TCM series #5: Chinese dietary tips for menstrual problems


Diet is a causal factor in premenstrual syndrome (PMS); women can alleviate many symptoms by changing their diets. Reducing or eliminating alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, salt, dairy products and animal fats may be beneficial.

In the Chinese diet (and that includes herbs), one looks not only for vitamins and minerals but also the energetic properties of food like energy, flavor and movement. Other less important aspects include the meridian entered and organic actions; these refer to specific internal organs or the meridians on which the foods can act. Foods just like herbs possess specific functions to tonify, cleanse and regulate the body.

Certain foods can modulate the menstrual cycle in women. Below are the popular ingredients in Chinese dishes.

Name of the foods Beneficial effects Indications
Blackbone chicken Nourish the liver and kidneys; replenish blood and qi (vital energy) Heavy menses and excessive vaginal discharge
Sea cucumber Nourish the kidneys, enrich the essence and replenish the blood Heavy or scanty menses, excessive vaginal discharge and menopause
Cuttlefish Nourish the yin and replenish the blood Menopause due to blood deficiency
Chinese chives Warm the middle burner, activate qi and dissolve stasis Menstrual pain and irregular menses
Lamb Replenish qi, warm middle burner and relax the bowels Irregular menses and menstrual pain
Cumin Warm kidneys and the uterus. Menstrual pain and menopause
Cinnamon Warm and smooth the meridians, expel coldness and warm the uterus Menstrual pain and menopause
Red sugar Warm the stomach, fortify the spleen, pacify the liver, dissolve stasis, activate the blood and lubricate the bowels Menstrual pain, irregular menses after delivery
Hawthorn Activate the blood and qi, dissolve stasis and stop pain Menstrual pain and menopause
Mango Regulate menses Scanty menses and menopause
Clams Nourish yin and clear heat Heavy menses
Black fungus Stop bleeding Heavy menses
Lotus leaves Stop bleeding Heavy menses
Lotus root Clear heat, cool blood, dissolve stasis and stop bleeding Heavy menses

In order to have a smooth menstrual cycle, TCM always advises warm and cooked foods, and avoid too much food and drinks that are raw, frozen, not easily digested or spicy.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “TCM series #5: Chinese dietary tips for menstrual problems

  1. Pingback: Argentinean party in Chinese New Year Eve « Balance, Joy and Delicias

  2. Great post. I’m marking this one down for future reference. It’s odd to me because we always learned that dairy products were GOOD for PMS. But you are saying otherwise. I know to reduce alcohol and caffeine, but this weekend my friend was in town and it was Valentine’s day so my alcohol consumption was probably too high (which is why my cramps have been VERY bad!). It’s the perfect example of what you posted about earlier in the week, when you do stuff that you know you shouldn’t….I did that this weekend and now I’m paying.

    Hope you are doing something fun today Coco. Eat some chocolates and talk to your husband about how fun it will be when he moves to USA!

  3. Dropping by to wish you a Happy Chinese New Year!

  4. thedelicateplace

    wow. thank you for this. i have been having trouble with this ever since i went off birth control last april. i can’t seem to get a regular period! my doctor wants to put me back on pills but i do not believe that is healthy! i will give this a try!

  5. Thank the Lord I don’t get a period anymore! But I always found warm drinks to ease my symptoms…

  6. Now I understand why he recommended lamb 😀

  7. Great post! Thanks for the info. I know about limiting coffee, alcohol, sugar, and dairy, but I think I have to do a better job actually limiting them…

  8. Pingback: The Low Down on How To Keep Healthy During Your … PERIOD | Ilana Sowter Acupuncture

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