Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Here's what's known about the effectiveness of complementary remedies used to soothe the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome:

  • Calcium. Consuming 1,200 milligrams (mg) of dietary and supplemental calcium daily, such as chewable calcium carbonate (Tums, Rolaids, others), may reduce the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS. Regular, long-term use of calcium carbonate also reduces your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Magnesium. Taking 400 mg of supplemental magnesium daily may help to reduce fluid retention, breast tenderness and bloating in women with premenstrual syndrome.
  • Vitamin B-6. A daily dose of 50 to 100 mg of vitamin B-6 may help some women with troublesome PMS symptoms.
  • Vitamin E. This vitamin, taken in 400 international units daily, may ease PMS symptoms by reducing the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that cause cramps and breast tenderness.
  • Herbal remedies. Some women report relief of PMS symptoms with the use of herbs such as black cohosh, ginger, raspberry leaf, dandelion, chasteberry and evening primrose oil. However, few scientific studies have found that any herbs are effective for relief of PMS symptoms. Herbal remedies also aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so there's no record of product safety or effectiveness.
  • Natural progesterone creams. These are derived from wild yams and soybeans. Some women report that these creams relieve symptoms. No scientific studies have proved their effectiveness.
Jan. 18, 2012