All bodies are magnificent - splendid, worthy of most profound love and devotion, and genuinely wondrous and extraordinary.
Today, I want to share ways to support the cisgender female body during menstruation.
Each month, we cycle through four distinct phases from beginning to end. From the first day of our menstrual phase, bleeding and shedding of the uterine lining occur, leading to the follicular phase when bleeding concludes. Estrogen begins to rise, followed by the ovulatory step, where hormones peak, and finally, the luteal stage, after ovulation occurs. Our progesterone levels start to increase as our cycle continues forward - an ouroboros of renewal, the ancient tidelands with waves drawing slowly towards land and then receding to the deep, only to return in a slow and perpetual movement guided by the moon.
How we nourish our bodies through these powerful cycles is paramount and can significantly impact our physical well-being, emotional health, and fertility.
Let's break down the four phases in a bit more detail:
Menstrual Phase (Days 1-7)
During this phase, our bodies are naturally shedding the uterine lining. Honouring this time by allowing ourselves to rest and restore is essential. Herbal allies such as Raspberry Leaf, Nettle, and Chamomile can provide gentle support. Sipping on warm herbal teas and nourishing broths can help replenish vital nutrients. Engaging in gentle yoga, walking in nature, or practicing mindfulness meditation can help us connect with our bodies and cultivate a sense of calm.
Follicular Phase (Days 8-14)
As we transition into the follicular phase, our energy begins to rise. This is an excellent time to focus on nourishing foods like leafy greens, sprouts, and fresh fruits. Herbs like Dong Quai, Red Clover, and Vitex can support hormonal balance. Engaging in moderate-intensity exercises like dancing, swimming, or cycling can help invigorate our bodies and promote a sense of vitality.
Ovulatory Phase (Day 14)
During ovulation, our bodies are at their peak of fertility. It's a time to celebrate self-care practices that make us feel radiant. Nourishing foods like avocados, seeds, and healthy fats can support hormone production. Maca, Shatavari, and Evening Primrose Oil can provide additional support. Engaging in joyful movements like dancing, hula hooping, or practicing ecstatic yoga can help us connect with our sensuality and inner power.
Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)
As we enter the luteal phase, focusing on nourishing our bodies and supporting emotional well-being is crucial. Foods rich in magnesium, such as dark chocolate, leafy greens, and pumpkin seeds, can help ease premenstrual symptoms. Herbs like Chaste Berry, Skullcap, and Lemon Balm can provide gentle support during this time. Calming activities like gentle stretching, restorative yoga, or journaling can help us find balance and cultivate inner peace.
By incorporating principles from Ayurveda and traditional herbalism, we can nourish ourselves with herbs, foods, various types of physical movement and mindfulness.
Each body is unique, and being attuned to your physical and emotional intuition is fundamental. Embrace slowness, allowing yourself the time and space to honour your natural rhythms, and strive for connection with your body.
The most frequent question I receive is how to support The Bleeding/Menstrual Phase (Days 1-7), as it is almost always the most tender, uncomfortable and depleting. During this stage, our bodies crave slowness, nutrient-rich foods, and minerals such as iron and zinc. Here are just a few ways that you can support your luminous body as you bleed:
Herbs and Supplements:
Red Raspberry Leaf
Evening Primrose (Oil)
Beet Root and Root Vegetables
Dark Greens (i.e. Kale, Spinach, Swiss chard)
Coconut or Milk Kefir
Pulses (i.e. Black Beans, Adzuki, Lentils)
Sprouted Grains and Seeds
Warm Salt Bath
Walking in Nature
Observing the Moon
Pelvic Castor Oil Pack
Cervical Fluid Awareness
Consult with a trusted herbalist or natural care practitioner to find the most beneficial nourishment regime to suit the specific needs of your moon cycle.
Dominique Del Col is a holistic wellness educator, founder, and herbalist behind Tidelands House Fine Skincare & Stillroom. She has spent nearly two decades immersed in the ancient medicinal practices of traditional herb craft. When she is not in her studio, Dominique can be found tending to her small flock of heritage hens and foraging in the forest with her young daughters, husband and two dogs.