Unpleasant twinge or full-blown fetal position - for many women that certain time of the month can spell a cramping disaster. Period cramps can vary in severity from person to person and make our normal daily routines difficult to get on with. While we may think we should just grit our teeth and get on with it, instead we can try a range of homebrew remedies that could help ease the discomfort. Along with hot water bottles, reruns of Gilmore Girls, and a blanket on the sofa, you can add these teas for cramps to your arsenal too. There’s another kind of cramp that also shows up – muscle cramps! Whether it’s a post-exercise cramp or just your body crying out, muscle cramps can be a freeze state that affects any part of your body.
Herbal teas can make an amazing difference when it comes to helping reduce pain and inflammation, encouraging hydration and rest, and cutting out other nasty side effects like nausea, an upset stomach, headache and all the other symptoms that show up to your period party. The next time your cycle is on the horizon, stock your cupboard with these teas and get ready for an easy breezy period.
That throbbing aching feeling beneath your belly is probably a menstrual cramp. They can show up in the run-up to your period whether that’s days or weeks. They are also a common source of discomfort during your period too. Here’s what causes your menstrual cramps:
- Contractions in the uterus or womb
- Fibroids in the uterus
Muscle cramps may not be linked to your period but they too can be incredibly uncomfortable. These sudden involuntary spasms of pain are also contractions in the muscle and they can occur in your legs, thighs, abdomen, arms, feet, and anywhere else.
Here’s what can cause your muscle cramps:
- Muscle injuries
- Nerve compression
- Mineral depletion
- Low blood supply
How Do I Know the Difference?
Whether dealing with muscle or menstrual cramps, neither is a fun business. You can usually tell if you are struggling with muscle cramps as the following symptoms may show up:
- Sudden sharp pain
- Hard lump of tissue beneath the skin
Usually, muscle cramps are fleeting but if they are associated with some of the following signs or proving to be a constant battle, you may want to seek medical advice from your healthcare provider:
- Severe discomfort
- Swelling or redness in the area
- Muscle weakness
- Chronic pain
- Shows up randomly seemingly without a trigger
Common Menstrual Cramp Symptoms
The side effects of menstrual cramps can extend beyond the womb and wreak havoc on your system for a few days. For every person who menstruates it can be different and your own cycle may change over the years with the cramps lessening or worsening as you grow. Here are some of the common symptoms that are also associated with menstrual cramps:
- Aching pain in the lower stomach
- Pain or discomfort in the lower back and thighs
- Pressure in the belly
- Upset stomach
- Nausea and vomiting
While many may just shrug off these aches and pains as part of their natural cycle it is worth remembering that severe pain should always be checked out as there may be a risk of endometritis, fibroids, a pelvic inflammatory disorder, or other conditions that can be helped with proper treatment.
9 Best Teas for Menstrual Cramps
For those who want a natural solution to help them cope with the discomfort around their menstrual cramps, these teas can provide just the trick. Tea is forever a soothing remedy. Warm and meditative, a cup of tea is a hug in a mug. Not only can these teas soothe the soul and pull you out of a funk but they are also full of direct healing properties that can help alleviate symptoms and side effects connected to menstrual cramps and muscle cramps too. Take a look at these naturally pain-relieving teas and home remedies for cutting out the cramps and period symptoms.
Sweetly spiced, ginger tea is known for helping fight off nausea which is why it's such a popular tea with mothers to be. But this rugged little golden root is also amazing at helping keep cramps at bay. Full of anti-inflammatory properties, ginger tea can help ease the pain as it gets to work reducing swelling in the body. It also cuts the production of prostaglandins which can help ease symptoms of PMS helping to regulate headaches, cramps, and even mood swings. Not to mention, ginger tea is also super warm and soothing making it the ideal brew for curling up in a chair.
Catechins, antioxidants, minerals, and all that your body needs to thrive can be found in the gentle grassy pleasures of a cup of green tea. This is said to be one of the healthiest drinks out there so it comes as no surprise to know that this brew brings a healing hand to period pain too. Not only can green tea help by reducing cramps and bloat, but it also improves blood flow and reduces inflammation too. As this brew also boosts your hydration levels this can have a positive impact on pain relief too.
Calming chamomile tea is the only sleep remedy you need and this sweet floral brew is also a stress buster. Chamomile is an excellent remedy for those struggling with period pain and PMS. This tea is rich in compounds that can kick pain and bloating to the touchline and bring relief and relaxation. As part of a clinical study, these delicate and dreamy blossoms helped participants experience less pain and anxiety in the week leading up to their period and during the first few days of their cycle. As it's also a gentle sleep aid it can help you get some good shuteye during this time of the month too.
Pale and refreshing, peppermint tea is the perfect pick me up for those who are struggling with painful cramps and stomach upsets caused by debilitating periods. As peppermint tea is a super soother when it comes to muscles, it can instantly help your body to release tension and can reduce the feeling of pain caused by contractions. Peppermint tea also helps reduce bloating along with diarrhea and headaches, all of which are common side effects of painful periods.
Sweet cinnamon is so much more than a Christmas spice. This fragrant powder or bark pulled from the cinnamon tree is known for its natural sweetness, its soothing scent, and also its rich healing properties. Cinnamon is full of antioxidants to keep you fighting fit but it also has a positive effect on cramps and pain too. Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory warrior and also an anti-nausea remedy too. In clinical tests, those who took 1.5 grams of cinnamon in the early days of menstruation reported less pain than those who were given the placebo.
The fragrant little fenugreek seeds are full of potential when it comes to effectively dealing with painful periods. Studies have shown that this warming wild tea can help as the seeds contain something called phytoestrogens which are known for balancing estrogen and can help balance hormones too. This helps reduce the severity of painful periods (also known as dysmenorrhea) and can get you back on your feet.
Cramp Bark Tea
The hint is in the title of this tea – yep, cramp bark has a ton of healing benefits but helping reduce period pain is part of what it does best. This tea is believed to have an antispasmodic effect on the uterus which can help your whole lower abdomen to relax and reduce the pain and side effects most commonly associated with PMS. Of all the botanicals to love for bringing you back from the brink of discomfort, cramp bark tea is definitely up there.
Float away as light as a feather as you sit down with a steaming cup of dandelion root tea. Once considered a wild weed and now known better as a beloved bright healing plant, the dandelion lends a hand in helping balance out your hormones. When our hormones are better balanced this reduces the chance of someone suffering from cramps. Along with bringing balance to estrogen and progesterone, dandelion root can also help your body to flush out unwanted toxins as its a diuretic which in turn can lead to better balance throughout.
Raspberry Leaf Tea
From the red raspberry plant, this ancient leaf has long been a healing remedy in traditional medicine especially when it comes to women’s issues. Bright and bold and with a tartness that floods the palate, this full sweet tea is rich in anti-inflammatory properties and can lend a hand when it comes to reducing the cramps that plague people during a certain time of the month. This herbal tea can not only reduce muscle spasms that contribute to cramping but is also believed to be able to strengthen the womb and can even help reduce excessive bleeding.
How To Ease Menstrual Cramps
Pain management is an essential part of helping to find a way through the thorny maze that can be menstrual cramps and painful periods. While these teas should certainly be part of your PMS relief plan there are other complementary choices you can make to help ease the pain. Take a look at some of these tips for helping reduce period pain and PMS symptoms.
- Use a heat compress or hot water bottle on your lower back and abdomen
- Do gentle light exercise like yoga and walking
- Skip the caffeine, the alcohol, and the heavy fried foods
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Have a gentle massage
- Get enough sleep
- Reduce your stress intake
- Take over the counter painkillers like ibuprofen
Period pain doesn’t have to be a part of your life and something you should grin and bear. While discomfort is natural, severe pain could be the sign that something is out of balance. These teas can help provide all-natural and gentle healing relief, but if you are concerned or suffering terribly then be sure to check in with your doctor.
**Medical Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informative purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Those who have any health-related queries should be sure to reach out to a medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.