Dr. David Simon, Neurologist and co-founder, Chopra Center, La Jolla, California on the use of ayurveda as an alternative treatment for premenstrual syndrome (PMS):

In ayurveda, the different symptoms of PMS can be characterized according to different metabolic imbalances. So, if there's a predominance of what's known as vatta, or the wind element in a person, then usually during that period of time there's a lot of mental turbulence. Anxiety, trouble sleeping at night, feeling of being ungrounded.

In a person who has more of a fiery aspect to their nature, which in ayurveda is known as the pitta quality, then the more heated qualities come out. So, that person may find themselves being very irritable or feeling uncomfortably hot in their bodies. For people who have more earthy element during their PMS phase, they may end up finding themselves being very heavy or tired or lethargic.

And so, unlike the Western approach, which treats everybody the same way, ayurveda restores balance based upon the characteristic features of that imbalance.

So, for someone who has more difficulty sleeping and anxiety, then again meditation is valuable helping people get to sleep and get a good regular sleep during that time, as well as eating foods and taking herbs that are more grounding.

Someone who is more pitta or fiery aggravated, the approach is really to kind of help the person relieve the pressure of deadlines all the time, eating cooler foods, doing activities that allow that heat to dissipate. For someone who has more of that earthy quality, or kapha type, we do things to lighten the system through foods, through herbs, through activities.

So, again, the approach is based upon what's the unique qualities of that person as well as the underlying condition.

See more alternative therapies for premenstrual syndrome.