We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is an Emmenagogue?

Mary McMahon
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

An emmenagogue is an herb which stimulates the body to begin menstruating. There are a number of herbs which can have this effect, including ginger, pennyroyal, parsley, blue cohosh, and yarrow. Such herbs can be used in a variety of ways and some have a very long history of use among women. Many emmenagogues are widely available from practitioners of alternative medicine along with health food stores and some large grocery stores which carry herbs and supplements. They can also be wildcrafted by people who are familiar with plant identification.

There are a number of reasons why menstruation may be delayed. Sometimes women experience irregular periods as a result of stress, poor diet, or disease. Using an emmenagogue can help a woman regulate her period, or can hasten menstruation when it appears to be imminent but is not occurring. Women who want to control the timing of their periods may use herbal preparations to regulate their menstrual cycles. Hormonal birth control can be used for the same purpose, but women may object to using hormonal birth control for ethical or health reasons.

Menstruation can also be delayed as a result of pregnancy, and emmenagogues are sometimes treated as being similar to abortifacients. It is important to note that while some herbs can cause abortion, many are not strong enough to do so. Many pregnancies end in miscarriage naturally during their early stages and if a woman takes an emmenagogue at the onset of miscarriage, it may cause the mistaken belief that an abortion has occurred. For the most part, these herbs will stimulate menstruation if a woman's cycle is delayed for reasons other than pregnancy, but some emmenagogues can cause abortions and others can be dangerous.

Herbal preparations can be taken in the form of teas and tinctures. Fresh or dried herbs may be used for an emmenagogue preparation, and it is also possible to find pill formulations of some emmenagogues. Health food stores may stock teas which consist of a blend of emmenagogues which are marketed to women who want to regulate their cycles or who want to treat problems such as cramps.

Herbs can be dangerous. Before taking any herbal preparation, including an emmenagogue, women should make sure that it is not contraindicated in their case. Some emmenagogues, for example, can cause seizures or heart problems in women with certain conditions. Herbal preparations can also interfere with pharmaceutical products or result in bad drug interactions. A pharmacist or doctor can discuss herbal preparations with patients and provide information about their safety.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon181318 — On May 29, 2011

Can these herbs be used for women with PCOS?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.