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Best Herbs for Menstrual Cramps

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Are you constantly dreading your period because your period cramps are borderline debilitating? Did you know that there are herbs and other things that may lessen the severity of your cramps? I didn’t either until I started researching herbal medicine.

Having painful periods with your menstrual cycle is a very common thing for many women.

But, did you know that severe period cramps aren’t necessarily “normal”?

If you’re having heavy cramping during PMS (aka premenstrual syndrome) and during your period there are ways to help relieve the pain to the point where it’s very tolerable.

You shouldn’t be in the fetal position every cycle.

After having severe period pain, mood swings, and PMS symptoms every month I set out to find ways I could control or at least help myself not feel like I had been rolled over with a road packer. 

I came across many things in my search, but one that was super easy to try and implement was herbal teas.

woman holding herbs

Remedies for Painful Period Cramps and PMS Symptoms

Generally speaking, if you go to your OBGYN and tell him/her that you have horrible cramps, heavy menstrual bleeding, and PMS before or during your menstrual cycle you’ll likely be recommended to get on birth control pills.

As someone who has tried pills and the birth control shot… I would advise against that unless absolutely necessary.

A lot of times hormonal birth control only masks the symptoms rather than getting to the root cause.

In Beyond the Pill by Jolene Brighten, she talks a lot about how hormonal birth control can seriously mess up our hormonal system. 

She also gives guidance on how to fix or at least alleviate symptoms.

In regards to overall health, your monthly menstrual period is a huge indicator of how healthy you are as a woman.

The side effects of taking hormonal birth control sometimes don’t always outweigh the benefits.

So, how can you achieve pain relief during your period?

While there are many different home remedies you can try, generally, it’s not just one remedy that’s going to do the trick.

It’ll likely be a combination of things that you do that will help your cycle during that time of the month. 

For instance, you can:

  • Take herbal remedies
  • Drink herbal teas
  • Apply heat to your lower abdomen with a hot water bottle or heating pad
  • Take over-the-counter medication for pain relief
  • Overhaul your diet with anti-inflammatory foods
  • Add aerobic exercise to your weekly routine
  • Work with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner to discover the root cause
  • Use essential oils (contact an aromatherapist or herbalist for better help)

You might try one of these things and it could greatly decrease your painful cramps, but likely you’ll want to add many of these into your daily activities.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive into herbal remedies and ways you can use herbs to help get pain relief during your period.

Related Post: Best Herbs for Hormones

tea strainer with herbs falling out

Best Herbs for Menstrual Cramps

There are the painful cramps, the water retention making you feel like a bloated hippo, heavy bleeding, breast tenderness, and other crazy symptoms that make women’s cycles really just… unpleasant sometimes.

Traditional medicine doesn’t always help the way we want it to either. You’ll get told to take this pain medication or that pill, but sometimes it doesn’t work or only masks the issues.

So, rather than loading up on more medications, why not turn to Chinese Medicine and herbalism for a little help?

Cramp Bark

This herb is great when mixed with others, as the bitter flavor can be a bit offputting to some.

But, it’s been known to be an amazing aid to women who experience regular heavy menstrual cramping during their cycle.

The frequent use of cramp bark in tea has been shown to help prevent cramps in smooth muscle (*). 

Fennel Tea

Fennel has a flavor that’s reminiscent of licorice. If you’re not put off by the taste then you might enjoy adding this tea to your daily routine for the benefits.

There was a study that was published talking about the impact of fennel tea in the AYU Journal where they investigated how fennel could help people with menstrual pain. 

In the study, there were 50 women that had severe menstrual cramps and they gave them either fennel tea or just a placebo. The study found that 52% of the women who drank fennel tea had an excellent improvement in pain whereas compared to just 8% in the group that had the placebo drink (*).

Red Raspberry Leaf

If you grow red raspberries in your garden you’re closer to this herb than most. The leaves on the red raspberry plant are the ones used to make red raspberry leave tea.

Red raspberry leaf tea has been used and shown to help reduce muscle spasms linked to painful periods. 

This plant is said to have many anti-inflammatory properties that herbalists and medical professionals have claimed can reduce the muscle spasms that can cause period cramps.

On top of that, Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is used in herbal medicine to strengthen the womb and prevent excessive bleeding (*).

Other Teas You Might Consider

Aside from the teas mentioned above, you might consider chamomile tea, lemon balm, or even ginger tea with some green tea as an herbal tea blend.

Chamomile tea has been cited in clinical studies as a way to relieve primary dysmenorrhea (*). But, it’s also a really relaxing herb if you’re feeling a bit wound up.

man cutting herbs from an medicinal herb garden

pouring tea into a cup

Herbal Tea Blend for Period Relief

Ingredients

  • 1 part Chamomile
  • 1 part Spearmint
  • 1 part Ginger root
  • 1 part Marshmallow Root
  • 1 part Red Raspberry Leaf
  • 1 part Cramp Bark

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, stir/shake, and store for use.
  2. When you're ready to make a glass, spoon 2-3 teaspoons into a tea bag, add boiling water over the herbs in a cup.
  3. Allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes before drinking.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite sweetener of choice.
Sources:
  1. https://helloclue.com/articles/cycle-a-z/period-cramps-101-why-menstrual-cramps-and-pain-occur-and-how-to-relieve 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518208/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25298352
  4. https://www.ema.europa.eu/documents/herbal-summary/raspberry-leaf-summary-public_en.pdf
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780443072772/botanical-medicine-for-womens-health
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
  7. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286965003_Chamomile_tea_for_relief_of_primary_dysmenorrhea
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4979258/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3611645/
  10. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3181/00379727-140-36479 

Best Herbs for Hormones
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