What natural remedies can you use for period pain?

There are lots of natural remedies for period pain (dysmenorrhea) caused by intense menstrual cramps.  However, it is important to understand why these happen in the first place. Endometriosis, fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease can cause pain during a period.

Also there is an emotional connection with our psyche and our womb. High levels of stress and anxiety can also trigger cramping and spasms during a period.

Why do we get period pain?

There are hormone like chemicals called prostaglandins which stimulate the uterus to contract to shed the lining of the uterus (endometrium). The shedding of the endometrium is the bleeding part of the period!  However, high levels of prostaglandins can cause cramping and pain during your period.

These prostaglandins are derived from arachidonic acid which is an omega 6 fatty acid. A lot of our diets are high in omega 6 and low in omega 3 which is anti-inflammatory and may reduce prostaglandin levels for an easier period. This is one of the reasons why we can ease period pain with diet!

Nutritional Support for Period Pain

  • Omega 3 fatty acids- these are found in oily fish, grass fed meat such as lamb, seaweed and nuts and seeds and are the anti-inflammatory heroes for period pain! As well as increasing omega 3- also try to lower omega 6 which is found in vegetable oils such as sunflower seed or rapeseed (canola).
  • Magnesium- this great mineral can also lower prostaglandins and relax the muscles to ease cramps. You can supplement or ensure you are eating lots of dark, green leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale which are also high in magnesium!
  • Ginger-adding this warming spice to your food or having a tea has also been found to relieve period pain.
  • Calcium- studies have shown calcium to be very successful at reducing period pain. This is high in nuts, oats, spinach, beans and dairy products.

Herbal Remedies for Period Pain

Even if we eat the best diet, we are human so can still get period pain! Therefore, its great to have some herbs on hand too to help you if you if a hot water bottle is not going to cut it! My favourite herbs are:

  • Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa)
    • Wild yam is anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. This means it reduces pain and inflammation associated with uterus and ovarian cramping. It relaxes the central nervous system and also may help with hormonal imbalances through promoting liver detoxification.
  • Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
    • I love Motherwort because relieves feelings of anxiety and nervousness. This can often cause tension and pain in the body. The botanical name Leonurus cardiaca means heart of a lion so it provides strength and courage! However, Motherwort also benefits and promotes blood flow to the uterus. This makes it the perfect herbal ally for period pain!
  • Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
    • Black cohosh is a well-known herb that relieves symptoms of the menopause. However, it also is used to treat period pain. It has pain killing actions and eases cramping of the uterus. It is effective for fibroids and also helps bring on periods if they are delayed.
  • Crampbark (Viburnum opulus)
    • The clue is in the name! This herb can be applied topically and also taken internally to relieve menstrual cramps. It relaxes the tissues and blood vessels to calm down spasms.
  • Jamaican Dogwood (Piscidia erythrina)
    • This is a powerful herb that should only be used in small amounts as directed by a herbalist.  However, it does have a profound effect on relieving uterine cramps and reducing pain quickly!

Want to know more….

If you want to learn more about managing your menstrual cycle then I have just the solution! I teamed up with the Empowerment Coach Ellen Million to share coaching and nutrition tips for a balanced body and mind during your period cycle in this webinar all about managing your moon cycle! You can buy it to watch today today here. It also comes with a free PDF summarising all the key points.

Natural remedies for Period