Menstrual cramps have been troubling women since eternity. With growing lifestyle changes and poor habits like sleeping late, eating unhealthy food, and not exercising enough, cramps are also getting painful. And diseases like polycystic ovarian syndrome or fibroids only make the cramps worse.
While heating pads or over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil may help, they are not excellent or long-term solutions.
But, natural herbs can be a game-changer. They don’t have the side effects of pills but can act faster than heating pads in many cases.
But which herbs should you take for relieving menstrual cramps? Read on!
Commonly Used Herbs for Menstrual Cramps
One of the easily available herbs for menstrual cramps is ginger. According to research, ginger relieves menstrual pain as effectively as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen – the two popular pain relievers.
Ginger also prevents the development of too much prostaglandin (pro-inflammatory chemicals). All thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
During menstruation, prostaglandins aid in the contraction of the uterus and the shedding of the uterine lining. Menstrual cramps and severe pain are connected to high levels of prostaglandins.
Ginger’s warming properties make it similar to heating pads in terms of effectiveness. As a result, it can assist with pain relief.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate the warmth of ginger into your diet:
- Add it to your meals
- Drink ginger tea in the evenings
- Add it to your smoothies
Fennel is a licorice-flavored herb with a crispness similar to celery. It contains an ingredient known as anethole, which some people feel can help with spasms.
A 2013 study from Iran suggests that fennel extract mixed with Vitex agnus castus extract works just as well as prescription medicine Ponstel (mefenamic acid) for relieving menstrual cramps.
Here’s how you can incorporate the calming fennel seeds in your diet:
- You can try soaking fennel seeds in water overnight during your periods and drinking the water in the morning or whenever you feel cramps.
- Take a pinch of fennel seeds after every meal (they also help with digestion)
- Enjoy fennel tea in the evenings (it will also help sleep better)
Another great addition to this list of herbs for menstrual cramps is cinnamon or dalchini.
Cinnamon should be your go-to for period pain. After all, it has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-microbial elements. For instance, cinnamate, cinnamic acid, and cinnamaldehyde.
All these help period pain by lowering inflammation caused by prostaglandins. And as a bonus, they keep your immunity in check.
Here’s how you can add spicy cinnamon to your day:
- Apply its oil to your belly and back area
- Use the spice directly in your food
- Sprinkle the cinnamon powder in your smoothies or yogurt.
- Replace your morning coffee with cinnamon tea
Research shows that peppermint is effective in reducing the time and intensity for which you may face menstrual pain.
Peppermint oil is antispasmodic, which means it prevents muscle contractions (involuntary).
Peppermint can help minimize recurrent uterine muscular contractions. This is beneficial for menstruation pain (which is what causes the physical sensation of pain).
Peppermint also contains the natural analgesic menthol (i.e. pain reliever). Menthol appears to reduce pain by activating the body’s “cool” receptors, according to research.
Here’s how you can make more use of peppermint throughout the day:
- Use peppermint essential oil in your diffuser and take advantage of aromatherapy. The fragrance of this oil can help calm your nerves and reduce your spasms.
- Drink a cup of peppermint tea
- Add peppermint to your smoothies and soups.
Other Effective Herbs For Menstrual Cramps
5. Aloe vera
Menstrual cramps have been observed to get relieved by consuming aloe vera gel with honey. Some people believe it can improve blood flow, which means less cramping and pain.
Aloe vera also has anti-inflammatory properties. These combat inflammation, which is the leading cause of menstrual pain.
Consuming aloe vera can be difficult for the first few times, so you can make a juice from its pulp instead of eating the pulp directly.
6. Zhi Zi
A Chinese herb, Fructus Gardenia (Zhi Zi) is a cooling herb that relieves heat that commonly increases in a woman’s body during menstruation.
Consuming this herb can help with heat irritation symptoms. These include poor sleep, irritability, rage, feeling hot, or stuffy chest.
Research suggests the Gardenia constituent Genipin can reduce inflammation. It does so by inhibiting the production of prostaglandin (a pro-inflammatory compound).
Relieving the heat and reducing inflammation not only help provide comfort by reducing pain. The herb also helps get better sleep. That is necessary when a female’s body is going through so much.
7. Angelica Sinensis
Angelica, another Chinese medicine, is one of the excellent herbs for menstrual cramps.
It can relax the uterus when it gets constricted (during cramps). Thus, implying it can aid in the relief of cramps and pain.
Plus, Angelica, according to Chinese medicine, increases blood circulation. This prevents blood from becoming stagnant. Stasis, or a lack of blood circulation, is one of the most common causes of painful cramps.
In addition, Angelica extract has shown to be comparable to aspirin in its effects as an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory herb.
Over To You
That’s not all. Turmeric, fenugreek, Bupleurum, and white peony are also fantastic herbs for menstrual cramps that you can benefit from.
Which one are you going to try? Comment below!
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