A Recipe to Balance the Premenstrual Phase of Your Cycle

by Travis Metzger |

A Recipe to Balance the Premenstrual Phase of Your Cycle

Intro by Dr. Eric Karchmer

In the last week of a woman's menstrual cycle, assuming she is not pregnant, major hormonal shifts begin to take place, preparing the body for menstruation. As estrogen and progesterone levels fall, it is very common for women to struggle with mood swings, breast tenderness, fatigue, and appetite changes, known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS can also include headaches, pain in the lower back, abdomen, and joints, acne, and insomnia. It doesn't usually conclude until the period arrives, and if it is accompanied by menstrual cramps, insult is now added to injury. This week's recipe offers some potential relief. We have tried to model it on Dao's Emotional Balance, which is one of the most popular Chinese medicine remedies for helping women transition smoothly through these hormonal changes.


The key to Emotional Balance is that it "soothes the Liver," the organ responsible for the smooth flow of qi in the body. If qi flow is unimpeded, the hormonal shifts of this last stage of the cycle are most likely to proceed smoothly.  Another key feature of Emotional Balance is that in order to facilitate the flow of Liver qi, it also supplements (Spleen) qi and (Liver) Blood. It is not easily to replicate the sophistication of this formula in a tasty dish, but we think this wild rice recipe is a start.

wild rice for DAO Labs

Cherries for DAO Labs

We begin with rice and cherries, which are both "sweet and warm" and therefore support the Spleen and nourish qi and blood. Brussel sprouts are members of the Brassicaceae family, and like their cousins, cabbage or broccoli, are "sweet" but "cooling." They can gently supplement while also eliminating heat and irritability. Although progesterone levels are falling in the last week of the cycle, they are still elevated overall, which means that women will tend to crave fats. We have added hemp, chia seeds, and flax to this dish to help provide healthy fats and satisfy this craving.

Brussel sprouts for DAO Labs

Scallions for DAO Labs


Lastly, in order to get true relief from PMS symptoms, it is important to "soothe Liver qi." This feat is a little harder to achieve with our typical palette of foods and spices. So we have started with several pungent aromatics to move qi. Scallions, Aleppo (a type of hot pepper that originates from the war torn city in Syria), mustard all have this dispersing property that moves stagnant qi. To these spices, we add vinegar, because it has the property of entering the Liver (sourness is the flavor associated with the Liver) and therefore directs the pungency of these aromatics to the area most in need of it. Lastly, we add mint as a garnish. Mint not only moves qi, but it also soothes the Liver and can reduce abdominal pain and menstrual cramping. We hope this dish will bring some relief to our readers. We also encourage you to combine it with Dao's Emotional Balance, which has helped generations of women in China to manage their menstrual cycle.

Mint for DAO Labs


Wild Rice with Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Scallions and Dried Cherries

Serving size

About 2-3

Prep Time / Cook Time

15 minutes / 30 minutes


1 Cup Wild Rice

3-4 Cups Water

10-12 Brussel Sprouts

Scallions, two-three inch cut

1 Teaspoon Sumac or more to taste

1 Teaspoon Aleppo Chile or more to taste

1 Teaspoon Hemp Seed

1 Teaspoon Chia Seed

1 Teaspoon Flax Seed

Several mint leaves

¼ Cup Dried Cherries

¼ Cup Cherry Vinegar or vinegar of choice

2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard

3-4 Ounces Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper


Rinse wild rice and add to boiling water (1 to 3-4 ratio) and simmer covered for around 25 minutes or until cooked to desired texture and set aside.

Make the cherry sauce by adding dried cherries, vinegar, dijon, salt and pepper to a small food processor.  While processor is running, slowly add about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil.

Trim Brussel sprouts, cut in half, lightly blanch, shock and begin browning cut side down in a hot pan with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.  You can skip the blanching step if you like your sprouts crunchy.  Turn as the cut sides brown and add the sumac and Aleppo chile.  Sumac is a wonderful spice that adds a lemony flavor reminiscent of vinegar while Aleppo chile adds a fruity heat to the dish, both are essential in Middle Eastern cooking and perfect for the warming aspects of the dish.  Add the scallions, chia, flax, hemp and saute while adding a splash or two of water as needed.   Add a couple tablespoons of the cherry sauce, toss and adjust seasoning and garnish with fresh mint.


Dining with Culinary Artist Travis Metzger is an unforgettable experience. You can taste the passion, creativity and culinary expertise in each of Travis’s one-of-kind recipes. Most would agree that Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs in their original form taste less than delectable, but Travis has proven that TCM for today can taste great with DAO Labs. Travis develops unique flavors for each DAO formula to complement the proprietary blend of herbs and their health benefits. After extensive training at the New England Culinary Institute, Travis ran some of the finest restaurants across the country before starting his own in Minneapolis. To survive the stresses and physical challenges of the kitchen heat, Travis focused on combining natural ingredients for healthy AND delicious eating and juicing.

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