In Chinese medicine, qi (energy) and blood work hand in hand. Blood nourishes energy, and energy pushes blood. When it comes to women’s reproductive health it is especially important to make sure that both qi and blood are moving properly, especially in the uterus. When women have an improper movement of qi and blood in the uterus, they can experience such symptoms as painful menstrual cramps, clotting with periods, heavy or light bleeding, spotting, miscarriage and even infertility. Often these symptoms can be related to what we call, cold in the uterus. Cold is constricting and inhibiting so if present, it is important to make sure we are doing things to help invigorate and warm the uterus. In other words, warming the oven for the bun.
What things can you do to help warm the uterus?
Remember, many herbs are food. It is especially important to eat seasonally. It is inappropriate to eat cold and raw foods as the temps dwindle down. This could not only create cold symptoms, it could exasperate existing cold in the body. During the colder months, eat foods that are nourishing and easy to digest. You do not want your body using its energy up trying to digest food, instead, you want it to help you get pregnant and stay pregnant. Lots of warm mushy foods such as squashes, sweet potatoes, soups, stews, and steamed veggies are all great for supporting the warm, or yang qi of the body. Herbs and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom seeds, ginger, curry, tumeric and even garlic are also great because they taste yummy, they are warming, and invigorating. A tasty, popular tea that people tend to enjoy that would be great for warming the uterus would be a nice clean version of chai tea.
Applying heat directly to the uterus is very helpful and comforting. You can take a nice warm bath, apply a warm compress with ginger, or even use a water bottle to the low abdomen during menstruation to ease symptoms and warm uterus. Haramaki belly bands (non affiliate link) are even great for adding an extra layer around the abdomen to keep things warm.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs help to regulate qi and ease symptoms. Acupuncture brings qi and blood to the reproductive system which in turn warms the uterus. Acupuncture’s balancing effects on the body also serve to balance hormones and encourage proper release of hormones. There are many great Chinese herbs that assist with reproductive health. It is advised you work with an herbologist to help with your specific symptoms. Vitex is a well known herb in that it works as an adaptogenic herb. This means that it is great for regulating hormones in the body, furthering success fertility success. Another great adaptogenic herb that you may have heard about is maca root.
These tips may seem simple, but they are very powerful. (Not to mention they are comforting and so warm during these cooler months!)