Many women experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms, commonly called premenstrual syndrome (PMS), in the week or two before menstruating. These include irritability, anger, headaches, anxiety, depression, fatigue, fluid retention, breast tenderness, and cramps. These symptoms undoubtedly result from the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle, but we don't know the specific mechanisms involved or exactly how to treat it.
According to one small trial, classical homeopathic therapy may be helpful for PMS.
A 3-month double-blind, placebo-controlled trial tested the effects of a homeopathic remedy given in a single dose at the beginning of the trial.1 Each of the 20 women with PMS symptoms who participated in the trial received a classical homeopathic interview, and was prescribed a personalized homeopathic remedy. Then, half the women received the remedy prescribed to them, and half received placebo.
The results showed significantly fewer symptoms in the treated group.
Another double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluated the effectiveness of daily treatment with an individualized homeopathic remedy.2 However, the dropout rate was too high for the results to be interpreted in a meaningful way.
Traditional Homeopathic Treatments for PMS
In classical homeopathy, there are many possible homeopathic treatments for PMS, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment.
The homeopathic remedy Calcarea carbonica is often used for PMS when the symptom picture includes fluid retention, headaches, breast tenderness, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Other symptoms associated with this remedy include feeling extremely fatigued and depleted, with cold limbs and difficulty climbing stairs or even walking. Furthermore, these symptoms should worsen with exposure to cold or dampness in the morning, and with exertion.
Homeopathic Chamomilla is often used in forms of PMS where anger and irritability are predominant features. Menstrual flow is typically heavy with dark, clotted blood. Heat worsens symptoms, while aerobic exercise reduces them.
Pulsatilla may be helpful for PMS in young women. Moodiness and a tendency to tears may occur, along with nausea and mild dizziness.
Other Natural Options
For herbs, supplements, and other alternative treatments that may be useful for this condition, see the PMS article.
For a thorough explanation of homeopathy, including dilution of therapies, see the Homeopathy Overview.
1. Yakir M, Kreitler S, Brzezinski A, et al. Effects of homeopathic treatment in women with premenstrual syndrome: a pilot study. Br Homeopath J. 2001;90:148–153.
2. Chapman EH, Angelica J, Spitalny G, et al. Results of a study of the homoeopathic treatment of PMS. J Am Inst Homeo. 1994;87:14–21.
Last reviewed September 2014 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Last Updated: 9/18/2014