Period pain and cramping is common, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. You may be able to find some natural relief in a soothing herbal tea. Let’s run through some of the best tisanes and blends for Shark Week relief.
What causes menstrual cramps, anyway?
First, a quick refresher on what’s going on behind the scenes when you get your period. Each month, the uterus prepares the endometrium, which is where a fertilized egg would implant. But if you don’t get pregnant, the uterus contracts to slough off the endometrium – which you may feel as menstrual cramps.
To trigger those contractions, the endometrium lining releases hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins. If you’re suffering from problem periods, chances are your body is producing too many of these prostaglandins, or you happen to be particularly sensitive to them.
Too many prostaglandins and high sensitivity to them mean you may experience menstrual symptoms like headaches, nausea and constipation in addition to painful cramps.
Herbal teas for menstrual cramps
Cinnamon has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for menstrual cramps, and science is beginning to bear out some of its benefits. In addition to a nutritious boost of vitamins, this spice contains the compounds cinnamaldehyde, which has an antispasmodic effect, and eugenol, which reduces the production of prostaglandins.
Also, researchers have shown that cinnamon can provide relief for pain and menstrual bleeding.
Ginger has been used as an emmenagogue – meaning it supports menstrual flow and promotes uterine blood circulation. Also, ginger has an effect of inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins: that means it fights period pain at the source.
Raspberry leaf tea
Raspberry leaf tea is a popular brew among women trying to conceive thanks to its reputation as a fertility booster. But like ginger, raspberry leaf also has been used to regulate menstrual flow and relieve menstrual cramps.
Red clover tea
Clover for luck, anyone? The red clover has been enjoyed for its antispasmodic effects, helping to ease menstrual cramps.
Rose tea provides a great boost of vitamin C, but that’s not all. It has been used in folk medicine for period pains all over the world.
Using teas for menstrual cramps safely
Herbal teas can be nutritious, therapeutic, and a great way to relax when it feels like your uterus is declaring war. But there’s one important thing to remember about herbal medicines: they’re still medicines. Herbs might be all-natural, but they can still have powerful effects on the body.
They can sometimes interact with other medicines that you take. If you’re taking other medicines, or you have another underlying health condition, speak to your doctor or pharmacist before you start using herbal teas for menstrual cramps. That way, you can be sure you’re getting the right dose and combination.