always reach for a warm, strong Lavender infusion. I pick and dry it at the end of the summer and store it away for the rest of the year. Let it brew for 10 minutes before drinking to receive its full medicinal power. Lavender is a gentle, calming relaxant for the nervous system so soothes and relieves the inner tension whilst at the same encouraging the bleed as an emmenagogue (stimulates menstruation). More than this though, Lavender encourages me to take a moment ~ to slow down enough to appreciate the gifts of my Pre-Menstrum. And women, this is a radical act in a society wanting us to just keep going and keep giving. The Pre-Menstrum phase and into our bleed is OUR time to feel it all (and lets face it, there’s ALOT to feel in this world), to refuel and really nourish ourselves.