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Delaying Menstruation on Purpose.... Naturally??
Intentionally Delaying or Altering when Menstruation would Normally Arrive.


I get asked this question a lot. There are times when we would rather not have our period arrive at the time it normally would. For those of us looking for a natural way to accomplish this goal, there really isn't an easy or reliable way to make this happen. The only way I know to reliably control when you get your period is by using birth control pills.

So instead of repeatedly answering the same question, I've decided its time to put together a web page, and include some natural suggestions that might help to accomplish the goal of altering when menstruation arrives, or at the very least to try and reduce blood flow and make that particular period more bearable.

I can't guarantee any of these suggestions will work or even help. At this time, using natural remedies to try and delay or otherwise alter when menstruation would arrive are basically untried, so as any of you try them please let me know how things go. I checked all my women's herb books, and anywhere else I could think of looking, and the issue of delaying menstruation on purpose is something that is not addressed at all, anywhere. So again, if anyone finds anything please let me know.

The Pill is the most reliable way to control when you will bleed, this is because while on the pill your body is not cycling naturally. Bleeding/Menstruation, while on the pill is caused by the withdrawal of the hormones. If the sugar pill week is skipped and a new pack of pills started, menstruation/bleeding for that cycle is easily avoided. Easy enough for women who already take the pill.

For women who are not on the pill, altering when menstruation will arrive is not as easy. First there is the consideration, of what will trying to change when you normally bleed do to your normal cycle? What kind of impact will messing with your hormones or the way you normally cycle have on your body, hormones and cycle in general have?

Next is how to do it? How much time do you have to work with? For some events, you know ahead of time when they will occur, and women who cycle in a predictable way may discover that their period will fall on their wedding day for example. In a situation such as this, it might be possible to try and change when menstruation arrives over the course of several months by encouraging minor cycle adjustments each cycle by using Lunaception and herbal emmenagogues.

For women who don't have advance notice, it probably won't be possible to alter naturally when menstruation occurs, but it might be possible to alter how much you bleed, and the symptoms you normally get with menstruation such as cramps or bloating.

The body has a chain of events, mostly hormonally led - that controls when we will bleed. Our bodies will pretty much do its thing. menstruation occurs when progesterone levels have decreased to the point where the uterus can no longer maintain the endometrium (uterine lining) and the resulting release is menstruation. Herbs do not have the ability to stop this event, they don't work the same way pharmaceutical drugs, like the birth control pill do.

An incantation I came across in one of my calendars I thought might be appropriate here -
Incantation to stop blood flow from the Kalevala

Listen, O blood, instead of flowing
instead of pouring forth thy warm stream
Stop, O blood, like a wall, stope like a hedge.
Stop like a reef in the sea: like stiff sedge in the moss,
like a boulder in the field, like the pine in the wood.

This incantation can be modified and made your own. It is the vocalizing of the desire, not the actual words, it is the intent behind what is spoken that gives the words their power. This incantation may be to stop the flow of blood from wounds on a battlefield, I know not the author's intent, but as mentioned, it is easily modified to suite your own needs. Words like womb or uterus can be added to help focus your intent. If you make some modifications and would like to share it with others I would be happy to include it here, just send it on over.

So.... how to do this...?

The following is based on my knowledge of herbs and how the female body works. I'll include a section for women who have some time to try and alter when their blood flows, and a section for women who don't have that extra time to work with. As mentioned above, I can't guarantee that any of this will work for you, but if you don't want to use the pill, even temporarily to alter when you will bleed then it may be worth a try. And please send me feedback if you try these suggestions or have any suggestions of your own to offer. I'm sure there is probably room for improvement. Also, I want to mention, our minds are powerful things, employ your mind to help send your body the message of what you want to do or are trying to accomplish.

For women who have several cycles to work with.... If time is on your side, then the goal is to make minor changes in your cycle each month by encouraging ovulation to occur a little earlier each month by using something called Lunaception. You could also use a herbal emmenagogue, like Parsley, a few days before your period would normally start to help encourage your body to make the change. It might not do it the first month of trying, but if you have a few months to work with you may be able to eventually get your period to start 5 to 7 days earlier than it normally would. Small changes are more likely to be successful than radical ones.

Lunaception is a technique conceived and explored by Louise Lacey. It has more depth than I want to get into here, she's written a book on it which is now out of print, or you can also get access to her information in Conscious Conception: Elemental Journey Through the Labyrinth of Sexuality by Jeannine Parvati Baker, which is still available. So I'll just include the basics here. Lunaception is a way to encourage ovulation to happen at a certain time, by sleeping in complete darkness every night, with the exception of three days when you expect ovulation or in this case, when you want ovulation to occur, again, I want to stress that you are more likely to accomplish minor changes of a day or two each cycle than you are to accomplish a dramatic change all at once. This means blocking out street lights, glowing lights from your alarm clocks and other electronic devices, so that you sleep in complete darkness except for those 3 nights when you want ovulation to occur. This is based on the concept that our ancient mothers use to ovulate with the full moon and bleed on the new moon, the goal is to mimic moonlight and thus influence ovulation to occur. Louise Lacey writes that the light of the full moon is equal to a 40 watt light bulb 45 feet away. I have the article written by Louise that is printed in Conscious Conception, it goes into quite a bit of detail of how she came up with this idea, and her experiments with other women, but again, Its more involved than I want to get into here.

For those of you who are not sure when you ovulate, if you cycle regularly, in a predictable way, ovulation occurs 14 days before your period actually starts. So if you count back 16 or 17 days from when you expect your next period to start and have those nights as the ones that you sleep with the light mimicking moonlight on, hopefully you can influence ovulation to occur a little earlier each cycle. The use of a herbal emmenagogue, like a parsley tea, started a couple days before menstruation is normally expected to begin, can help encourage it to start earlier. But getting ovulation to occur earlier will be 85% of the battle.
As a caution and a reminder, be extra careful with your contraception, because messing with your cycle may cause your body to do unexpected things, so take precaution against unexpected ovulation.




For women who want to delay their cycle NOW!! As mentioned before, chances are without using the pill, you won't be able to cause your period to come earlier or later. But what you can do, is try to lessen the blood flow and minimize any symptoms that usually accompanies your period. My herb books include recipes for reducing heavy or excessive menstrual flow (menorrhagia), so it is reasonable to think that these remedies may be helpful when it comes to simply reducing the amount of blood flow. The two herbs that seem to be mentioned in every book that has information on this is yarrow and shepherd's purse. Yarrow I know from experience tastes terrible as a tea, and shepherd's purse as a dried herb is basically worthless, as it quickly looses its medicinal value in this form. Every book discusses using both of these herbs as a tincture, and both should be available from any decent herb store.

First reduce any intake of aspirin, caffeine, salt, red meat, and estrogen.

Deb Soule lists this remedy for menorrhagia in her book The Roots of Healing : A Woman's Book of Herbs on page 132.
Shepherd's Purse - 2 parts
Ladies Mantle leaves and flowers - 2 parts
Yarrow - 3 parts
Partridgeberry - 1 part
This is for a tincture, you can make your own if you know how, or you can buy separate tinctures and combine them. For dosages she lists 20 - 60 drops 4 to 6 times a day while bleeding.

Rosemary Gladstar lists in her book, equal parts of both yarrow and shepherd's purse in a cup of warm water. 1/2 tsp of tincture combination per hour. She also mentions a tea made from raspberry leaf and nettle leaf. 4 to 6 tablespoons of herbs per quart of boiled water. 1/2 cup of tea per hour.

Then using herbs like cramp bark to reduce cramping, or dandelion to reduce water retention and bloating. Various herbs can be used to deal with common discomforts of menstruation.

The only other way I know of to "get rid of" a badly timed period would be menstrual extraction, a simple suction technique that I wish more midwives knew how to do, that can physically remove the uterine contents thereby shortening menstruation considerably. Unfortunately, its nearly impossible to find someone who knows how to do them. But it might be worth a couple of phone calls to local midwives just incase, and if nothing else you can help raise awareness among midwives that this is a service that other women would desire as well.





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This page was created February 23, 2001

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