fWomen have been suffering from menstrual problems for eternity. Due to certain changes in lifestyle, poor sleep, an imbalanced diet, and inactivity, menstrual cramps are also getting painful and worse. Let’s look at 6 herbs for menstrual cramps.

See also Top 9 Best Herbs for Fertility and Top 9 Common Causes Infertility in Men.

6 Herbs For Menstrual Cramps

Menstruation is a natural process in which certain hormones cause the contraction and shedding of the lining of the uterus.

This menstrual cycle is caused by the rising and falling of hormones. This is why the time period of a cycle is different in women of different ages and body weights.

For many women, this bleeding period of each month can be a painful experience, as they face menstrual cramps.

These muscle cramps or painful periods are also known as “dysmenorrhea”. It is basically cramps of the lower abdomen, thighs, and back. Some women face these cramps even some days before menstruation begins.

There are various reasons behind this pain during periods, and the pain varies from woman to woman, depending upon their body and lifestyle. This pain is sometimes accompanied by headache, nausea, dizziness, and diarrhoea in some women.

According to a 2017 survey of 1,175 women, “More than 30% of working women stop coming to the office and working just because of their menstrual cramps and pain of the menstrual pain.”

If you are one from those women suffering from menstrual cramps, then you must know these cannot be ignored. Luckily, many things can help you in relieving this pain. Herbs are some of those amazing things.

Some incredibly rich varieties of herbs for menstrual cramps have been used for centuries by physicians, midwives, grandmothers, and healers. 

1. Ginger:

whole and sliced ginger root on a whitewashed wood surface

Ginger is a most common herb used in Chinese medicine because it reduces cold in the body and warms it up.

It can help kick out the common cold from the body and soothe the stomach in case of nausea. It is also very beneficial for food poisoning, which is why it is often served with sushi.

Besides all these benefits, ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can prevent excessive inflammation in the uterus lining, which is linked with menstrual cramps and pain.

Various studies have also shown the effectiveness of ginger during menstrual cramps. For example, in one study of women suffering from menstrual pain, published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Giti), one group of women was given 250 mg of ginger supplements four times dail, while the other group was given Advil.

Both groups were treated for the first three days of their period. The study found that the women who took ginger supplements had the same level of pain relief as those who took Advil. This proves it to be a good idea to take herbs for menstrual cramps.

According to another study of 120 women, published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies (Rahnama), 60 were given ginger root powder during the first five days of their menstruation, while the other 60 were given sugar pills.

The result shows that the women with ginger root powder have better relief from menstrual cramps than women of another group.

Moreover, the warming properties of ginger can also be very beneficial and effective, especially for people who tend to feel better with a heating pad during their menstruation.

Because of the soothing effect of this herb, it can also be used to treat bloating and nausea during this period.

2. Fennel:

Fennel essential oil, bulb and seeds, selective focus

Fennel, also known as “Xiao Hui Xiang”, is a herb that has been used for centuries because of its incredibly diverse effects.

In Chinese medicine, it is used as a warming herb that can help in relieving pain caused due to coldness within the lower abdomen.

According to the Eastern medicine point of view, the main cause of menstrual pain is that the cold invades the uterus and causes stagnation. It’s just like water; when you heat it, it starts to move, but you freeze it, all of its movement stops.

The coldness in the uterus has the same effect as it slows down the process and results in poor blood circulation, which can cause pain.

That’s why a lot of women feel relief from menstrual cramps with a heat pack or heating blanket on their abdomen.

Moreover, fennel also contains a compound known as anethole. This compound has also been shown to be beneficial in relieving spasms.

According to a 2013 study in Iran (Bokaie), fennel extract, combined with cactus (Vitex agnus) extract, is very effective for menstruation cramps.

The study also describes that this extract can be as effective as ponstel, a prescription drug used to relieve pain during menstruation.

Fennel is also very popular in digestive aids, as this herb has the ability to reduce gas and bloating. Therefore, it can also be beneficial for those who feel nauseous during their menstruation period.

3. Angelica Sinensis

Angelica root used in chinese traditional herbal medicine over black background. radix angelicae sinensis, dang gui.

Angelica sinensis, more commonly known as dong quai or female ginseng, is a very popular herb that has been used throughout Asia for at least 2000 years.

Dong quai is the herb that most appears within traditional Chinese medicine’s prescriptions more than any other herb.

Many herbalists named it a “wonder herb” for the female reproductive system. This is because of its multi-purposes, including relief of menstrual cramps, frequent menstruation, lack of menstruation, and balancing the female reproductive processes.

All these reproductive benefits of Chinese Angelica make it the most commonly used herb in herbal gynaecology.

This herb is used as both a blood nourisher and blood mover in Chinese medicines. This means this herb can be very effective in moving and circulating blood flow before menstruation starts, and when the bleeding is finished, it helps in rebuilding the lost blood and nourishing the body.

Angelica has various pharmacological effects on patients suffering from cramps. This herb can relax the uterus when it is in contraction, which results in less pain and a reduction in cramps.

Angelica also has an anti-platelet effect. From a Chinese medical perspective, this herb can increase blood movement and keep it from stagnating. A lack of blood circulation is one of the main reasons for cramps.

Moreover, Angelica also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which makes it effective as a painkiller during menstrual pain.

According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinals, Angelica extract was given to women with menstruation cramps, and the result shows the same effects of this herb as aspirin.

Angelica actually has 1.1 times more anti-inflammatory properties and 1.7 times more analgesic effects than aspirin.

4. White Peony:

Beautiful white peony in garden

Peony is a very beautiful plant and can be found in most gardens. This plant has many different species, and almost all of them are loved due to beautiful flowers.

The root of this plant is used for medicinal purposes. It is dried and boiled down to make a strong tea, a process called decoction.

White peony, also known as Bai Shao, is a variety of this plant and a major gynaecological herb that nourishes the blood and also softens the liver.

In Chinese Medicine, it means this herb can help in building the blood in the body as well as keep the functioning of the liver smooth, which is important for estrogen metabolism and healthy periods.

One of the most interesting effects of the white pony is its ability to reduce muscle spasms, which is why this herb is used for treating tendon pain caused by spasms.

The uterus is also a muscle, so it works for this in the same way and helps in relaxing the uterus when it spasms during menstruation.

White peony also has other pharmacological effects: it reduces inflammation to control pain and provides anti-platelet effects to prevent blood from stagnating.

This herb also works as a central nervous system suppressant, which means it can calm the body and helps with better sleep.

White peony can also be used for fertility purposes when it is combined with other herbs.

A white peony and licorice combination has been shown to provide a significant pain-relieving effect without any side effects.

Moreover, this herb can also be combined with Dong Gui for the effective treatment of iron deficiency.

5. Gardenia Fruit

Dried gardenia fruit isolated on a white background

Gardenia fruit, also known as fructus gardenia, gardenia pods, or zhi zi, is a cooling herb which can remove heat from the body. This herb is very popular in Chinese Medicine for balancing heat and reducing dampness.

Fructus gardenia can be very helpful with heat irritation and the symptoms caused by it, such as irritability, anger, sensations in the chest, feeling hot, and poor sleep.

This herb can be very helpful during menstruation, especially for those women who present a lot of heat around their periods.

Such people may face acne, insomnia, headaches, and anxiety and feel hot for a few days before and after their periods.

This means gardenia can be helpful in improving sleep, reducing anxiety, and feeling less moody during menstruation.

Gardenia also works as a central nervous system suppressant and provides sedative and calming effects. According to a study about Fructus Gardenia’s active ingredients (Toriizuka), gardenia can be used as a herbal treatment to treat anxiety.

Gardenia is also a famous herb in Western medicine, as it is used as an anti-inflammatory oxidant to promote bile and liver health.

This herb has also been shown to be effective in reducing fever, lowering high blood pressure, and improving mood.

One of the interesting things about gardenia is that while it belongs to the coffee family, it won’t be waking you up all night.

6. Wild Yam:

Botanical collection of climbing or medicinal plants dioscorea communis or tamus communis, black bryony, ladys-seal or black bindweed plant

Wild yams have been used to increase physical health since the beginning of traditional Chinese medicines.

Yam’s roots have also been used by Native Americans for making female pills like contraceptives. Because of the presence of the hormone diosgenin in this herb, the first contraceptive pill was made from it in the 1930s.

Wild yams also have healing effects on cramps, abdominal pain, and inner balance. Due to their anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, wild yams are often prescribed by herbalists to treat pelvic pain and menstrual cramps.

This amazing herb not only helps the uterus function more efficiently but also provides support for proper functions to prevent cramping and spasms.

Wild yams not only help with menstrual pain and spam, but it is also very beneficial for women in their menopause. As yam content increases, diosgenin, a chemical with a similar structure to progesterone, can counteract estrogen dominance.

Thus it can help with hot flashes, mood swings, and other conditions that come with menopause. The hormone-regulating effect of wild yams can also be effective during PMS, helping women cope better during their time experiencing this syndrome.

However, wild yams not only work for women’s reproductive systems. This wild plant has an amazing bone-strengthening effect which can help in treating and preventing osteoporosis, a condition more common in postmenopausal women. 

The substances present within this plant can increase calcium absorption, which as a result, makes the bones stronger and prevent the premature breakdown of bone structure.

Moreover, these yams can also increase the protein collagen, which helps in forming bones in the body.

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Menstrual cramps, also known as painful periods or dysmenorrhea, are caused by the contraction of the uterus, which results in aches, pain, and spasms in the pelvic and lower abdomen area of the body.

These cramps are caused because of the building up of hormones and prostaglandins during the start of the menstrual cycle.

Some women use pain relievers like Advil or Aleve to relieve the pain, while some try to get some relief by placing a hot towel or heating bag on their lower abdomen or taking a hot bath, but these treatments may only work for some of them, or not very well.

Luckily, there are certain herbs that can be very effective during menstrual cramps and without any side effects.

All these herbs like ginger, fennel, white peony, and wild yams can be easily added into your diet through tea or decoction to provide maximum benefits.

These herbs have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, which can be very helpful in relaxing the uterus during contraction and providing some relief from pain.

Some herbs like gardenia and white peony can be effective during menopause as well, as these can reduce symptoms like hot flashes, anxiety, and restlessness during menopause.

Therefore, make sure to take full benefits of these herbs for menstrual cramps!

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