The Science Behind the Herbs

Does herbal medicine really work?

This is a response we often hear when we first start talking with women about a natural, alternative solution to help with their PMS symptoms.

Some are reluctant to even try an herbal supplement, as they just don’t think it’s as effective as “real science” (another phrase we hear from time to time).  

I’m not gonna lie, in my twenties and early thirties, I too was skeptical.  “How could an herb help me, it’s not real medicine?” I would hear myself saying.  

I had no clue that over the next decade I was about to experience just how real the healing properties of herbs and plants were and later see them completely transform my life and period problems.  But that’s a story for another time.

I was talking with a mother who was looking for ways to help her teenage daughter’s periods.  The mother never had issues with her own periods - they were consistent, easy, and nothing she ever had to deal with.  The daughter, on the other hand, struggles with debilitating PMS symptoms. 

While the mother believes in herbs and natural solutions, the daughter doesn’t share that perspective (yet).  The daughter was much like me in my early years - skeptical about taking herbal medicine.

I was talking with another young woman who shared that, while her mother was always offering herbal remedies when she was growing up, she thought herbal medicine was for “hippies” and wasn’t sure if it really worked.  She too adopted the skepticism that if it doesn’t come from a doctor, it can’t really work.

This article is for those mothers and daughters. It’s for all the mothers and daughters and women out there to help them understand the science behind the herbs so they can feel confident about what they’re taking and fully understand how it can benefit their periods. Is this you?

Because behind the medicine that plants offer, is real science.

And behind the science, is often herbal medicine.

Let’s take a quick look at how synthetic drugs were actually derived from plants.  Prior to the early 1900s, herbal medicines lined the shelves of drugstores. After Pasteur discovered bacteria as a leading cause for specific ailments and created the earliest vaccines, the world realized there was a way to provide remedies to the greater population for serious threats at the time (such as anthrax).  His germ theory of disease became the basis for the production of synthetic drugs.  One quarter of these drugs used in the U.S. are derived from plants by extracting the active ingredient from a plant and replicating its structure in the lab and mass-producing it.

These mass-produced pharmaceutical drugs are specific in their actions and targeting of certain diseases, whereas herbal medicine can have a broad range of effects on the entire human body and overall well-being. 

The Durham-Humphrey Act of 1954, legally designated these mass-produced, synthetic drugs as either ‘prescribed’ by a physician, or ‘over-the-counter’ for self-selection. Herbal medicines then began to take a back seat and were primarily found at food supplement stores.

Today, over 100 active ingredients derived from plants are used for every-day, common drugs and medicines.

Did you know aspirin is derived from Willow Bark? 

Sudafed comes from the plant Ephedra Sinica?  

Maybe you’re familiar with some of the more common herbs that are becoming mainstream such as St. John’s Wort, a flowering shrub, that according to The Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, WebMD and other highly respected resources helps with depression.  

Or what about Ginkgo Biloba?  It’s one of the oldest living tree species and is believed by many in the scientific community to aid in the treatment of dementia and memory enhancement.

Have you ever savored a good cup of Chamomile tea?  The flower from the Chamomile plant, with over 100 active compounds, has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for nausea, diarrhea, constipation and other stomach cramping.  You can find this tea in your local grocery store.

Despite modern era medical and technological advancements, public interest in natural therapies has increased greatly over the past two decades. The global demand for herbal remedies is on the rise and it’s estimated that this industry grosses about $60 billion annually.

Some natural remedies may be more affordable and accessible than conventional medicines, and many people prefer using them because they align with their personal health ideologies.

How do you talk to a family member/loved one who is skeptical about trying herbs to help with their period problems?

  1. Get curious. Listen with an open mind and try to understand where their skepticism is rooted.  Ask them “what is it about herbal supplements that make you skeptical?”
  2. Suggest and ask, don’t demand. Suggest that there may be other options they haven’t yet considered and ask them if they’d be open to researching the topic further before making any final decision.  Ask them to consider keeping an open mind.
  3. Share resources that help them to see the science behind the herbs (give them our link to this article, for example).
  4. Share stories with them of the results other women have experienced with their period symptoms to demonstrate how herbal supplements can help them. It’s not just you telling them. You’re showing them through story and evidence. Share your own story with them, if applicable.
  5. Follow up. Set a time to follow up with them to learn what they discovered. Also share what you discovered in your research and why YOU believe in herbs as an acceptable solution.
  6. Ask them if they’d simply give it a try. Ask them what they have to lose?

Skepticism shouldn’t be seen as shut-down when loved ones first dismiss your suggestion to try herbal remedies.

Embrace skepticism as an opportunity to empower your loved ones with research and information that can help them make informed, holistic decisions for their health and well-being.

To learn more about the herbs within Perfect Period and more about how Perfect Period can help relieve period symptoms check out our article:

If you know women in your life that are skeptical about trying natural, alternative remedies, please forward them these articles.

Melinda Cohan
Kenda, LLC