Feb 212008

The guidelines below are rather general but can be helpful when used in context. I’m mostly referring to excessive menstrual bleeding, miscarriage or abortion aftercare. Post-partum is a bit different, and I’m not as familiar with it.

Perhaps the most important aspect to examine here, is what defines excessive. It’s perfectly natural for some women to have heavy menstrual periods, and also normal and healthy for there to be a significant amount of blood associated with abortion, and especially miscarriage. The uterus really needs that cleansing, healing flow to repair and rebuild internally, so we want to be careful to not prevent that important part of the process. But when an individual loses their color, has rapid heartbeat, gets dizzy, feels confused or exhibits other signs of plummeting blood pressure accompanying large amounts of blood loss, it’s clearly time to take action.

Let me clarify that I am not addressing chronic excessive menstrual bleeding here, which needs to be based on a nutritional approach in most cases. Increasing mineral intake and eating high quality meat or organ meat will often significantly improve such cases.

Also, in some cases acute bleeding can be deadly, so anyone hemorrhaging should be heading directly for an ER. However, if you have borderline bleeding or are not able to reach medical treatment for some reason, here’s a few suggestions. Keep in mind that while these measures can reduce bleeding and encourage healing, they don’t necessarily address the cause of whatever is happening. After you get the bleeding under control, you need to seek treatment for the cause of the problem.

First, get off your feet. Lay down, rest and relax as much as possible. Try to avoid having an adrenalin rush (probably a natural response to realizing you’re losing large amounts of blood, but still not a good idea), and relax tension with gentle massage or mild, appropriate nervines (California Poppy, Skullcap and Evening Primrose all fit the bill). If there is strong cramping or other pain causing tension, try to treat it with minimum sedation. Avoid herbs that are strongly blood moving like Motherwort, Wild Peony and most herbs that are considered strong emmenagogues.

Next, take a 50/50 blend of Shepherd’s Purse and Yarrow. It’s a classic and it works really well in most cases. I usually give 2 ml every half hour or so until bleeding slows noticeably. Also, make at least a quart of strongly astringent infusion that focuses on the reproductive area, I like a blend of 3 parts Raspberry leaf, 2 parts Hawthorn leaf and flower, 1 part Rose and a largish pinch of Cinnamon. Let steep several hours if possible. Don’t drink it all at once if you can avoid it, instead sip at it very steadily over a period of several hours. For extra impact, add a few dropperfuls of Blackberry bark/leaf tincture to the infusion. I’ve heard great reports on Cinnamon tincture for this kind of thing, but haven’t used it enough to say anything conclusive from experience.

Of course, drinking all this astringent liquid can make your guts hurt from all the tanins and result in rather impaired digestion of food, so keep that in mind and don’t take the infusion for longer than you need to. Afterwards, I recommend a daily mild infusion with Raspberry leaf, Nettles and Elm or Mallow to help build the blood back up, strengthen the uterus and remoisten the gut. Add lots of berries to the diet to build the blood as well. Eat some organic, grass fed liver and generally absorb as much nutrition as possible.

I’ve yet to have the above not work, even in scarier cases. Watch for infection and treat accordingly (Bee Balm and Alder can work great here, after bleeding has stopped). Don’t lift anything heavy or strongly exert yourself for a couple of weeks, and if there was an abortion or miscarriage involved don’t take baths, have intercourse, use tampons or otherwise disturb the vagina and cervix for two weeks. And don’t get pregnant again until your body has fully recovered from this traumatic and draining experience. That last bit is especially important. Nourish yourself, and give your body and spirit time and space to fully heal.

  7 Responses to “Herbal Treatment of Acute Excessive Uterine Bleeding”

  1. Kiva, you don’t find scullcap increases bleeding?

  2. Hi Kate, no I haven’t found that at all…. though I am using small dosages (a few drops to half a dropperful generally). Have you seen otherwise? Chinese Skullcap root is traditionally thought of a blood moving, but I haven’t seen much reference to the herb being considered that way at all. I don’t see any warnings in the literature at the moment either, and Michael Moore says there’s no contradictions at all for the herb…. Because it’s a cooling plant I would hesitate to use it in someone showing signs of cold and weakness in general.

    But like I said, please let me know if you have experience that illustrates otherwise! I’d be very interested to know.

  3. I find the mints in general make me bleed more if I take them when I’m bleeding. I think that includes scullcap – it’s one herb I won’t take when I’m bleeding heavily. I’m talking about chronic heavy bleeding though, not acute.

  4. That’s really interesting, kate, and with particularly moving effects of many mints, especially the aromatic ones, I can see how that would be. Do you have a nervine you prefer when you’re having heavy bleeding?

  5. SJW tincture and oatstraw infusion mostly. Often I need relaxants though which is what the mints and scullcap do, and which is part of their effect on bleeding?

    I’m also thinking that borage (my other main relaxant) is increasing my bleeding, although that’s with use over time, I don’t know if it has that immediate effect.

    Do you use the term blood moving to mean increase in bleeding, or is it broader than that?

  6. I’m using blood moving as defined by Chinese Medicine generally as an action of herbs that relieve blood stagnation or congealed blood, by invigorating its movement through the body, and can in some cases increase bleeding. Blood moving herbs often include what we call emmenagogues, like Wild Peony or Red Sage Root or Angelica.

    It’s important to note that certain kinds of excessive bleeding stem from blood stagnation/stasis where the blood wants to pool or stay stuck in one area of the body (like the uterus).

    Herbs that move the blood can relieve pain and relax tension, although an herb can relax tension through a completely different way. I’m mixing chinese medicine and western terminology all up here, I hope I clarify rather than further confuse.

    As a note, TCM usually considers Peach Seed to be a very strong blood mover, I haven’t explored this very much with the leaf and bark, but it’s worth noting if you’re prone to heavy bleeding.

  7. Hi there Kiva Rose,
    What do you recommend for chronic excessive menstrual bleeding that doesn’t respond to iron supplements or the eating of meat? In my case, all physical causes and hormonal imbalances have been ruled out through diagnostic screening– I just bleed a lot naturally: 300-500mL per period! For 6 years I have been fighting off doctors who insist that I take hormonal birth control methods to stop the blood loss. But for me, my moon cycle and the flow of hormones in my body is SACRED! Foregoing it is not an option for me even though it sounds like the ‘logical’ solution to end this suffering from iron depletion. Lately I’ve been looking at herbs like yellow dock, nettle, vitex, chlorella to add to my regime of buffalo meat, Floradix, Beet Crystals and Chinese Gui Pi Tang… Do you have any suggestions or articles on herbs for treating menorrhagia a.k.a. chronic excessive menstrual bleeding?

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