What is a menstrual cycle?
The menstrual cycle is the monthly series of changes a woman’s body goes through in preparation for the possibility of pregnancy. Monthly, one of the ovaries releases an egg – a process called ovulation. At precisely the exact same time, hormonal changes prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If ovulation takes place and the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina. This is a menstrual period.
Women may experience menstrual cycles that fall out the standard as described previously. Menstrual problems include missing a time period, change in the length of the cycle, changes in the flow, colour, or effects of menstrual blood, and extreme pain or other menstrual disorders. Women may also experience psychological distress or wide mood swings during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. There is evidence that a significant proportion of premenopausal women suffer emotional distress or impairment in job functioning in the week before their menstrual period.
How does Ayurveda view Menstruation?
Ayurveda concepts on Menstrual
The menstrual blood which flows out a woman’s body every month is
called as ‘Raja’ or ‘Artava’ as per Ayurveda. Menstrual blood or Rajas is
considered as an Upadhathu or sub tissue of Rasa Dhathu (Plasma) according to
Ayurveda concepts. From Rasa or Plasma, blood tissue or Rakta dhathu is formed
which has menstrual blood as the byproduct in women. This menstrual blood
reaches the uterus and is discharged for a period of three days.
The discharged menstrual blood or Artava has the following
- – Predominant of Pitta
- – It possesses qualities and features of blood
- – It helps in the formation of fetus
- – Normal
quantity expelled is around 4 ounces
We all are familiar with the terms Menarche and Menopause. The
first appearance of Menstrual cycle in a girl is termed as Menarche and the
cessation of menstruation in old age is termed as Menopause. Ayurveda opines
the age of Menarche as 12 years and the age of menopause as 50
Ayurveda has explained in detail about women’s health. There are
proper solutions described for each of the different health issues that a woman
faces in her stages of life.
What menstraul disorders does Ayurveda treat?
Menstrual disorders and their Ayurvedic approach
The menstrual disorders described in ancient Ayurveda classics are
- – Scanty menstruation
- – Heavy bleeding
- – Irregular menstrual cycle
- – Painful menstruation
- – Premenstrual symptoms like back pain, nausea etc.
- – Stress,
anxiety and mood swings
Research in Ayurveda for Menstrual Disorders
Research studies showing the efficacy of
Ayurveda in Menstrual disorders
- 1. Scanty menstruation/ Oligo Menorrhea – The
administration of shathapushpa choorna for three months in a
dose of 5 g twice daily along with cow’s ghee has been showing encouraging
results in women aged between 15 and 35 years in Oligo menorrhea or Artava
- 2. Hypomenorrhea, Oligomenorrhea and dysmenorrhea has been
shown to realize outcomes improvement by the administration of Vasti. Dashamoola tila
thaila Vasti has shown improvement effects on Hypomenorrhea. 
- 3. Longer duration of menstrual bleeding and irregular
menstruation is often associated with depression and stress disorders.  Ayurveda therapies can
effectively manage stress and depression.
- 4. The
effects of Yogasanas in effectively managing painful menstruation has also
been studied. 50 participants in case group attended Yoga class for 45
minutes for a period of 3 months. Visual Analog Scale or VAS scale was
used to assess the pain after 3 months in the case group and control group
which didn’t do Yoga. The effect of Yoga and other relaxation techniques
showed improved pain relief during menstruation in the case group. 
5. Herbal combinations generally used for
managing irregular and painful menstruation
A patient appeared with complaints of occasional pain in abdomen
(bilateral iliac) and intermittent per vagina bleeding for last three months.
She also complained about scanty menstruation and lower back ache. She was
diagnosed with sub serosal uterine fibroid with right para ovarian cyst. She
had undergone surgery for the same and on follow up USG another intramural
fibroid was seen.
Later she had taken Ayurveda therapies like shodhana to be more
specific Virechana and internal administration of drugs like Kanchanara
guggulu, Pushyanuga Choorna and chandraprabha vati for a period of 2 months. On
second follow up USG was done and found no hypo echoic lesions in uterus. Also,
her periods had become regular and pain in the lower abdomen reduced. 
Ayurvedic treatment for menopause
As we have discussed the ayurvedic management of menstrual disorders
let us discuss about Ayurvedic approach to menopause.
There is a period called perimenopausal period which occurs around
age 40 years in women. In Ayurveda it is called as Rajonivarthi kala.
Generally, the following symptoms are shown during this period.
- – Scanty/prolonged period of menstruation
- – Mood elevations
- – Excessive sweating
- – Loss of sleep/Insomnia
- – Hot flashes
- – Anorexia or decreased appetite
- – Lower sex drive
- – Vaginal
Let us look at the Ayurveda management of each of these issues
<span “times=”” arial”,”sans-serif”;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” new=”” roman”;color:black;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”=”” style=”font-family:”>Excessive
<span “times=”” arial”,”sans-serif”;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” new=”” roman”;color:black;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”=”” style=”font-family:”>Stress/ sleep
<span “times=”” arial”,”sans-serif”;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” new=”” roman”;color:black;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”=”” style=”font-family:”>Vaginal Dryness<span “times=”” arial”,”sans-serif”;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” new=”” roman””=”” style=”font-size:12.0pt;font-family:”>
<span “times=”” arial”,”sans-serif”;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” new=”” roman”;color:black;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”=”” style=”font-family:”>Hot flashes <span “times=”” arial”,”sans-serif”;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” new=”” roman””=”” style=”font-size:12.0pt;font-family:”>
<span “times=”” arial”,”sans-serif”;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” new=”” roman”;color:black”=”” style=”font-family:”>Hot flashes can be effectively managed by a
Ashwagandha herb for women’s health
Ashwagandha is used in Ayurveda frequently for managing
women’s health disorders based on the Practitioner’s advice.
- a. For
Withnia Somifera or Ashwagandha is used as a Rasayana in Ayurveda.
Many scientific studies and case studies were carried out and its adaptogenic /
anti-stress activities were studied in detail. In many cases of uterine
fibroids, dermatosarcoma, called as Arbuda in Ayurveda long term treatment with
WS controlled the condition. 6
- b. For
Ashwagandha has recently gained recognition as a treatment for
anxiety and stress in the United States. It is used as an alternative to
benzodiazepines and other prescription medications. It is categorized as an
anti-inflammatory, anti-stress supplement medication. This potent herb is also
classified as an adaptogen, which indicates its ability to regulate and manage
physiologic processes and thereby stabilize the body’s response to stress. <span “times=”” arial”,”sans-serif”;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” new=”” roman”;color:black”=”” style=”font-size:6.5pt;font-family:”>7
- c. Improving
sexual function in women
Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce and control cortisol levels
in persons under chronic stress and anxiety, restore normal adrenal function,
and normalize and regulate the sympathetic nervous system. It’s root extracts
treats sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety in
Males. In women, it ameliorates diminished sexual desire in women and in all
forms of sexual dysfunction. 8
Pitta pacifying diet and regimen for hot flashes
A balanced Pitta will always reduce the hot flashes and night
sweating associated with Menopause. Keep the following things in mind to
balance Pitta during menopausal period.
- – Remember to relax physically, mentally and emotionally.
Practice Yoga and pranayama or engage yourselves in your favorite
- – Never skip meals, especially Lunch. Include sweet juicy
fruits, cooling spices like coriander, fennel and mint.
- – Avoid sour, salty and spicy foods.
- – Drink lots of room temperature water.
- – Regularly practice abhyanga with a pitta pacifying oil
and use room temperature water for bathing.
- – Use herbs like triphala, ashwagandha, usheera etc. as
per the instructions of your practitioner
- – Undergo
a shodhana therapy or Virechana once in 6 months to keep the pitta in
Ayurveda has a holistic view of women’s health issues at different stages of life, and has solutions for each phase for good health. All the herbs and treatment procedures explained here are based on
research studies. Still, before undergoing any Ayurveda herbs or procedure make
sure you consult your holistic practitioner.