All women dread the painful cramps and uneasiness that comes along with their periods every month. For some women, this monthly visitor can debilitate them so much so that they can’t even go about doing their daily activities. During your period, the uterus contracts in order to get rid of its lining. These contractions are actually triggered by hormones like prostaglandins, which are also associated with causing pain and swelling. Therefore higher the levels of prostaglandins in your body, higher will be the intensity of the menstrual cramps. Fortunately, there are several home remedies for menstrual cramp that includes various exercises and foods items. Here are some those remedies that will help ease the menstrual cramps and get you through those days:
1. Applying heat
Applying heat to your back or abdomen is a great way to get relief from pain. Heat helps in relaxing the muscles that are contracting in your uterus, which in turn reduces the pain. Heating patches and pads are available in the stores and if you haven’t bought one, you can try a warm bath or a plastic bottle filled with hot water.
Although this might sound weird, any kind of physical activity is actually helpful in easing menstrual cramps. Exercise helps your body pump more blood, which triggers the release of endorphins that acts against the prostaglandins, thus helping to reduce your cramps. Regular exercise therefore is not only good for your overall health but also for relieving painful menstrual cramps.
Yoga asanas can help regulate reproductive and urinary system in female body. Regularly doing yoga can help relive period cramps. Vajrasana results in downward energy flow which helps in regulating menstruation and relieves cramps. Shashankasana and Marjariasana stretches back and releases pressure in abdominal region.
Drinking enough water helps in relieving menstrual cramps by preventing water retention and bloating. It is better to drink warm water as it causes relaxation of the contracted muscles by increasing the blood flow to the skin. Eating foods rich in water content such as lettuce, cucumber, watermelon etc. helps too. Read more about amazing benefits of drinking water…
5. Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium and Magnesium both are essential for the health of the bones and have been found to be helpful in reducing menstrual pain as well. Although there isn’t clear evidence, it is believed that these mineral helps ease menstrual pain by toning the muscles. While one study found that calcium helped in reducing menstrual pain, another study found that it reduced premenstrual pain. Similarly another study found that women suffering from abdominal cramps and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) tend to have low levels of magnesium. Magnesium supplements have been found to alleviate PMS-related mood changes and cramps.
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin helps to decrease the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that are associated with pain and inflammation. It also helps in decreasing the production of cytokines, which are associated with inflammation in your body.
Papaya has potent anti-inflammatory effects that help to relieve menstrual cramps in women. The various nutrients present in Papaya such as carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium help to relax the uterine walls and ease muscle contractions, thereby reducing the effect of menstrual cramps. Papaya also contains an enzyme known as papain that helps to regulate and ease the blood flow during menstruation.
Cinnamon is a wonderful spice that has been long used as a remedy for various kinds of health problems. It contains certain active compounds such as cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamlyl alcohol that has been believed to contribute to the healing properties of this spice. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that help in relaxing the muscles of the uterus, thus offering relief from menstrual pain.
Ginger contains essential oils that increase the blood flow and helps in alleviating cramps. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, ginger was found to be as effective as ibuprofen when it comes to relieving painful periods. Ginger inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins that are responsible for causing menstrual cramps.
Next time you have menstrual pain, try rolling up a few basil leaves and chew them. Just like ginger, basil is also effective in inhibiting the production of prostaglandins. It also interferes with the action of compounds that are responsible for increased pain sensitivity. Basil also contains caffeic acid, a natural pain killer that helps relieve menstrual pain. Read more about health benefits of basil.
Fennel seeds are widely known for their medicinal uses because of the various nutrients present in them. They contain minerals, phytonutrients and phytoestrogens that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antispasmodic effects. These nutrients are thus effective for the treatment of menstrual pain. Studies conducted on rats found that fennel is capable of inhibiting the contractions of the uterus, which can lead to a reduction in pain.
12. Ajwain Seeds
These tiny seeds of Ajowan have been known for their gastrointestinal benefits. But presence of thymol makes it strong anti-spasmodic. It can not only help relieve menstrual cramps but also stomach aches and intestinal pains. The carom seeds helps relax uterus and provides relief from painful menstruation. Indigestion is common during menstruation. They also aid in proper digestion. As home remedy for menstrual cramps or excessive menses, ajwain water with seeds soaked over night should be drank.
13. Himalayan Salt
Himalayan salt is mixture of several minerals. It has ability to provide relief from menstrual cramps. Hot water press with water containing Himalayan salt is also considered home remedy on muscles cramps. Read more about benefits of Himalayan salt.
Very similar to ginger, zedoary has been traditionally used in treatment of strains and spasms. Herbal tea containing zedoary is good way to cure abdominal and menstrual cramps.
This fragrant herb has amazing ability to calm nerves and reduce anxiety. Further it has galactagogic properties which promotes milk formation in mammary glands at the same time useful in stimulating menstrual flow. It thus helps sooth menstrual cramps. A preparation of lemon grass with pepper is often considered home remedy on menstrual troubles and nausea. Read more about lemongrass benefits.
Nutmeg oil is good remedy for menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome. It relaxes muscles and eases hormonal imbalance. It is natural painkiller. Rubbing nutmeg oil on abdomen and back provides relief.
Most problems in menstruation are associated with female hormone estrongen. Alfalfa contains phytoestrogens which mimic human hormone estrogen and help manage disorders associated with menstruation. This makes alfafa good for aiding premenstrual symptoms including menstrual cramps. Read more about benefits of alfalfa to body.
18. Rose petals
Rose petals or rose oil stimulates hormones in body. This is helpful for women suffering from menstrual problems. Rose oil can help relieve menstrual cramps and other disorders related to menstrual cycle.
19. Multani mitti
Ancient soldiers used fuller’s earth to treat swollen feet. Keeping feet in lukewarm water with fuller’s earth added to it, soothes inflamed feet. Fuller’s earth can be used as alternative to warm or cold compress. It can effectively relieve menstrual abdominal pain.
In ayurveda, Shatapushpa churna (anise seed powder) is considered effective remedy of menstrual disorder. Anise has phytoestrogen which help regulate menstruation in women. Consumption of herbal anise tea is recommended as home remedy for menstrual cramps.
21. Myrrh Essential Oil
Myrrh oil is traditionally considered antispasmodic and relieves premenstrual symptoms and abdominal cramps. In China, it is used for treating menstruation related disorders. Myrrh tea can be used as remedy for cramps.
22. Frankincense oil
Frankincense oil is considered good for uterine health. It regulates menstruation and regulates production of estrogen. Frankincense tea or tincture is generally used in treating abdominal cramps.
Fenugreek contains a compound known as Diosgenin that has estrogen like properties. This makes fenugreek good for reducing effects associated with menstruation including PMS, cramps, and other menopausal symptoms. It helps smoothen and regulate menstruation. This makes fenugreek useful for women of all ages. Read more about benefits of fenugreek.
24. Papaya Leaf
Papaya leaf has analgesic action. Papaya leaf juice is often used to relieve menstrual pain. Warm infusion made from papaya leaf flavored by tamarind and salt can reduce painful menstruation.
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Hot water extract of hibiscus flowers is used in China to treat irregular menstruation. In India and Bangladesh, decoction of hibiscus is used to regulate menstrual cycle. It reduces abdominal pain and cramps, preventing excessive bleeding during periods and other menstrual disorders.
Leaf extracts of herb Damiana is considered tonic for female reproductive system. With its ability to regulate female hormones, it boosts female reproductive system. It is helpful in wide range of reproductive disorders including infertility, irregular menstruation, premenstrual symptoms, excessive bleeding, menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms.
Passiflora is commonly used in Europe for treatment of menstrual disorders. Passiflora has ability to relieve pain and anxiety associated with menstruation. Passiflora tea is good way to relieve menstrual cramps.
28. Butternut squash
Low levels of magnesium are often associated with menstrual cramps. Butternut squash is excellent source of magnesium and provides relief from menstruation related discomforts.
29. Oregano oil
Oregano oil is another aromatic herb traditionally used in treating premenstrual symptoms and regulating menstrual cycles in women. It has pain relieving and calming effect on muscles in uterus.
In central America, vanilla is used to relieve morning sickness during pregnancy. This is attributed to presence of phytoestrogens which helps regulate hormones in body. Vanilla thus often provides relief of menstrual discomfort.
31. Poppy seeds
Poppy seed has pain reliving and antispasmodic properties. It is useful in treating muscle spasms, abdominal cramps and menstrual discomfort. Read more about benefits of poppy seeds.
Licorice root or mulethi is long used in Ayurvedic medicines. This herb offers good spply of phytoestrogens to body which aids hormone regulation in females. Licorice root is commonly used by lactating mothers as it stimulates milk production from breasts. Licorice powder along with honey can also be consumed during menstrual discomfort.
33. Sweet Basil seeds
One of the benefits of Basil leaves is its ability to regulate menstruation. Sweet basil seeds are also believed to boost female fertility and stimulate sexual drive. Consumption of sweet basil seeds or sabja is used as remedy over menstrual discomfort.
34. Coriander seeds
Decoction made from boiling coriander seeds in water, with bit of honey for taste is used as home remedy for menstrual cramps. It has ability to regulate menstruation. Read more about benefits of cilantro or coriander.
35. Burans flower
Juice of Burans flower found in Himalayas, is a refreshing beverage and often used as sports drink. In Ayurveda, flowers of burans tree are used in treating menstrual disorders.
36. Horse gram
Menstruation is associated with loss of minerals including iron. Horse gram replenishes body with supply of iron. Further it helps in regulating menstruation. Drinking horse gram water or horse gram soup is considered good during menstruation. Ayurveda recommends consumption of 1 tsp of horse gram powder for women daily in the morning.
37. Lotus root for women health
If you are women fighting with regular anemia, painful menstruation or heavy bleeding, drinking lotus root juice is good for you. Consumption of lotus root soup is good way of fighting menopausal symptoms. It helps regulate menstruation and keep reproductive system healthy.
38. Triphala churna
Triphala churna is one Ayurvedic supplement which has multiple benefits. One of the benefits it offers is improving health of male and female reproductive system. In women, it helps treat abnormalities associated with uterus, irregular menstruation, excessive bleeding and others. One teaspoon of triphala churna with luckwarm water can be consumed to treat discomfort associated with menstruation.
Asparagus is known to have positive impact on the reproductive system and sexual drive. It is further useful in treating menstruation related troubles. With its phytoestrogens, it helps relieve menopausal symptoms, pre-menstruation symptoms and menstrual discomfort.
40. Blackstrap molasses
Blackstrap molasses is rich in nutrients such as vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and selenium, which soothes the muscles of the uterus and prevent cramping. It also reduces blood clotting, and makes up for deficiencies caused by blood loss. Minerals like potassium, magnesium and manganese act as muscle relaxants as well. You can take two or three tablespoons of the blackstrap molasses with warm milk every day or add it while you are cooking foods such as chicken, beans, cookies, or breads.
Parsley, often used just as a decorative garnish in meals is an herb that is loaded with plenty of essential nutrients. It can therefore be used for treating a wide variety of health issue, including menstrual cramps. Parsley contains a compound known as apiol that has been found to be very effective in stimulating the menstruation as well as in providing relief from menstrual cramps. Parsley is also beneficial in regulating irregular menstrual cycles.
Studies suggest that bananas may be helpful in reducing cramps associated with menstruation. In addition to being rich in nutrients such as vitamin B6 that prevent cramping, bananas are also high in potassium that prevents bloating by helping to reduce water retention.
43. Sunflower seeds
Another important remedy that can help you with menstrual cramps is the inclusion of sunflower seeds to your regular diet. These wonderful seeds are packed with vitamin E and minerals like zinc and magnesium that play a key role in preventing cramping. Sunflower seeds are also a rich source of vitamin B6 or pyridoxine that has pain killing properties. It also improves your body’s ability to absorb zinc and magnesium. Since sunflower seeds are high in fat and calories, it is important to use the moderately in your diet.
Pineapple is another food that can provide relief from menstrual pain. It contains an enzyme known as bromelain that helps in relaxing muscles and hence can be helpful in soothing menstrual cramps. According to studies, low amounts of manganese in the body can lead to menstrual discomfort. Pineapple is one of the richest sources of manganese and hence its consumption can reduce the chances of menstrual pain and discomfort.
Guava is excellent fruit to relieve menstrual cramps and abdominal pain. Consuming the pulp of guava with milk and honey can help in easing stomach pain. Read more about benefits of guava.
46. Chamomile tea
Drinking chamomile tea is another effective way to ease your menstrual pain. According to a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Chemistry, this tea might possess pain relieving or analgesic properties. Chamomile tea increases the levels of an amino acid known as glycine in your body, which help to reduce the muscle contractions and relax the uterus, thus easing the pain.
Although walnuts are very high in fat, consuming them in moderation can be really beneficial to women who suffer from menstrual cramps. Walnuts have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that are known to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also a rich source of vitamin B6, and magnesium. A handful of walnuts every day is therefore a great way to fight off menstrual pain.
48. Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are yet another remedy that helps ward off menstrual pain. These seeds are high in nutrients such as vitamin B6, plant-based calcium, zinc and magnesium that are effective in reducing the pain associated with menstruation. Sesame seeds also contain certain fatty acids that are helpful in relaxing muscles, which in turn helps in providing relief from cramping further.
Spinach is an excellent green leafy vegetable that is not only a health food but also one of the most important foods that can help women suffering from painful periods. It is a storehouse of several nutrients, including vitamin E, vitamin B6, and magnesium, all of which have been proven to reduce menstrual cramps.
Kale is one of the best sources of plant-based calcium. Studies reveal that calcium has the ability to reduce menstrual cramps. It is believed that the ability of calcium to alleviate menstrual pain may be associated with its ability in maintaining normal muscle tone.
For some women menstrual cramps are mild and are just an uncomfortable feeling while for many others it can be severe that it interferes with their work and daily activities. Many women depend on over-the-counter medications for pain relief or birth control pills, which prevent ovulation and ease the intensity of the pain. Although they might be helpful in reducing the pain, they do not treat the underlying reasons of menstrual cramps and may even increase the risks of side effects. So next time you are having a hard time with menstrual cramps, try any of the above mentioned natural home remedies to get some relief.Image Credits: Flickr - Vanessa Bazzano