Menstruation Myths and Facts
A lot of women feel sore and grouchy whenever their unwanted visitor (menstrual period) comes.
Those terrible cramps are sometimes unbearable. Much discomfort is really experienced. It’s quite a bad curse! Science has told us that menstruation is just an essential part of ovulation.
Now there is a fascinating account from the Vedas on how the menstrual period began.
It starts with the story of King Indra, the superintendent-in-charge of the rains. Many millenniums ago, there was once a great battle between demigods and demons. King Indra, who led the forces of the demigods, insulted his guru or spiritual master, Brhaspati. Due to his influence, Brhaspati took its toll with the continuous defeat demigods in the battle.
Since the demigods are going downhill, Indra decided to accept another devotee of God as a spiritual master. He was Visvarupa whose father was Tvasta, a great priest whose line of ancestry could be trace to the demon family. But Visvarupa was a devotee of God who works on invoking a mantra, the Naryuv Kavaca mantra, an armor to protect Indar and the demigods. From then on Indra won the battles. Unfortunately, he thought ill of Visvarupa and suspected him of just using the demigods so that later on the demons will win.
This evil thought led Indra to kill Visvarupa, a terrible offense. But since Indra, being a demigod, possessed some powers, he distributed the bulk of his sinful reactions to four; women, trees, land, and water. Land has some portions turned into desert; water had bubbles and foam which are useless and poisonous; and trees had sap prohibited for drinking; women would have a bloody period, where toxics of her body will come out – the menstrual period.
To counterbalance these contaminations of sinful reaction, Indra granted some certain benedictions to all four. In return, branches and twigs of trees would grow back when trimmed; the ditches of earth will be automatically be filled with water; and women would be able to have intercourse even during pregnancy as long as it is not injurious to the embryo. Water, in return, would increase the volume of other substances with which it is mixed.
The menstrual cycle is a good indication of the health of the female.
In the ayurvedas, menstruation can also be used to determine a woman’s physical constitution – i.e. vata (air), pitta (fire), kapha (water). Regular menstruation, especially starting in the full moon, as well as absence of pain or tension, smooth flow, and balanced emotions, are signs of good health. However, most women suffer some difficulties with menstruation at one point in their lives.
Herbs for Treating Menstrual Problems
Asafetida increases the secretion of progesterone, the female hormone, facilitating smooth menstruation. It should be fried in ghee and mixed with goat’s milk and a spoonful of honey. Having this mixture for about a month reduces pain during menses.
Aloe Vera is known to be a good stimulant of uterus. As such, it is often administered to the women experiencing painful menstruation.
Ginger is very effective for cold climates. The lower temperatures often cause painful and irregular menses. Ginger is infused with sugar and this preparation is administered to the women experiencing difficult menstruation.
If a woman experiences congestive pain during her menstrual cycle, she can get relief by taking castor oil before her periods are due.
Henna has a very cooling effect. The suppositories of its leaves are placed in the vagina of the women who have problem of excessive flow during menstruation.
Vata(air) women usually have scanty menstrual flow. The blood is darkish-red or brownish, and generally a little dry or old. Menstrual cramping may be severe with lower back pain or headache. Feeling of depression and nervous sensitivity may increase, with fear of anxiety, difficulty in sleeping or insomnia. There will be some lessening of vitality and resistance. The vaginal wall is dry. Constipation, gas or abdominal distension may occur. Periods are most often irregular and variable, lasting only three days to five days.
Pitta(fire) women commonly have excess menstrual flow because of pitta’s association with the blood. Blood color is dark red or purple, and the flow is profuse and warm, with possible clotting. There may be fever or a burning sensation, along with a flushed face or red eyes. Skin rashes or acne may occur. Emotional states include anger, irritability, and a short temper. Diarrhea or loose stool of predominantly yellow in color may occur. Periods usually last for five to seven days.
Kapha(water) women exhibits moderate flow, but their period last longer – a week or more. The blood is pale or light red, with possible mucus, and the flow is continuous. There is a feeling of heaviness, tiredness and a desire to sleep more. Some nausea or vomiting with excess phlegm and saliva is possible. The breasts tend to swell and there may be edema, particularly in the lower leg. Sentimentality and nostalgia are more prevalent.
Sometimes, you may find some symptoms of one type and another is applicable to you, in which case you are of dual constitution.
A woman’s monthly period can be affected by several factors. These include poor diet, stress and overwork. Excessive physical exercise, particularly too much aerobic exercises, can cause difficulties.
What is vogue nowadays is having lean and mean bodies, a factor which also affects menstrual flow. Without adequate fat, the body cannot produce enough blood to easy menstruation. A pre-menstrual regime of quiet and rest should be followed, avoiding strong exercise, although mild asanas are beneficial.
As to how to deal with PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), exhibit by rapid mood swings, headaches, cramps, depression, and anxiety, ayurvedas suggest the use of gemstones. Gemstones like pearl and moonstones don’t only calm the mind and heart but also strengthen the female reproductive system.
Pearl is generally a woman’s gemstone and strengthens the feminine nature physically and psychologically.