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    I Took Chinese Herbs To Help My Period Pain And They Made A Huge Difference

    For seven months now I've been taking Chinese herbs to see if they would help my excruciating period pain. And, spoiler alert, they did.

    Hi there, Lara here, and just like around half the world's population, I have a period. This period of mine has been historically excruciatingly painful thanks, in large part, to the fact that I have endometriosis.

    Lara Parker

    Over the years I've tried various methods for managing this pain so that it didn't cause me to miss work every single month while I lie on my bathroom floor screaming in pain in between puking my guts out. Some methods helped more than others. I found success with birth control for many years until it...just stopped working for me. I tried about six different kinds before eventually giving up on birth control altogether and turning to medicinal marijuana. I'm a big supporter of birth control and believe it should be accessible to everyone, it just unfortunately didn't continue to help me in a way that I needed it to. So I began my journey with medical marijuana which you can read more about here. While weed does help me a lot with my various symptoms, it was simply a Band-Aid on the bullet hole that was my period and did not stop me from still experiencing excruciating pain during my time of the month.

    SO with all that being said, when Elix Healing (formerly called Period Pain Free, as you'll see in a lot of my images) reached out and offered to send me personalized Chinese herbs that they claimed could help with my period pain every month, I said why the hell not?

    Lara Parker

    For me and my body personally, I always tend to gravitate a bit more towards holistic and eastern-based medicine when I can, so the idea of trying out Chinese herbs that have been used for various things for thousands of years didn't seem like a dangerous thing to try out by any means. Elix provided me my personalized Chinese herb formula free of charge, but I still went into this skeptical as hell, mostly because I know how much of a bitch endometriosis is, and it was hard for me to believe that some herbs could help with that, no matter how long they had been used. Moving forward if I choose to continue with these herbs (which I will, and you can read more about this below!) the cost each month would be $48.

    In order to determine which herbs should be in your own personalized cycle, you have to take an online assessment. I've screencapped part of the assessment below so that you can get an idea of what it entails. The assessment has three parts; your cycle, your gynecological health, and your general health.

    Elix Healing
    Elix Healing

    After finishing the three-part assessment, you then have to upload a picture of your tongue. It may seem sort of odd, right? But in Chinese medicine it's not. According to Dr. Glathe, "The tongue photo collected at the end of the online health assessment provides further insight into users’ specific hormonal imbalance patterns and the final step in confirming diagnosis. Practitioners of Chinese medicine have considered analyzing the tongue key to diagnosis because, until humans drastically evolve otherwise, the tongue is the only internal organ visible without a scalpel."

    Elix Healing

    She continued saying, "The tongue may not seem like an organ in the traditional sense, but it is 100% pure muscle, fed directly by blood and nerves, with cells that regenerate every 10 days (much like the cells lining the digestive tract). Looking at it can give us clues about what’s happening with the other organs and general internal environment. Specifically, Chinese medicine looks at the color, moisture, shape, and strength of the tongue in order to determine the state of health."

    Then, 2–3 days after completing the assessment and trying to figure out the best angle to get a picture of your tongue, your new herbs will arrive in the mail. Below is a picture of my latest shipment as well as the updated ingredients list.

    Lara Parker

    Ideally you would begin ingesting 6–8 droppers of the herbs twice a day, 5–7 days before the onset of your period. If nothing else, this might just get you to drink more water which is never a bad thing.

    What I ingested every month (and what you can see in the picture above) is now referred to as Elix's Cycle Balance, which is a custom formula of 12 to 18 organically-extracted herbs clinically proven to regulate menstrual cycles and treat PMS by targeting and correcting users’ specific hormonal imbalances. The herbs prescribed to me by Nicole Glathe, who is a cofounder of the brand, holds a doctoral degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is a board and certified acupuncturist and herbalist, can be seen below.

    Lara Parker

    And this is what my original formula looked like back when I first began taking these herbs in July:

    Lara Parker

    The formula has since changed a bit, which you can see in a picture a bit later in this article, but the color remains the same. The actual herbs themselves are not different from what I started taking the first month, but the company discovered a different extraction process and rebranded to Elix Healing from Period Pain Free before I wrote this article! Upon first seeing this formula, I truly wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into because, let's be honest, it doesn't look appetizing! But I mixed it with room temperature water and was pleasantly surprised that it had a bit of a minty aftertaste, which made it totally drinkable. You can mix your herbs with basically any liquid, but I don't really drink anything except plain old water so...water it was for me!

    And here's a look at the new formula. It's still brown, but it doesn't look quite as unappetizing. And although it's not like, the best thing I've ever tasted...it's really not that bad! I should know, I've been religiously drinking it every month for seven months now.

    Lara Parker

    The first month that I drank the herbs I still had an extremely painful period. I honestly didn't notice much of a change at all. After that, I wanted to write them off as yet another thing that didn't end up helping me, but after speaking with Glathe about it, she encouraged me to keep going (if I was willing) because it can take around three months to begin to notice a difference.

    Lara Parker

    So I did keep going. And by the third month, sure enough, I did notice a difference. Changes started happening slowly at first. Like I noticed that my actual period seemed to be shorter. Then I noticed that my breasts weren't as tender. And then, ever so slowly, the horrific abdominal and lower back cramping that had ruined my life every month for nearly a decade became...less intense. I was able to sit up. I was conscious. I was having conversations with people while losing ounces of my own blood!!!!!

    Lara Parker

    My period these days is by no means completely pain-free. Honestly, I'm not sure it ever really will be. But what my period is now, versus what it was before beginning these herbs seven months ago, is a period that I can certainly live with. I am dealing with much less pain. I haven't thrown up. I haven't lost consciousness. I feel like somewhat of a human again. And at this point in my life, I think that's all I can ask for!

    It has now been seven months since I began my journey with these Chinese herbs to help my period pain, and I can honestly say that I am a firm believer in this stuff. Although the herbs were provided to me free of charge during this experiment, moving forward this will absolutely be something that I spend $48 a month on because for me it really has worked.

    If you are interested in trying out your own personalized herbs, you can do so here.

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