Every time that time of month comes around, we get anxious about starting to feel those painful and annoying cramps that can drain our energy and even distract us from everyday activities. Wouldn't it be great if there were natural remedies for menstrual cramps?
Many women will pop pain medications that may numb the feeling, but in reality, they aren’t helping the blood circulation or alleviating spasms. It's like putting a bandaid on a cut that actually requires stitches.
There are a number of herbs that have been used in TCM for centuries to help prevent and alleviate menstrual cramps. Here, we review four of them. Incorporate as many or as few as you'd like, so that you can experience relief.
Dang Gui (Angelica Root)
Angelica root, known as dong quaior dang gui, belongs to a species of plants that has been used in TCM as well as in Ayurveda, among other traditional medicine systems. It helps to promote blood flowto the reproductive organs, thus reducing cramps. It is an herb known to regulate the gastrointestinal tractand reduce bloating related to accumulated gas, as well as calm spasms.
Chuan Xiong (Lovage Root)
Lovage root, also known as Sichuan lovage root and Chuan Xiong, is an herb known to move the blood and reduce lower-body pain. It is known to be a diuretic as well as a spasmolytic, meaning it will help to reduce spasms. Because of these properties, it is also used to help alleviate flatulence and other gastric problems.
White Peony Root
White peony is known as a liver and blood tonic, as it has analgesic, blood nourishing, and menstrual regulating properties. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce bloating.
Foxglove root, or Chinese foxglove is an herb that women have added to soup as far back as the Song Dynasty. The soup contains four herbs, among them Chinese foxglove, which helps to alleviate pain and serves as a blood tonic to nourish the blood after menstruation and giving birth.
Other Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
The good news is that there are quite a number of different remedies for menstrual cramps that are completely natural. Some may even be seen as more of a lifestyle change than anything else. Let's take a moment to explore a few!
- Drink water - While this may be a given for any situation, a woman's menstrual cycle is even a more important reason to stay hydrated. Bloating is one of the uncomfortable side effects of menstruation, which can make cramps feel even more intense. In fact, it can just make you feel "blah" until your cycle passes. However, if you stay really hydrated, this can help reduce bloating, which can take pressure off your abdomen and make cramping a little less painful. Additionally, you can also eat more foods that are great for hydration, such as watermelon and cucumbers. Or, if you want something with a flavor, consider putting lemon, lime or mint in your water. It can be as simple as preparing a pitcher and keeping it in the refrigerator for whenever thirst calls.
- Watch what you eat - There are certain foods that can actually induce pain or make it even worse - and they apply to menstrual cramping. Try to avoid foods that are filled with salt, sugar and fat. Say "no" to things like potato chips, doughnuts, sugary sodas and pre-packaged snack cakes. Instead, reach for foods filled with omega-3 fatty acids, such as coldwater fish like salmon. Additionally, there are foods that can assist in lowering inflammation in the body, including cherries, bell peppers, tomatoes, blueberries and squash.
- Avoid caffeine - When you're not feeling at your best due to menstrual cramping, you may be tempted to splurge and load up on caffeine, thinking that it'll provide more energy and help you be more productive. However, this idea couldn't be further from the truth. Taking caffeine out of your diet can be helpful in so many ways, but as it applies to menstrual cramping, it can actually help lessen pain. Be sure to especially avoid, coffee, sodas, energy drinks and any teas that aren't herbal. In fact, drink as much chamomile tea as you'd like! It can also help calm your nerves and reduce stress that's often associated with menstruating.
These four herbs and five more, including Motherwort, Safflower, and Nut Grass, are found in Balance Blends Cramp Whisperer, a natural form to alleviate and prevent cramps through herbs used for hundreds of years.
Additionally, if your cramps are keeping you awake at night, or if you have regular problems with insomnia, look into Quiet Please from Balance Blends.