PMS is frequent fodder for jokes, but for many of us, it’s no laughing matter. Most women (about 90%) experience some degree of PMS. However, symptoms and severity can vary widely, from mild irritability, breast tenderness, and bloating to full-blown depression, mood swings, intense pain, and insomnia. In addition to putting a damper on your day, it can interfere with your work, social life, and relationships. Whatever your experience, one thing’s for sure. PMS is straight-up not a good time.There are plenty of medications marketed to help us treat PMS. And for some of us with wildly out-of-whack hormones, prescriptions such as birth control are necessary to keep PMS in check and keep the Crimson Wave from becoming a debilitating tsunami. However, many medications, including Midol and ibuprofen, can have nasty short and long-term side effects, including constipation, nausea, and vomiting, as well as liver damage. Fortunately, pharmaceuticals aren’t the only weapon in our PMS-fighting arsenal. Here are some all-natural alternatives to try.

Change Your Diet to Balance Hormones

The foods we eat can have a considerable impact on hormones and overall wellness. Unfortunately, many products on the market, including certain diet foods, can adversely affect our bodies and minds. The usual culprits are toxins found in processed foods and some nonorganic produce, certain over-the-counter and prescription medications, and our environment. Hormones in dairy and meat products may also be harmful.

Changing your diet can be difficult, especially when you’re battling aggressive PMS cookie and ice cream cravings. But making small changes can make a big difference. You don’t have to cut out everything you love, but do consider cutting down on foods that contain artificial sweeteners, as well as real sugar. According to Very Well Health, some women benefit from reducing sodium intake, which may reduce water retention, bloating, and breast swelling and tenderness. Now, this may be the hardest one yet, but many experts also recommend cutting down on caffeine. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it can exacerbate PMS symptoms like irritability and difficulty sleeping.

Dietary changes also involve adding things to your diet that can improve estrogen metabolism. This includes cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower). Foods that help inhibit estrogen, such as omega-3 and omega-6 rich nuts, avocados, and olive oil, are also helpful.

Regardless of what changes you do or don’t make to your diet, make sure you’re getting plenty of water as well. Proper hydration will help flush out toxins and improve metabolism.

Try CBD to Relieve PMS Symptoms (and Balance Hormones)

PMS may seem like a cruel trick of nature. But CBD’s potential for alleviating PMS and menstrual symptoms, and helping balance hormones, is proof Mother Nature loves us after all.

First, it can help us maintain a healthy pain response. This is probably CBD’s best-known benefit. In fact, studies show it is significantly more potent than ibuprofen, without the risk of nasty long-term side effects, like liver damage.

CBD can also help keep anxiety, mood swings, irritability, and other emotions stable. Generally, users report feeling a general sense of calm and well-being after taking a dose. Although CBD does not get you “high” like THC, some people describe its effect as similar to a runner’s high or an all-natural feeling of clarity and euphoria.

If you have trouble sleeping before or during your period, CBD can help support healthy sleep cycles.

CBD can even help you maintain your healthy appetite, so you get fewer overwhelming junk food and chocolate cravings.

CBD helps us get to the root of the issue: hormone imbalance, by influencing and supporting the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is closely linked to the endocrine system. You can read more about that here.

Other All-Natural Solutions

CBD isn’t Mother Earth’s only consolation for PMS. Other herbs and vitamins can help too. You can find all of those listed below in Bespoke Extract’s new Serenity product line, coming soon.

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh is a plant native to North America used for centuries in Native American medicine. It has recently gained immense popularity in the mainstream health and wellness world for its ability to support responses to hormonal ailments, including menopause and PMS. Researchers think it may be useful because it functions as a phytoestrogen. Similar to how CBD mimics the body’s endocannabinoids, phytoestrogens may mimic estrogen.

Chasteberry

Chasteberry is another herbal supplement. Commonly used in European medicine, it has been clinically proven to support a healthy response to PMS and menstruation symptoms, such as irritability, breast tenderness, and bloating.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” may help combat depression and improve our mood by helping us stay emotionally healthy. Multiple studies have concluded this vitamin plays a crucial role in mental health and immune system function. As far as PMS, though, you can count on vitamin D to help you continue to feel happy and balanced, aka less likely to cry in a public bathroom when you receive a sternly-worded email or spill coffee on your dress.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil, similar to black cohosh, is most often used for during menopause. However, it may also help with PMS symptoms including breast tenderness, irritability, bloating, and depression by supporting a stable response to hormonal fluctuations.