Get Off The Advil and Try These Natural Period Cramp Remedies

If you’re a woman, chances are you have experienced some degree of cramping during your period, at some point in your life. Cramps can range from the mildly annoying to the completely debilitating. Most women have come to accept this pain as a part of their regular monthly physiology. I believe this is a sad acceptance and that we should strive to lead a life which is free of the everyday aches, pains and annoyances we have come to consider to be normal.

Period cramps are a message from your body as an early warning sign that something is not quite right. One of the beautiful parts of being a woman is having a period, every month, which is reflective of the health of the rest of our body. If we address imbalances in our cycles when they are merely monthly annoyances, we can prevent more serious pathology in the future.

Have you ever been stuck in the cycle of taking more and more Advil for your period cramps with very little effect? There is a reason why Advil doesn’t really work that well. It is an anti inflammatory medication, whereas period cramps are muscle spasms and contractions of the uterus. If you are going to take pharmaceutical medications, you are better off taking a muscle relaxant. But before you go running to the drugstore, there are many natural muscle relaxants and uterine tonics which work wonderfully.

The cause of cramps is different for every woman. The root cause of the problem can usually be addressed with herbal therapy or nutritional assessment and adjustment. This is the deeper work to permanently correct the problem. There are, however, a few things that can be done, at home, to treat the cramps as a symptom.

The 3 Free Therapies – Sleep, Exercise and Nutrition.

Adequate sleep is important for the function of any system in the body. When menstruating, it’s working overtime to detoxify and shed, so it is important to make sure enough sleep is achieved.

Exercise can be tremendously helpful in relieving cramps. Once the initial fatigue and sluggishness pass, our bodies flood with endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.

Eating nutritiously is especially important during menstruation, despite any food cravings that may come up. Avoid processed sugar, dairy products and alcohol, if you experience pain during your period.

Mugwort Tea

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) can be effective in treating menstrual cramps. It is an emmenagogue (which helps stimulate smooth menstrual flow) and a nervine tonic (which helps to normalize and calm the nervous system). It should be taken, as needed, during times of cramping.

Add 1 teaspoon of dried herb to 1 cup of boiling water and steep for 15 minutes, with a lid.

I encourage women to create a ritual of preparing and drinking the tea. Prepare a hot water bottle for the lower abdomen and curl up with some cozy blankets. Make the tea in a french press coffee maker or simply a mason jar, with a lid. Spend the 15 minute steeping time watching the mugwort leaves infuse. Breathe deeply and inhale the scent of the herb. The volatile oils, which are activated by heat, are one the most medicinally potent part of the plant. They evaporate quickly and easily when heated, so deeply breathe them in! When fully infused, sip your tea and focus on relaxing your whole body.

Ginger Decoction

Fresh ginger root is a wonderful circulatory stimulant which provides much needed warmth, especially in the colder months. It has a specific attraction to the lower belly, which makes it perfect for period cramps.

To make the decoction, cut a large piece of ginger root into thin slices. Put into two cups of filtered water, in a small pot. Boil on med high for 20 minutes. Strain the pieces of ginger and enjoy.

**Note: if your periods are excessively heavy, it is not recommended that you take ginger. There are other herbs which would be more appropriate**



Michelle Kapler
Michelle Kapler
When I’m not working, you can find me knitting socks, writing for my blog, eating oysters that my husband has lovingly shucked, creating and co-creating meals for loved ones or hanging out with my Herbal Medicine Textbooks and and a very specifically pulled espresso.
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Showing 2 comments
  • Jessica valois

    I heard mugwort is poisonous to the liver, are you sure you are able to invest it?

    • Michelle Kapler

      Hi Jessica,

      Great question. As with almost anything, moderation is the key. In VERY LARGE amounts, yes – mugwort can be toxic to the liver, but you would have to consume A LOT of it. Herbalists in many traditions (including TCM and Western Medical Herbalism) have been using mugwort for generations with great success. Taking a teaspoon of it, steeped in hot water is safe. Of course, if you have any concerns you should always consult with a qualified practitioner before beginning any type of therapy.
      Thanks again for your question – if you have any others, please feel free to drop me a line –

      Have a great day!

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