Iron Maiden Syrup:
Blood is the primary substance by which the body stores memories and communicates. The three major pathologies of the Blood are Blood deficiency, Blood heat, and Blood congealing due to temperature, trauma, or stagnation. Blood stagnation is a key player in painful menses and Shen disturbances, and can easily be treated with medicine from the Earth. Emmenagogues totally rock for blood-stagnation! Although the Traditional Chinese Medicine view applies emmenagogues for much broader and deeper symptomatology than menstrual disorders, this classification of plants is rich in botanical miracles for exactly that. Through improving the circulation of the existing blood, the application of herbal therapeutic emmenagogues for menstrual pain, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, and post-childbirth care is effective and often life-changing for women with and PMS and PCOS. Pain does not belong in our sacred cycle!
Chinese Red Sage Root (Dan Shen) is an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, blood-moving emmenagogue herb that works to relieve swelling, congealed blood, delayed menses, and painful cramping before/during/after menstruation. In its nature, Salvia miltiorrhiza is mildly cold, bitter and directs to the Heart, Pericardium, and Liver. This beautiful herb relieves complex cases of insomnia where Heat has invaded and entered the Yin / nutritive level, thus causing irritability and tension. This is the women's herb for "cool, calm, and collected," as it doesn't heat up the system and also increases peripheral blood flow to nourish the body (3). The dosage of this herb is a decoction of 6-15 grams dried root, or in a syrup. For older women with cholesterol concerns, this herb can be taken daily to remove the accumulation of cholesterol and blood lipids. This herb is viewed as a “complete” Blood tonic because this alterative aids to heal excessive and obstructive menstruation and abdominal distention (1, pg.235)
Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis): The women's ginseng! This sweet, warm, tonic root is native to China and has over 4,000 years of empirical evidence of use for menstrual disorders and promoting the health and liberty of women's blood. Micheal Tierra states, "To maintain normal quantities of erythrocytes, the body must produce new mature cells at the astonishing rate of two million per second." For women who bleed or have recently birthed new life, herbs that nourish and rebuild blood, like Dang Gui, are an excellent longevity tonic. Dang Gui goes to the Liver, Heart and Spleen meridians and also acts as a laxative, demulcent, and anti-inflammatory. Dang Gui lubricates the intestines and is indicated for constipation and Bi Pain associated with Blood deficiency. “Two biochemical constituents have been found in Dang Gui. One is a water-soluable and nonvolatile constituent that stimulates the uterus while the other is alcohol soluble and consists of an essential oil that has an opposite relaxing effect on the uterus as well as increases DNA synthesis and the growth of uterine tissue. (4, pg.193). Dang Gui is used as an extract or decoction and is also formulated in the famous TCM Dang Gui Four teapills.
Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus): This bitter, sweet, cool and golden gift from Earth frees iron stored in the liver into a more bioavailable flow for nutrient metabolism. Due to this ability, Rumex is applied for iron deficiency in the blood (anemia), and also commonly used for skin disorders and inflammatory liver disorders. As a hepatic, Yellow dock tones, strengthens, and increases bile flow to liver…overall improving liver function and health of tissues. (5, pg 60) By decongesting the liver, Rumex optimizes the metabolism of hormones, aids the functions of the endocrine system, and can help clear acne-causing liver & blood pollution. Yellow dock is a hemostatic, astringent, alterative (blood purifier), and blood tonic.
Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus): An analgesic, anti-spasmodic, nervine, and mild sedative that relieves pain by reducing cramping in muscles, especially cramping associated with menstrual pain. Cramp bark is bitter and neutral, directs to the liver, lungs, heart, and small intestine and is also astringent. (1, pg.124) In this formula, cramp bark is used for easing PMS discomfort and for healing pain associated with reproductive disorders. It has a tonic effect on the uterus and also aids in regulating the menstrual cycle. (1, pg.125)
***Licorice or Gan Cao (Glycyrrhizae uralensis) : Its tempting to use licorice to harmonize this formula, and it is a great delivery idea for its ability to enter all 12 meridians. However, licorice can be contra-indicated with those who retain water (4, pg. 190) Since this is a formula for women who might be experiencing swelling and edema around menses, I am keeping the licorice out of the formula, but it is recommended to add licorice tincture or honey stir-fried licorice to a decoction of these herbs IF the person ingesting has no history of edema or dampness.
Blackstrap Molasses is a warm and sweet concentrated extract of sugar cane juice. Rich in iron, potassium, B vitamins, zinc, chromium, copper, and calcium, this powerhouse of thick deliciousness brings nutrients and energy through the Liver, Spleen, and Kidney meridians. As a Blood tonic and digestive aid, this medicine makes a great base for other medicines or as a supplement for malnourished people, women with anemia after menses, degenerative diseases, and any form of iron deficiency.
Weigh herbs - they can be whole or powdered, but know that with powdered, you will have to filter with cheese cloth twice to get all the sediment out. I like working with powders as I feel the capacity for extraction is greater with more surface area of dried herbs.
Yellow Dock: 3 oz
Dang Gui root: 3 oz
Dan Shen: 2.5 oz
Distilled water: 4 L
Cold infuse in distilled water for 2 hours, then add heat.
Making a strong decoction, I like to use 2-2.5 oz of dried herb per pint of distilled water. This ratio can change depending on desired strength, but 1-2 ounces of dried herb per pint of water is wonderful and effective.
Simmer for 5 hours and strain.
Simmer wet herbs for 2 more hours and strain. Combine fluids and heat slowly until the entire liquid is reduced to half.
Per 1/2 cup of liquid, one ounce of blackstrap molasses is needed to preserve and supplement.
Example: If you yield 8 cups (2 Liters) liquid, add 16oz unsulphured blackstrap molasses.
Tincture can be added at 1:4 ratio - one part tincture per four part syrup. (2) This extends shelf life significantly.
For this preparation, I am making a larger batch:
Total liquid extraction: 8.5 cups
Molasses: 20 oz + Raw Desert Bloom Honey: 1 cup for taste
*Stir in Molasses & Honey as liquid cools
*Add Cramp Bark tincture when liquid has cooled to room temperature : 1.5 cups of Cramp Bark tincture with 75% alcohol content.
*Bottle and label!
Overall, this balanced formula promotes blood circulation, tonifies blood, and regulates menstruation. It contains herbs in intentional ratios to balance warm and cool energetics as well as dampening and astringent properties.
Suggested Dose: 2-3 TBSP twice daily the week leading up to menses, OR
1 TBSP twice daily for 3-5 months to re-establish menses, prevent pain, rebuild after childbirth.
- The Way of Herbs - Michael Tierra L.Ac, O.M.D.
- The Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green
- Webinar with Miles Coleman
- Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine Vol II by Dr. Michael Tierra L.Ac, OMD, AHG, and Lesley Tierra L.Ac., AHG
- The Complete Herbs SourceBook by David Hoffman