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Self Help Home Remedies
These home remedies were compiled by Chris Nelson, a healthworker at the Feminist Women's Health Center in Chico, CA, in 1976. Originally printed in the Self Help Home Remedies pamphlet, which is now out of print, we have made the contents available here. 
 
Home Remedies Index
Menstruation
Period Inducers
Decrease Menstrual Flow
Menstrual Cramps
Pre-Menstrual Tension
Bloating
Alternative to Tampons
Menopause
Constipation
Diarrhea
Vaginal Itching
Vaginal Inflammation
Bladder Infections
Diuretics
Vaginal Infections
Trichomonas
Genital Warts
Yeast
Bacterial Infections
Herpes
Cervicitis
Leukorrhea
Pregnancy
Morning Sickness
Cramps
Uterine Tonics
Labor and Delivery
Contractions
Placental Expulsion
Postpartum
Stitches
Nursing and Lactation Cracked Breasts
  Sore Nipples


Menstruation

Emmenogogues (Period Inducers) Remedies Index

Mild to strong emmenagogues are included here. The more powerful ones (the ones that can induce abortions) have been left out because they can cause violent side effects. Any of the following herbs can be used in combination, 3 - 5 together.
Mild Red sage, Chamomile, American saffron, Elecampane, Lemon balm, Parsley, Basil (use 1 c. every 3 hours)
Moderate Ginger (1/4 tsp. dried or 1" fresh root), Yarrow, Motherwort ,Rosemary ,Mugwort ,Thyme ,Southemwood ,False valerian (squaweed), Wintergreen (contains aspirin-like chemical ),Gentian ,Angelica (the Chinese herb Dong-Quai ), Ephedra (morman or squaw tea)
Strong Pennyroyal, Blue cohosh, Black cohosh, Myrrh 6 gm. Vit. C per day for 5 days before period is due

To decrease menstrual flow Remedies Index

Mild Yarrow, Horehound
Moderate Ova ursi (steep 1/2hr.), Red sage
Strong raspberry, shepherds purse, black haw; witch hazel, white oak bark, bayberry bark
Use 1 oz. of mix and steep in 1-pint water: Prickly ash, Wild yam, Red raspberries, Cinnamon, Blue cohosh

Pre-Menstrual Tension/Nervines Remedies Index
Increase calcium intake, Horsetail grass, Comfrey, Chamomile, Spearmint, Lavender, Mugwort, Oat straw, Valerian, Vervain, Skullcap, Alfalfa, Kola nuts, Celery seeds, Catnip, Motherwort, Passionflower, Hops (sedative), Lady slipper (can be poisonous)
Mild chamomile, spearmint, and lavender
Moderate catnip, Mugwort, alfalfa (high in calcium), kola nuts, celery seeds, increasing calcium intake before period is due. One very high calcium tea is a combination of horsetail, oat straw and comfrey leaf. A good supplement is also a calcium/magnesium compound called Dolomite (take one a day starting two weeks before period).
Strong valerian (anodyne and muscle relaxant; use with caution), Vervain, skullcap, passion flower (use with caution as it has narcotic effect similar to morphine), hops.

Water Retention / Bloating Remedies Index
Use the diuretics listed in section on bladder infections.

Constipation Remedies Index
Eat light diet with lots of fruit, raw vegetables, yogurt and soups. Cut back on cheese, meat and starch.

Diarrhea Remedies Index
Eat more cheese, starch, barley, bananas, and applesauce. Herbs: Simmer herbs below in any combination for 10 - 20 minutes and sip slowly.
Slippery Elm, Stinging nettle, Cinnamon, Bayberry bark, Mallow, Blackberry root

Alternative to Tampons Remedies Index
Use an old diaphragm, one without holes in it.
Take a small artist or cosmetic sponge, tie a string to it and insert. Remove when full, rinse and reinsert. When your period is over soak or wash out the sponge in 1 tsp. white vinegar/l cup water for 15 minutes. Dry and store until next period. Both of these suggestions work as well as a super tampon.

Menstrual Cramps Remedies Index
Sweet balm (lemon balm), Chamomile, Mugwort, Motherwort (use as tea or poultice), Dolomite, Squaw vine, Spicebush, Parsley, Sassafras

Stronger: Black haw (a specific uterine sedative, also known as crampbark), skullcap (sedative), ginger root (counterirritant; use as a tea or poultice over uterus. Also effective for ovulatory pains. Use with caution), Blue and black cohosh, vervain, valerian, lobelia (use in small doses, can cause nausea vomiting and over-sedation).

Menopause Remedies Index
General health measures, well-balanced diet, rest and exercise are all important. Vitamin E lOOu tablets, 3 - 4 times a day for relief of symptoms like hot flashes and nervousness.

Combine one part each of:
Blessed thistle or holy thistle, Raspberry leaves, Golden seal root, Uva ursi, holy thistle, Cramp bark, Cayenne, Squaw vine herb, Ginger, False unicorn root.
Powder and cap in gel caps. Start with 3 caps, twice a day then adjust dosage according to body needs.

Tonics: (specific for women) Black cohosh, Sweet flag (can be dangerous), licorice root, Star root, Black haw, Squaw weed (false Valerian), Motherwort, Pennyroyal, Spearmint, All mints

General Tonics: Comfrey, Alfalfa, Nettle Dandelion root and leaves, Sage, Yarrow, Yerba Santa, Myrrh, Golden Seal.

Hormone Herbs for Menopause
These herbs are known to contain estrogens and progesterones. Many of these contain both progesterone (P) and estrogen (E) like activity.
Red raspberry (P&E), Wild yam (E) (root bark), Cucumber (stimulates hormone producing organs), Vitamin E (E), False unicorn, licorice (P&E), Helionas, Pennyroyal and other mints (E), Star root, Sarsaparilla (P&E).

Vaginal Infections Remedies Index
Through the use of self-cervical examination and becoming familiar with our healthy vaginal changes, we become aware of infection processes in the beginning stages. This means that we can take action early enough to prevent infections from happening. The best time to use herbal remedies effectively is in the beginnings of an infection. If you cannot tell by the discharge what kind of infection you have, have it diagnosed correctly before treating.
Trichomonas Remedies Index

Trichomonas will not withstand an acidic environment. For women who are susceptible to trichomonas, spermicidal jellies (because of their acidity) tend to inhibit the growth of trich. Insert one applicator daily every 2-3 weeks as a preventative measure. Drinking cranberry juice or taking vitamin C will acidify the urine and all the tissues.

Men do not always show signs of trichomonas and they should abstain or use a condom for 10 days. The organism will not survive. They can also wash their genitals with the Betadine solution described below:
  1. Garlic suppositories. Insert one clove two times a day for 3 - 5 days Change every 12 hours. To make suppository peel a clove of garlic and place it in the center of a piece of gauze (2 - 3 inches wide). Fold the gauze in half and twist around the clove, dip into vegetable oil (for easier insertion) and insert into the vagina. Push in as close as possible to the cervix, leaving a tail of gauze to pull out.
    • Day 1: use garlic suppository twice.
    • Day 2: douche once with 1-2 TBSP vinegar in one-quart warm water.
    • Day 3: use garlic suppository; changing every 12 hours.
    • Repeat this cycle until the symptoms are gone.
  2. Douche two times/day for two weeks with a solution of 1/2 tsp. witch hazel 1/2 tsp. comfrey root
    Simmer in one-quart water for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp. golden seal. Steep for 15 minutes. Cool and use.
  3. Douche 2 times a day for 2 weeks with: 1/2 tsp. Myrrh, 1/2 tsp. golden seal
    Simmer for 5 minutes in one pint of water. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp. bayberry bark and steep until warm.
  4. Betadine douche and vagisec suppositories:
    Douche every morning with: 1 tsp. Betadine in 1-quart water.
    Insert one vagisec suppository each night at bedtime. (Always insert suppositories after intercourse.)
    Use the douche and suppositories throughout one entire menstrual cycle. Be sure you are not allergic to Iodine. Also, Betadine stains a bright brown.
Genital Warts Remedies Index

The only wart treatment found in the literature was a statement that tincture of yellow cedar applied to warts will make them disappears. There are no specifications as to how long to leave the tincture on the warts or how many times to apply it.

Podophyllum, the acid used to bum off warts, is a component of the mandrake (mayapple) root. The diluted resin (tincture, product dissolved in alcohol) is used externally as an irritant in Indian medicine. It could possibly be used to treat venereal warts. It is a powerful acid and should be washed off within 2 hours after application. DO NOT USE INTERNALLY!
Yeast Remedies Index

Yeast is always present in our vaginas. It is only when our bodies are off balance that yeast will create an infection. Some precipitating factors are antibiotic therapy, stress, diet or weather changes, birth control pills and high sugar intake (creates an alkaline balance in tissues).

  1. Drink, douche and bathe with oat straw tea for one month.
  2. Apply a poultice of natural cottage or farmers cheese on a sanitary pad (or minipad). Change it several times per day. This will stop the itching and help draw out the infection. Use until symptoms do not reoccur within 12 hours. Cottage cheese contains lactobacillus, the normal bacteria of the vagina. Do not use supermarket cottage cheese, only natural food store type.
  3. Apply one applicator of yogurt or acidophilus culture at bedtime for 3 - 5 days. Alternatively, you can use acidophilus capsules inserted as a suppository. Use only natural food store or homemade yogurt.
  4. Paint the vagina with 1 - 2% water solution of gentian violet. Do this twice. Gentian violet will stain everything purple.
  5. Douche once a day for 5 days with: 1 TBSP potassium sorbate dissolved in 1-quart warm water. Potassium sorbate is an over-the-counter product. It is used to stop the fermentation of yeast in the winemaking process. Check at local pharmacies or winemaking stores.
  6. Douche once a day with: 1 TBSP vinegar to one quart of water. Use this in conjunction with yogurt. Yogurt and diluted vinegar (white vinegar) can be applied externally to help with itching and inflamed labia.
Bacterial Infections Remedies Index

  1. Try the astringent herbs listed under leukorrhea.
  2. Douche 1- 2 times a day for 3 - 5 days with: 1 TBSP vinegar and one garlic pearl (or oil from one clove of garlic) in one quart warm water.
  3. Douche 2 times a day for two weeks with: 1 TBSP slippery elm bark simmered for 20 minutes in 1 cup water. Remove from heat and add 2 TBSP plantain leaves. Steep for 10 minutes. Cool and use. Strain before using.
  4. Douche 1 - 2 times a day for 3 - 5 days with: Comfrey leaves, Chamomile, Golden seal, Sage. Use equal parts of each herb. Steep one level tsp. of mixture in one quart of water for 20 minutes. Cool, strain and use. You can add one TBSP apple cider vinegar.
  5. One of the most effective remedies for bacterial infections is the intake of large amounts of all the B vitamins: 100 mg. of B 1, B2, and B6; 299 mg B8 as well as pantothenic acid.
  6. Motherwort douche.
Herpes Remedies Index

  1. Apply an infusion of golden seal and myrrh to sores. Also you can make a paste of golden seal and myrrh in hot water to apply directly to blisters. Let the paste remain on sores and soak off every day.
  2. Tincture of calendula (pot marigolds). Apply tincture as often as necessary to help itching and dry them up. After urinating is a good time. When blisters are not active, apply once a day as a preventative measure. The tincture can be purchased at health food stores.
    You can make it at home by picking fresh flower heads and packing them tightly in a glass jar. Cover with ethyl alcohol (the kind used in vodka and tequila). Shake the jar once a day for 14 days and then strain off the liquid. Dilute with 10 times as much water. The same solution may be used with the homeopathic tincture.
  3. Apply fresh, crushed aloe Vera leaves to sores 3 times a day.
  4. Apply the gum exudate from the Sweet Gum tree (American storax).
  5. To build up healthy tissue and dry out blisters, place a sun lamp 18 inches away from area for 30 seconds, 4 times a day for 3 days. Then one minute 3 times a day for 3 days, and then for 2 minutes 3 times a day for 3 days.
  6. Apply fresh mashed comfrey root 2- 3 times a day. Use until blisters are gone. Also, drink the tea.
  7. 1 - 2% solution of gentian violet will help stop itching.
  8. High doses of B vitamins for 3 weeks. (Try stress formulas with Vitamin C.)
Cervicitis Remedies Index

  1. Paint the cervix with Vitamin E. Do this 2 - 3 times a week for one entire menstrual cycle.
  2. Douche with comfrey leaf or root tea twice a day for 10 days.
  3. Apply a solution of: 4 oz. golden seal, echnea root, geranium root. Add to 3 quarts of distilled water. Let solution stand for 6 hours then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain then simmer down to 1 � pints. When cool, add 8 oz. glycerin. Shake and apply as needed.
Leukorrhea Remedies Index

This is a general term that refers to an excessive discharge from the vagina It can be either a normal or infectious discharge. Most of the herbs used for leukorrhea are astringents. Those listed can be used singly or in combination. More experimentation needs to be done to see if these herbs are effective for nonspecific or yeast infections. Use them as a douche.

Plantain, Pipsissewa, Fleabane ,Motherwort, Prickly ash bark, Sumac berries, Uva ursi, Yarrow, White oak bark, Bayberry bark, Witch hazel bark, Golden seal, Chickweed.

Vaginal Itching associated with Infections Remedies Index
  1. Cold milk compresses 5 - 10 minutes, 5 - 6 times a day.
  2. Salve or ointments with Goldenseal (purchase at health food store)
  3. Wheat germ oil.
  4. Hot shallow bath with sage, nettle or slippery elm tea added
  5. Diluted vinegar splashed on area.

Vaginal Inflammation Remedies Index
Another vaguely defined term, possibly associated with infections.
  1. Douche with: 2 tsp. golden seal to one pint water, steeped for 20 minutes, 2 - 3 times a day. This will relieve sharp pains and is highly antiseptic.
  2. Douche with marshmallow root tea.
  3. Slippery elm suppositories. Make a thick paste of slippery elm powder and warm water. Shape into I" X 2" tablets. Place in warm water for a few minutes. Insert 2 tablets and then insert a sponge with a string tied to it. Let the suppositories remain for 2 days in the vagina. Remove sponge and douche with vinegar and water to remove slippery elm. Try a slippery elm douche (do not use if pregnant).
  4. Apply K-Y jelly to labia. Never use petroleum products (i.e. Vaseline) in the vagina. Use only water-soluble products. K-Y jelly can be bought at the drug store.

Bladder Infections Remedies Index
  1. Drink 6 - 8 cups a day for first two days, then reduce amount daily. Eight days total: 1-cup fresh chopped celery leaves (or chopped parsley leaves). Simmer in 3 pts. Distilled water for 20 minutes. Use non-metal container if possible. Or: 4 - 6 cups cranberry juice a day for a couple days should relieve a lot of the uncomfortable symptoms.
  2. Take two caps of powdered golden seal followed by V2 glass of water and 1000 mg. Vitamin C before each meal for 3 - 5 days. 3. Drink one cup a day for one week.
  3. Drink one cup a day for one week: a combination of: equal parts yarrow; uva ursi, cornsilk and 11/2 TBSP juniper berries. Simmer 1 tsp. echinea root in 3 cups water for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add 11/2 tsp. of above mixture. Steep until cool. Strain and drink.
  4. For infections with bleeding drink 3 - 5 cups a day for 3.5 days, a combination of equal parts shepherd's purse, flax seed, uva ursi, echinea root. Use 1 TBSP / 1 cup water. Simmer 20 minutes and cool. Do not drink with honey or sugar.
  5. For bladder pain or painful urination:
    Apply comfrey leaf poultice over bladder. Drink pepsissewa tea, hydrangea root or leaf tea, cornsilk tea, or buchu leaf tea (do not boil).
  6. Antiseptic herbs are good to add to diuretics:
    fleabane, pipsissewa, smartweed, elecampane, wild alum root, golden seal, myrrh, echinea root.

Diuretics Remedies Index
Ground ivy, Cornsilk,Dandelion root & leaves, Buchu leaves, Shepherd's purse, Marshmallow, Wintergreen, Huckleberries, Fleabane, Sassafras, Slippery elm, Cleavers (bedstraw)
Use these in combination with antiseptic herbs.
Juniper berries Cubeb berries Wild carrot leaves Hydrangea root Prickly pear

Pregnancy Remedies Index
Being pregnant entails more than the use of herbs. Good pre and postnatal care includes adequate diet, rest, exercise and assistance from a care provider. Herbs can be an excellent supplement to the other necessities.
Morning Sickness Remedies Index

Peach leaves, Spearmint, Peppermint, Sweet balm, Wild yam, Cloves, Alfalfa,Knotgrass, Lavender, Anise, Sassafras, Colombo root.
Cramps Remedies Index

Wild yam, Cramp bark
Uterine Tonics Remedies Index

Red raspberry, Wild yam, Lemon grass (contains Comfrey Squawvine water-soluble Vito A), Strawberry leaf, Sarsaparilla, Alfalfa.
Both of the following are excellent anti-miscarriage herbs; they are uterine sedatives: Black haw; Star root.
Avoid the following:

They can induce abortion; many of them can be poisonous. Black cohosh Blue cohosh Celery root Pennyroyal Slippery elm douche Tansy Western red cedar, Yarrow, Rue, Lovage, Ginger, Cotton root bark, Sweet flag, Mistletoe, Ginseng, Golden seal, Juniper berries, Oil of sassafras, Myrrh, Southernwood, Motherwort, Angelica, Marigold, Bracken fern, Golden ragwort, Mugwort, Also avoid other emmenagogues listed previously.
Labor and Delivery Remedies Index

  1. Red raspberry taken throughout pregnancy will make labor easier.
  2. Spikenard and squaw vine taken 4 - 6 weeks before due date will stimulate labor. Steep 1 oz. herb in 1-pint water for 1/2 hour. Drink 2 - 4 ounces daily for 3 - 4 days.
  3. At the onset of labor you can use these herbs to stimulate and increase contractions: Squawvine, Cotton root bark, Red raspberry, Breathe the steam (use with caution, of cedar bark very small sips) Squaw weed, Pennyroyal, Licorice, Bay berry bark.
To ease the pain of Contractions: Remedies Index

Wild cherry (inner bark-do not use in excess) Lobelia (can cause nausea and vomiting), Wild yam, Black haw, Black cohosh, Red raspberry leaves, Cotton root bark.
Placental Expulsion Remedies Index

Angelica, Broom snakeweed, Skullcap, Birthwort, Sweet basil, Sneezeweed, Licorice root, Pennyroyal
Postpartum Tonics Remedies Index

Black haw, Pennyroyal, Squawvine (2- 3 glasses a day), Juniper berries (relaxes smooth muscles).
Stitches from Episiotomies Remedies Index

As prevention to tearing, massage perineum throughout pregnancy with olive oil or wheat germ or sesame oil to help tissues stretch.
Apply ground ginger poultice for pain.
Apply comfrey root poultice to build new tissue and for pain. Also drink comfrey root or leaf tea.

Nursing and Lactation Remedies Index
To Increase Milk Supply

Fennel, Barley water, Saw palmetto berries (3-5/day for last month of pregnancy), Maple bark, Cotton seed tea Alfa1fa Wintergreen Baneberry leaves, Comfrey, White poplar bark, Tall blue lettuce, Skeleton weed (excellent), Atole (blue com, very high in protein)
To Decrease Milk Supply

Red sage rubbed on breasts, Wild alumroot rubbed on breasts, Cinnamon tea, Parsley leaf tea, and Huckleberry leaf tea.

Cracked and Painful Breasts Remedies Index
  1. Take a handful of elderberry blossoms, simmer in 1/2 cup oil for 20 minutes. Strain, cool and apply to breasts.
  2. Use a mashed raw potato poultice to draw out inflammation.
  3. Star root poultice.
  4. Comfrey root or leaf tea and poultice for pain.
  5. Poke root poultice.
  6. Fresh crushed alder leaf poultice.

Sore Nipples Remedies Index
  1. Rub with resin of Balsam fir.
  2. Simmer common spurge or milk purslane with fat and rub on nipples.
  3. Take 2 oz. of squawvine and make a strong decoction with 1-pint water. Add an equal amount of good cream and boil down to the consistency of a soft salve. When cool, strain and apply to nipples after feeding.
 * For definition of terms used here, check out the Glossary.