For many women their bleeding time each month can be a painful experience. For thousands of years women have come up with a variety of reasons why this is happening to them, and the pain can vary from woman to woman. For some women the pain is debilitating.
Menstrual cramps, also called dysmenorrhea, are cramping aches and pains that typically affect the lower abdomen but may also radiate to the lower back and thighs. Menstrual cramps often occur just before and during the first few days of a woman's menstrual period. Some women also experience loose stools, headaches, nausea or dizziness.
Any remedy can treat menstrual cramps is limited. Here's a look at four kinds of herbal medicine that are recommended by medicine practitioners
Ginger is very versatile, and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It can also be used medicinally, as a tea, tincture or capsules. I use ginger quite a bit in the tea shop, and it plays a big role in my cramp tea. Some of the many actions of ginger include being an anti-nauseant, spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory, and a digestive stimulant. Many women experience digestive upset alongside their menstrual flow and cramps, making ginger an ideal choice.
Along with the culinary herb, parsley has many medicinal benefits as well. One special property if parsley is that it stimulates menstrual flow. This is perfect for the women who experience menstrual irregularities. Parsley contains many menstrual-supportive nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron as it helps to cleanse the kidneys, it may help to reduce bloating and water retention breast tenderness, bloating and that ‘full’ feeling in the uterus that often comes along with cramps.
A classic female herb, which provides both support for our reproductive system and loads of essential vitamins and minerals that are supportive to health. It also reduces menstrual cramps along with prostaglandins (hormone-like substances linked to pain and inflammation). The antioxidants and vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and iron help support normal menstrual cycles. This is partly why raspberry leaf is known as a uterine tonic, being able to soothe uterine irritability and entire reproductive system for healthier cycles and flow.
Chamomile is medicinal herb and it’s quite safe to use (even in infants) and has a wide variety of uses. Chamomile has many actions, including being anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, mildly sedative, and carminative. It’s anti-inflammatory and spasmolytic actions will help to calm uterine contractions. The mild sedative action is helpful for calming us down and allowing our nervous systems to relax as our uterus does during that time of the month.
If you're considering using herbs for menstrual cramps, it's important to talk with your doctor first to weigh the pros and cons. If you have severe menstrual cramps it could be a sign of problems that need to be assessed by your doctor.