It’s that dreaded time of the month. Menstrual cramps, bloating, moodiness, and the host of other symptoms that accompany your period.
As you know, these symptoms can oftentimes become so severe that they interfere with your daily tasks. Which is why it may be tempting to crack open that bottle of Midol.
While this can certainly help ease your period symptoms, you might consider trying some natural menstrual cramp and period remedies like herbal tea.
What causes a menstrual cramp?
“Each month, the uterine lining builds up in preparation for pregnancy,” explains Dr. Kecia Gaither, Director of Perinatal Outreach at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “If no fertilization occurs, the thickened uterine lining is no longer required and as such is shed; this shedding is the menstrual process.”
Not all women suffer through this process the same. Some feel little pain, while others experience pain that borders on the extreme. If the latter occurs, this could be a sign of underlying conditions (fibroids, adenomyosis, imbalanced hormones, etc.). If your cramps are unusually harsh, it’s best to speak to a doctor.
Before listing our favorite herbal teas for menstrual cramps, here are some additional “remedies” you can try to lessen your symptoms:
1. Watch your diet
A common theme among experts in the field is that inflammatory foods can worsen a period. The reason is that fats are precursors to various chemicals that are involved in contracting the uterus. Of course, not all fats are bad. The main types to steer clear of during your menstrual period are animal fats, which are inclined to prompt inflammation.
2. Take your vitamins
If you’re not on a rigid schedule, remembering to take your one-a-day multi-vitamins can be a trying task. But come period time, it’s crucial. And you may want to take a couple extra. In order to see results, you have to be dutiful in taking them daily. The vitamins that are particularly important are magnesium, zinc, calcium, and B vitamins.
3. Get some exercise
When you’re bloated and in pain the last thing you want to do is go out and about. But aerobic exercise can be a natural lifestyle pain reliever, as increased blood flow helps cramping retreat. While sprinting around a track is unrealistic, even light exercise like walking or yoga can help you fight menstrual pain.
4. Heat it up
Remember, contracting muscles is the stimulant for menstrual cramps. Applying heat helps with menstrual pain because it opens up the blood vessels to boost flow. In addition to a heating pad, you can also try a nice warm bath soap with lavender.
5. Get your fluids
Chugging gallons of water day won’t cure your period symptoms. But it can certainly help. Drinking enough water will actually prevent your body from retaining too much water, which can encourage bloating. Warm water in particular will help increase blood flow and relax cramped up muscles. Some experts believe that adding mugwort vinegar can help women deal with cramps and pain during periods.
Best Herbal Teas for Your Period
There are a number of herbs that can help lessen a range of period symptoms – everything from bloating to cramps and headaches. You can find these teas online, in store, or you could even create your own teas with pure, therapeutic grade essential oils (just be sure that the brand is recommended for internal use).
1. Fennel tea
Fennel seeds are anti-spasmodic, which allow the muscles in the uterus to better contract. In turn, the improved blood flow that fennel tea encourages will ease pain.
2. Chamomile tea
Indeed, chamomile tea may be something to add to your “medicine cabinet.” For thousands of years, chamomile has been known for its healing properties. According to research chamomile tea can increase levels of glycine. This can relax the uterus and help relieve menstrual cramps.
3. Peppermint tea
Peppermint is most widely known for its use in treating respiratory issues. But thanks to a wonderful secret ingredient (menthol), it can also be beneficial for easing cramps, bloating, and fatigue.
4. Cinnamon tea
Like fennel tea, cinnamon contains anti-spasmodic properties that can decrease cramps and menstrual pain. Begin drinking cinnamon tea shortly before your period begins and throughout the first few days to increase relief.
5. Lavender tea
In the aromatherapy world, lavender is often known as the “cure-all” oil, due to its many, many uses. In addition to fighting all different types of pain, lavender can lift your spirits and relax your mind.