Emmenagogue Herbs: Herbal Support for Women's Health

emmenagogue herbs

Herbal medicine includes a wide range of terms that describe the specific actions of herbs on the body. One such term is "emmenagogue." If you're interested in natural health and remedies, understanding emmenagogues and their role in women's health is critical. In this article, we explore the emmenagogue definition, explore various emmenagogue herbs, and discuss their benefits for menstrual health.


Emmenagogue Definition


An emmenagogue is a substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow. These substances can help regulate the menstrual cycle and alleviate various menstrual disorders. Emmenagogue herbs have been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Western herbalism.


Emmenagogue Meaning


The term "emmenagogue" comes from the Greek words "emmena" (meaning menses) and "agogos" (meaning leading or bringing forth). Emmenagogues are commonly used to address menstrual irregularities, such as delayed, absent, or scanty periods, and to relieve menstrual pain and discomfort.


What Is an Emmenagogue?


An emmenagogue is any substance, particularly herbs, that promotes menstrual discharge. These substances can work by stimulating blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus, balancing hormones, or relaxing uterine muscles to facilitate menstruation.


The word "emmenagogue" refers to an herbal action, which is an effect that herbs have on organs and tissues of the body. To learn more about herbal actions, read our blog "Herbal Actions: A Complete Guide to Using Herbs Effectively."


Emmenagogue Herbs


Emmenagogue herbs are natural remedies that can stimulate or regulate menstrual flow. These herbs have been used traditionally to address various menstrual issues and improve overall reproductive health. Below are ten well-known emmenagogue herbs and their benefits for menstrual health:


1. Parsley




Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a well-known culinary herb that also acts as a mild emmenagogue. It contains compounds like apiol and myristicin, which can help stimulate uterine contractions and promote menstrual flow (1). Parsley can be consumed as a tea or added to meals to help regulate the menstrual cycle. It is often recommended to start with a small amount to avoid potential side effects.


2. Ginger



Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is another widely used herb with emmenagogue properties. It can help to stimulate circulation to the uterus and promote menstrual flow (2). Ginger tea is commonly used to relieve menstrual pain and discomfort, making it a versatile and accessible option for menstrual health. Fresh ginger can also be incorporated into meals, providing both culinary and medicinal benefits.


3. Cinnamon



Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is known for its warming properties and its ability to stimulate blood flow. It can act as a mild emmenagogue, helping regulate the menstrual cycle as well as helping alleviate menstrual cramps (3). Adding some cinnamon to your diet or consuming it as a tea can support menstrual health. Its sweet and spicy flavor makes it an easy addition to various dishes, from oatmeal to baked goods.


4. Blue Cohosh

blue cohosh


Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) is a powerful emmenagogue herb traditionally used to stimulate menstrual flow and ease childbirth (4). It contains organic compounds that can stimulate uterine contractions, so it should be used with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Blue cohosh is typically used in small doses and combined with other herbs to balance its potent effects.


5. Dong Quai

dong quai


Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is a traditional Chinese herb that is known for its natural ability to balance hormones and promote menstrual health. It acts as an emmenagogue by stimulating blood flow to the pelvic area and regulating the menstrual cycle (5). Dong quai is often used in combination with other emmenagogue herbs for comprehensive reproductive health support. Its use dates back thousands of years in Chinese medicine, where it is known as the "female ginseng."


6. Mugwort




Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to promote menstrual flow and relieve menstrual pain (6). It can stimulate blood circulation in the pelvic area and regulate the menstrual cycle. Mugwort can be consumed in a variety of ways but is primarily used as a tea or essential oil for menstrual health. Some cultures also use mugwort in rituals and as an incense for its calming effects.


7. Yarrow



Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a well-known herb with emmenagogue properties. It can help stimulate menstrual flow, relieve menstrual cramps, and balance hormones (7). Yarrow tea is commonly used to support menstrual health and alleviate discomfort. Yarrow is also known for its ability to stop bleeding and is sometimes used in first aid applications.


8. Vitex




Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus), also known as chasteberry, is a popular herb for regulating the menstrual cycle and balancing hormones. It acts as an emmenagogue by influencing the pituitary gland to balance hormone levels, which can promote regular menstrual cycles and alleviate PMS symptoms (8). Vitex is often used over several months to achieve its full benefits.


We use Vitex in our Women's Hormones tonic for its great emmenagogue benefits.


9. Black Cohosh

black cohosh


Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) is a herb traditionally used to address menstrual irregularities and relieve menopausal symptoms. It can act as an emmenagogue by stimulating uterine contractions and promoting menstrual flow (9). Black cohosh is often used to relieve menstrual pain and support overall reproductive health. It is frequently combined with other herbs in formulations designed to support women's health.


We use Black Cohosh in our Women's Hormones tonic for its great emmenagogue benefits.


10. Feverfew



Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to relieve menstrual pain and regulate the menstrual cycle (10). Feverfew can be taken as a supplement or drunken as a tea to support menstrual health.


Benefits of Emmenagogue Herbs for Menstrual Health


Incorporating emmenagogue herbs into your diet or wellness routine can offer several benefits for menstrual health:


1. Regulating the Menstrual Cycle


Emmenagogue herbs can help regulate the menstrual cycle by promoting timely and regular menstrual flow. This can be particularly beneficial for women with irregular or absent periods. Regular use of these herbs can help establish a more predictable menstrual pattern.


2. Alleviating Menstrual Pain


Many emmenagogue herbs have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that may help to naturally relieve menstrual cramps and discomfort. Herbs like ginger, cinnamon, and feverfew are commonly used to alleviate menstrual pain. These herbs can be taken in a variety of forms, including tinctures, teas, and capsules.


3. Balancing Hormones


Herbs like dong quai and vitex can help to balance hormone levels, which is essential for maintaining a regular menstrual cycle and reducing symptoms of PMS. Hormonal balance is crucial for overall reproductive health and can also impact mood and energy levels.


4. Stimulating Blood Flow


Emmenagogue herbs can improve blood circulation in the pelvic area, promoting a healthy menstrual flow and supporting overall reproductive health. Improved circulation can also help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps and other related symptoms.


How to Use Emmenagogue Herbs

herbal tea


Emmenagogue herbs can be used in various forms, including teas, tinctures, capsules, and essential oils. Here are some practical tips on how to incorporate these herbs into your wellness routine:


1. Herbal Teas


Many emmenagogue herbs can be consumed as teas. For example, ginger tea, parsley tea, and yarrow tea can be enjoyed daily to support menstrual health. Preparing these teas is simple: steep the dried herbs in hot water for around 10 minutes and drink.


2. Herbal Supplements


Emmenagogue herbs are available in supplement form, such as capsules, tinctures, or extracts. It's essential to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements. Supplements can provide a concentrated dose of the herb, making them convenient for those with busy lifestyles.


3. Essential Oils


Some emmenagogue herbs, like mugwort and cinnamon, can be used as essential oils. These oils can be diluted with a carrier oil and applied topically or used in aromatherapy to support menstrual health.


4. Culinary Use


Herbs like parsley, ginger, and cinnamon can be easily incorporated into your diet. Add these herbs to your meals, smoothies, or teas to benefit from their emmenagogue properties. Fresh parsley can be added to salads, ginger can be used in stir-fries, and cinnamon can be sprinkled on oatmeal or baked into desserts.


5. Herbal Blends


Combining different emmenagogue herbs can enhance their effectiveness. Herbal blends can be made into teas, tinctures, or capsules. For example, a blend of ginger, cinnamon, and yarrow can provide comprehensive support for menstrual health.


Precautions and Considerations


While emmenagogue herbs can be highly beneficial, it is essential to use them with caution, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any underlying health conditions. Some emmenagogue herbs, such as blue cohosh, can stimulate strong uterine contractions and should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new herbal regimen.




Emmenagogue herbs play a crucial role in supporting menstrual health by stimulating menstrual flow, regulating the menstrual cycle, and relieving menstrual pain. By understanding emmenagogues and incorporating these natural remedies into your wellness routine, you can enhance your overall reproductive health. Whether you choose to drink herbal teas, take supplements, or include emmenagogue foods in your meals, these natural remedies can provide significant benefits for your menstrual health.




  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5507507/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4106649/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488188/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3378382/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3585167/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3386506/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4062860/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4009336/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693613/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210006/

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