Chocolate bar promises women relief from PMS

Wednesday, July 28 2010

Don Lajoie, CanWest News Service

Published: Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Windsor company has come up with the best reason yet for women to indulge a passion for chocolate.
Jamieson Laboratories, a naturopathic health products manufacturer on Rhodes Drive, has announced the development of a chocolate bar that it says can alleviate the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

The company's new PMS Support chocolate bar line, a collection of 15 soy crisp chocolate bars "infused with natural botanicals," claiming to help relieve the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS, should be on the shelves of select stores across Canada within days.

John Challinor, director of communications for Jamieson's Toronto office, said the new comfort food "is like nothing else on the market today."

While Challinor would not speculate on the chocolate bar line's expected sales figures, he said the company was very optimistic about international marketing.

The company, Canada's largest manufacturer and distributor of natural health care, vitamin and nutrition products, exports to clients in 50 countries, including the United States, China, Japan, Korea and Singapore.

"It's difficult to determine how markets will respond, but early indications through market studies indicate a positive outlook," he said, adding it is too soon to determine if there will be a need to expand the Windsor operation.

Challinor said there are immediate marketing opportunities in Canada. He added there are about 175 employees at the plant and distribution warehouse in Windsor.

Penny Kendall-Reed, a naturopathic doctor and director of Toronto's Urban Wellness Clinic, carried out market and field testing for the company on a group of about a dozen Toronto women to determine the effectiveness of the product. She said the women were unanimous in their endorsements.

"It's nice for women to have an option to pills or capsules," said Kendall-Reed. "Most women we tested felt calmer within three to four hours and their pain and cramping dissipated within four days."

Kendall-Reed said the symptoms of PMS, which can include irritability, cramping pains, bloating, depression, anxiety and craving, afflict between 70 and 80 per cent of women, and 40 per cent of them suffer enough from one or more symptoms to consult a doctor.

She said the bars contain a blend of white willow bark, sodium caseinate, artichoke leaf and chasteberry, which work together to relieve physical symptoms while soothing and comforting.

Willow bark, Kendall-Reed said, has been described as "herbal aspirin," relieving pain and inflammation. She said chasteberry helps reduce irritability and artichoke acts as a diuretic to ease bloating. PMS, which can begin one to two weeks before a woman's menstrual period, is thought to be caused by a shift in hormone levels.

While advising she would need to know more about the amounts of the active ingredients used in order to better gauge its effectiveness, Ruth Anne Baron, of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, said many of the individual ingredients have long been traditional remedies for PMS and menstrual discomfort.

© The Windsor Star 2007

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