Living with a chronically haphazard menstrual cycle, my aversion to hormonal birth control options leaves me anxiously awaiting my period at the end of each month. Though I’m pleased my body no longer contains synthetic progestin and estrogen, one thing I really enjoyed about being on the NuvaRing was consistently regular, predictable bleeding; reassurance that my uterus was vacant.
No longer a ring-bearer, I find myself questioning the 98 percent effectiveness of condoms at the end of every month as I wait for indication that my body is fetus-free. Anyone who has experienced it knows: a delayed period is highly anxiety producing. We question, blame, over-think and tear our hair out, wishing there was something we could do.
Recently, I’ve taken to researching homeopathic methods of stimulating menstruation. Many of the remedies I come across reveal no scientific backing, based simply on the opinion or experience of individuals. Others, however, show promise. The flavor of the month: parsley.
According to a Web site called sisterzeus.com, a page on herbal remedies, “parsley is a wonderful herb for bringing on a late period.” The article describes how to make parsley tea and recommends drinking several cups to induce a late period, usually within the next day. Readers of the site confirm this practice, writing in to share their successes. Delighted by this finding and halfway down the block to buy parsley, I remembered to be skeptical: parsley?? Where was the scientific documentation? Had my education taught me nothing about the rule of correlation, not causation??
I settled down to do some more research, this time with a more data-focused approach. To my surprise, the parsley hypothesis was reiterated in several places! In the Journal, Studies in Family Planning, an article on reproductive healthcare describes use of “indigenous fertility-regulating methods,” citing parsley as a powerful menstrual stimulant. It is similarly mentioned in the book “Herbal Medicinals: A Clinician’s Guide,” and noted to contain 2 to 7 percent of the volatile oils myristic and apiol. These oils are called emmenogogues, and have “the ability to induce menstruation when periods are delayed.” Very promising information!
I must immediately state a disclaimer that I haven’t yet attempted drinking parsley tea to stimulate menstruation. Furthermore, though academic sources corroborate Sister Zeus’s suggestion, I’m not 100 percent convinced of its medical properties, and you shouldn’t be either. For women on the edges of their seats, hoping to find answers to delayed periods: do your own research and remember the Internet is not a medically trained health professional. But be hopeful! This is only a beginning: I will report back with parsley results, and, as I sit on the edge of MY seat, I would love to hear your results too.
1. Dixon-Mueller, Ruth. “Innovations in Reproductive Health Care: Menstrual Regulation Policies and Programs in Bangladesh.” Studies in Family Planning, Population Control: Vol. 19, No. 3(May - Jun., 1988). pp. 129-140
2. Kincheloe, Larry. “Gynecological and Obstetric Concerns Regarding Herbal Medicinal Use.” Edited by Lucinda Miller & Wallace Murray in Herbal Medicinals: A Clinician’s Guide. Pharmaceutical Products Press. 1998. P 284.