The Best Herbs to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps are abdominal or pelvic pain that happen at the beginning of a woman’s menstrual cycle (before or during the periods) and affect around 80% of women. The pain usually begins 1-2 days before the beginning of menstruation and last until the 3rd or 4th day of the period. To relieve menstrual cramps, there are natural, gentle and effective alternatives to over-the-counter painkillers. First, you need to make dietary changes and nourish your body with hormones-friendly and anti-inflammatory foods. If you haven’t read my article on food hacks for a healthy and pain free period, check it out here. Second, there are medicinal herbs that can help support your cycle and effectively reduce the period inconfort and pain. Below are some of my favorite herbs to alleviate menstrual pain and regulate the menstrual cycle.
Red raspberry leaf (Rubus Idaeus)
Red raspberry leaf is often referred as the woman’s herb because of its amazing benefits for women’s reproductive health. It contains fragarine, an alkaloid which helps reduce menstrual cramps by relaxing and tightening uterine and pelvic muscles. Red raspberry leaf is also loaded with B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals including potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron, essential nutrients for a healthy menstrual cycle. Drinking red raspberry leaf is an effective and gentle way to relieve menstrual cramps, especially if you start drinking it 3 days before your periods start. To make red raspberry leaf tea, infuse 1 tbsp red raspberry loose leaf in 8-ounce boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)
Yarrow is a medicinal herb used traditionally to promote healthy blood circulation and reduce heavy menstrual bleeding, also called menorrhagia. It has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial to ease menstrual cramps. If you have heavy and painful period, yarrow can help reduce or stop the heavy bleeding, relieve menstrual pain and regulate the menstrual cycle. Yarrow tea can be taken as a tea, in capsules or as a tincture.
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage is an ancient medicinal herb with antispasmodic properties effective to relieve menstrual cramps, support hormonal balance and reduce excessive bleeding. There are different ways to use sage to relieve menstrual cramps: you can use 10-15 drops of Clary sage essential oil, dilute with 2-ounce carrier oil of your choice, and use it to massage your lower abdomen before and during your period. You can also make a tea by steeping 1 tbsp dried sage leaves in 8-ounce boiling water for 15 minutes or more (to make a stronger tea).
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Mugwort is a helpful herb for women suffering from amenorrhea, or lack of a period. It helps regulate the cycle and start period again. It works as a uterine tonic and stimulate blood flow to the uterus. Mugwort also has anti-inflammatory properties which is beneficial to alleviate menstrual cramps. Mugwort can be taken as a herbal tea or tincture to relieve menstrual pain and normalize the menstrual cycle.
Lady’s Mantle (Achemilla vulgaris)
Lady’s Mantle is a wonderful herb for women’s reproductive health. It has sedative and anti-inflammatory properties, and contains salicylic acid that help relieve aches and pains during menstruation.Lady’s Mantle also helps reduce heavy and excessive menstrual bleeding due to its high concentration of tannin, and restore a normal menstrual cycle. Lady’s Mantle can be taken as a tea or tincture before and during your periods, and throughout your menstrual cycle.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger is a warming and anti-inflammatory herb effective to relieve menstrual pain and common inconfort during menstruation such as bloating, fatigue and nausea. Compounds found in ginger protect against inflammation by regulating the production of prostaglandins, an inflammatory chemical that, when produced excessively, lead to menstrual cramps. Ginger can also help reduce heavy bleeding during menstruation. Ginger can be taken as a tea (made with fresh or dried ginger) or in capsules as a dietary supplements.
If you experience severe menstrual cramps, consult a healthcare professional or before using any medicinal herbs.