By Karen Foster via Prevent Disease, 22 January 2016
Menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can be debilitating for some women and make them feel very uncomfortable at “that time of the month.” Our ancestors have utilized a variety of very effective herbal solutions to address every kind of pain associated with monthly cycle
Restoring your menstrual cycle can be done naturally and effectively with herbs, nutrition and exercise. Here are 15 very effective herbs for menstrual pain.
1) CRAMP BARK & BLACK HAW
These are probably the most effective herbs for reducing uterine spasm and cramping. These sister herbs bring relief of pain and muscle spasm in the uterus. Cramp bark and Black haw have been shown safe for use for several days prior to onset on menses in anticipation and prevention of painful cramps.
An herb from Southeast Asia made from the powdered leaves of the jungle tree Mitragyna speciosa, is quickly becoming one of the most natural power pain relievers to replace pharmaceutical opiates. It is a mixture of approximately 40 alkaloids and other compounds that has been used for centuries to relieve muscle pain, menstrual discomfort, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. It has complex and varied effects that reduces pain and inflammation, as well as benefits mood for women with even severe PMS symptoms.
3) BLACK COHOSH
Not only can it halt the growth of breast cancer cells, but this plant is very anti-inflammatory and wonderful at reducing spasm in both the smooth muscles, but also the skeletal muscles associated with pain that radiates to the lower back and down the thighs.
4) RED RASPBERRY
Red raspberry leaves tone the uterus and also help prevent menstrual cramps. This herb needs to be taken consistently over a long period of time to get this benefit. If menstrual flow is heavy, red raspberry leaves will help control it. Yarrow is also instrumental in reducing excessive menstrual flow. Use tea or tinctures several times per day.
5) DONG QUAI
Dong Quai is popular for women with absent period, but it has other beneficial actions. It helps to reduce menstrual cramps in women with a boggy, heavy feeling uterus due to stagnation, poor circulation and scant blood flow during menstruation. Dong Quai acts on the circulatory system and lymphatic system reducing tissue congestion. It has both analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also very relaxing to the nervous system, which may be helpful to those with anxiety or tension during PMS and menstruation. Interestingly this herb has been shown to first stimulate the uterus and then go on to relax it. Dong Quai is also a wonderful hormonal balancing herb, used since the 16ht century for the female reproductive system. Note: This herb is best not used during menstruation for women with heavy bleeding.
6) WILD YAM
Wild Yam has a wonderful action on smooth muscle tissue, reducing muscle spasm of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, aiding in painful menstruation and chronic pelvic pain. Wild Yam helps the uterus to work more efficiently during menses. This uterine support allows for proper function of the uterus while working to prevent uterine cramping or spasm. This herb has a wonderful action on the ovaries, toning them and aiding in ovarian cyst pain.
7) FERMENTED COD LIVER OIL
Ok, not a plant but a very worthy mention. FCL oil provides many of the necessary building blocks for hormone production including Vitamins A, D, and K. It also is a great source of Omega-3s and beneficial fats.
(Ganoderma lucidum) mushroom is a powerful immune strengthener and regulator of blood sugar. It is used to counteract general fatigue or weakness that may be associated with chronic PMS and is an excellent herb for calming and relaxing women who experience irritability, nervousness, emotional excess, and sleeplessness.
(Valeriana officinalis) works as an antispasmodic, relieving menstrual cramps by relaxing smooth muscles. It is quite effective for cramps, particularly when taken in fairly large doses, especially when blended with cramp bark (50-50). This time-honored herb is of additional benefit as it is an excellent nervine and helps allay emotional stress and nervousness which sometimes occur before the menstrual cycle.
10) JAMAICAN DOGWOOD
This herb combines will with Cramp Bark or Black Haw. It is important to seek the guidance of a qualified herbalist, midwife or naturopathic doctor if you are considering this herb for pain. Never self prescribe this herb. This herb is extremely antispasmodic and analgesic. It is traditionally used for all neuralgic and muscular cramps and spasm. This is an herb that is often relied on by herbalists for women who have unrelenting pain disturbing daily life activities; debilitating pain. Jamaican Dogwood may be a good option for women who have lost all hope, or where other remedies have failed.
An excellent diuretic, helps eliminate excess water from the system, relieving the symptoms of bloating. The leaf contains natural potassium so does not deplete potassium in the system as do synthetic diuretics.
12) NATURAL PROGESTERONE CREAM
PMS and menstrual troubles are often linked to specific hormone imbalances. Especially for those with short cycles or short second phase of their cycle (ovulation through start of menses), progesterone can be the issue. Some people can add only natural progesterone cream and see symptoms greatly reduce. If you do use progesterone cream, do you own research, make sure you have a high quality brand.
This sweet little flower is both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It is also helpful for women with digestive constipation contributing to pain. Because this herb is also a nervine and mild sedative it may help to reduce stress, relax the nervous system and induce a restful state in the body. This can be very useful when experiencing menstrual cramping accompanied by anxiety and irritability. Chamomile is best sipped as a tea during menstruation.
A tuber in the radish family that has a history of boosting hormone production and libido. Many women notice less PMS, increased fertility, and improved skin while men noticeÂ increasedÂ sperm production, libido and better sleep. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones. Â It is available inÂ powder formÂ (least expensive option) or inÂ capsules. Maca should be discontinued during pregnancy. The effects of Maca are somewhat cumulative, so the best results are seen after 3-5 weeks of taking Maca regularly.
Very effective at reducing uterine muscle spasm, cramping and improving uterine tone. It is also a wonderful mild sedative, aids in insomnia, headache and dizziness. It is a specific remedy for heart palpitations, stress and anxiety associated with pelvic pain.