Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for period pain or menstrual cramps. It is often accompanied by heavy bleeding and/or irregular periods. The causes of menstrual cramps are varied but a typically due to a hormonal imbalance, where the production of ‘bad’ prostaglandins causes excessive uterine contractions. Hormonal imbalances can occur through bad diet and lifestyle or due to medical conditions such as fibroids and ovarian cysts to name a few. If you want to know how to get rid of menstrual cramps, then we have all you need to know. Our home remedies for menstrual cramps give you all the natural remedies, essential oils, and herbal teas to soothe the pain.
Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
1. Hot Water Compress
A 2012 study on 18 to 30 years old women experiencing menstrual cramps found that a hot compress at 104°F (40°C) was as effective as ibuprofen in relieving period pains. (1)
Put a towel drenched in hot water over your lower abdomen to get relief from menstrual pain.
Alternatively, you can use a bottle filled with hot water and place it on your lower abdomen to soothe cramps and pain.
2. Magnesium-rich diet
Magnesium is a powerful supplement for keeping hormones balanced.
It prevents excessive cortisol and insulin. It is involved in the manufacture of steroid hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.
Magnesium also plays a role in preventing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Because of magnesium’s role in keeping the hormones balanced, it is a great natural remedy for menstrual cramps.
3. Iron-Rich Diet
Iron is an essential nutrient that a body needs. Menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding results in loss of iron, which, in turn, makes you anemic.
To replenish this deficiency, you must include iron-rich foods such as spinach, carrot, beans, seafood, dried apricot, resins, broccoli, etc., in your diet.
You can also take iron supplements after seeking advice from the doctor.
4. Banana flower
Eating cooked banana flower with yogurt increases the progesterone and helps control the painful menstrual cramps.
It also helps maintain hemoglobin levels in the body preventing the anemia that often comes with heavy periods.
5. Mustard Seeds
Menstrual cramps are most commonly caused by high estrogen levels and a hormonal imbalance.
Mustard seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which can help to regulate your menstrual flow and restore the hormonal imbalance.
Take one tablespoon of mustard seed powder with water or milk every day, during your menstrual cycle. It is one of the best home remedies to control menstrual cramps.
Lignans, present in flaxseed, are compounds that have hormone balancing properties.
Studies have shown that they can help regulate estrogen levels during the period. (2)
It is this hormone balancing property that is thought to be the reason why flaxseed tea helps stop painful cramps.
Consume 1 tbsp of flaxseeds daily throughout the menstrual cycle. Alternatively, mix 1 tbsp of flaxseeds along with yogurt or salad and eat it.
Papaya is an excellent home remedy for irregular menstruation due to stress and menopause.
Unripe papaya contains the enzyme called ‘papain’ which suppresses progesterone, a hormone used to prepare the uterus for conception and maintain pregnancy. (3)
Papaya also helps contract muscle fibers in the uterus that induce periods.
Drink unripe papaya juice or eat chopped papaya for a few months.
8. Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds help balance the hormones and relieve heavy cramps.
Steep some coriander seeds in 1 cup of boiling water, and strain this mixture when it reduces to half. Add some honey or sugar if required and drink it to get relief from menstrual cramps.
9. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are another food source rich in omega-3. They also contain sesamin and sesamolin, which are thought to lower blood pressure and protect the liver. They are also a good source of magnesium.
Added together, sesame seeds should be made part of your diet to stop get rid of menstrual cramps.
Make a fine powder of 250-300 grams sesame seeds in a blender. Store it in a dry container.
Take one tablespoon of this powder and mix it with the hot water (an ounce). Have this twice a day during periods.
10. Carom Seeds
Thymol has local anesthetic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. But it also a very effective pain relief for menstruation pains.
In one study, three groups of women with menstrual cramps were given thyme oil, ibuprofen, and a placebo. The group who took thymol all reported the most pain relief versus the other groups. (4)
Roast some carom seeds and have them with milk when you experience intolerable pain.
- Alternatively, ingest carom seeds with boiled water.
- If oil of carom seeds is available, then apply it on thighs and legs to get relief from menstrual cramps.
11. Carrot juice
Carrots contain fibers that absorb excess estrogen and flush it out of your body. It plays a vital role in balancing hormones in both genders.
Carrot fiber also prevents estrogen from being reabsorbed in the intestine. This is important because too much estrogen (whether produced by the body, the diet or from exposure to xenoestrogens in the environment) can lead to all kinds of hormonal disruptions.
These include menstrual cramps, mood disorders, acne, and infertility (5).
Drink carrot juice during your menstruation days. You can also eat raw carrot. This facilitates the regulation of blood flow during periods.
12. Blackstrap Molasses
Those who experience heavy periods with menstrual cramps can often find relief with blackstrap molasses.
There has been direct no research into blackstrap molasses effects on menstrual cramps, but there is a huge amount of anecdotal evidence that it works.
The reason why these molasses stop cramps and heavy bleeding is most likely linked to their high magnesium and iron content, both essential minerals to reduce menstrual bleeding.
It is thought that the molasses help in the formation of red blood cells and regulate the amount of blood loss during the menstrual cycle, reducing the blood clot and pain.
Add one to two tbsp of blackstrap molasses to a cup of warm milk and drink it when menstrual cramps begin.
13. Thyme Essential Oil
Given its proven effect at relieving menstrual cramps, it makes an excellent massage oil for heavy cramps.
14. Lemon Grass Essential oil
The oil is also used to improve digestion, nausea and menstruation problems. Menses problems such as headaches, muscle cramps, and spasms are all reported to be improved using lemongrass essential oil in aromatherapy. (6)
Alternatively, you can drink the juice of lemongrass to treat your cramps.
15. Lavender Essential Oil
Studies prove the effects of lavender oil in significantly reducing menstrual cramps (7). It is believed that lavender works by reducing uterine contractions.
Since lavender oil is highly effective in relieving stress and promoting calm, it is effective in treating menstrual cramps.
Here is what you can do with lavender oil for menstrual cramps:
- Mix lavender oil with a carrier oil (olive or coconut) and apply it on the painful area and gently massage.
- Run a hot bath and sprinkle a few drops of lavender to your bath and soak in it. You will feel relaxed when you come out of your bath.
- Add a few drops of lavender and thyme oil to hot compress and apply it to your muscles.
16. Evening Primrose Essential oil
Evening primrose oil is made from the evening primrose plant, a wildflower found across North America, Europe, and Asia.
Many women with PMS have unusually low levels of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) in their systems.
GLA subdues the production of inflammatory ‘bad’ prostaglandins released during menstruation, known for causing cramps. Women who take GLA supplements show less symptoms.
Evening primrose oil is packed full of GLA and this is why it can help ease the pain of period cramps.
Herbal Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
Asafoetida is a popular remedy to stop irregular periods, cramps and bleeding. It contains chemical compounds that can treat a hormonal disorder.
Take a small amount of powdered asafoetida and fry it in the clarified butter. Add it to the goat’s milk with some honey. The recommended dose of asafoetida is 200 to 500 mg a day.
18. Aloe Vera
The ovaries are heavily involved in hormone production for women producing a variety of hormones for reproduction and development.
Research shows that aloe vera gel can stimulate the ovaries to develop mature eggs.
Aloe Vera also has favorable effects on estrogen synthesis and can increase estrogen levels. Aloe vera also helps balance hormones and promote a regular menstrual cycle with less bleeding and fewer cramps. (8)
Squeeze out fresh pulp from three aloe leaves and boil it till the color of gel turns brown. After it cools down, take one tsp with a cup of water. Have it early in the morning on an empty stomach.
Note: Don’t consume it during your menstruation.
The fruit of the chaste tree, chaste berry maintains the body’s natural level of estrogen and progesterone. It also maintains ovulation and helps with fertility.
Chaste berry is used for treating premenstrual syndrome and is known to stimulate the pituitary gland for the production of a hormone which makes the ovaries release progesterone.
Chaste berry prevents prolactin from being released and increases progesterone, maintaining the proper balance between estrogen and progesterone required for a healthy menstrual cycle.
You can take this herb in the tincture form. Or take 1-2 teaspoons of dried berries, and boil them in 1 cup of water. Steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink this decoction twice or thrice a day.
20. Parsley Juice
Parsley is one of the best herbal remedies for menstrual cramps. It is rich in vitamin C which helps your body absorb and replace the iron lost during heavy bleeding.
Parsley is rich in antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation of the uterine tissues.
Prepare a glass of fresh parsley juice and drink it during the first 3 days of menstruation, after every meal.
Alternatively, put cucumber, carrot, beetroot, and parsley in a blender and blend them to extract the juice. This must be taken regularly during menses to regulate and ease the blood flow.
22. Indian Lilac (Neem) Leaves
However, neem tea is effective in regulating your period, reducing flow and soothing cramps as it contains phytoestrogens which help balance your hormones.
Crush 8-10 leaves of Indian lilac and form a paste. Take it along with warm water or a cup of buttermilk. It is a very effective herbal remedy for treating cramps.
Spikenard is thought to cleanse purifies the uterus and ovaries. The ovaries are responsible for the production of estrogen and progesterone. Changes in these hormones trigger the uterine lining to begin shedding during a period.
Spikenard helps maintain these processes, keeping ovarian hormone secretion in balance, and the period regular and light.
The juice or oil extracted from spikenard acts as a muscle relaxant and helps treat menstrual pain effectively.
24. Cramp Bark and Black Haw
They are probably the best herbal uterine antispasmodics. On consumption, these herbs will relax internal muscles such as the uterus, airways, and intestines.
Cramp bark and Black haw have a direct effect on the uterus. The herbs increase circulation to the uterus, which helps in allowing for toxin removal. This not only aids in healing and general uterine health but also relieves uterine cramps.
Make use of juice or extract of this herb. It acts as an excellent treatment for severe menstrual cramps.
25. Wild Yam
The herb is also used to treat dysfunctioning ovaries or ovarian cysts.
Wild yam is beneficial for the reproductive system because it helps balance hormones during menses. It is also used in natural progesterone creams.
26. Jamaican Dogwood
27. White Willow Bark
Also, the salicin content in white willow bark resists pain very effectually.
Willow bark helps reduce inflammation, which helps soothes not only the cramps but PMS symptoms.
To use willow bark to treat cramps, the bark is shredded. The bark is then squashed into pills or boiled to prepare oil or tea. For effective results, consume it on a regular basis for a week or more before your periods begin.
28. Ginger Tea
Ginger’s effects on menstrual cramps have been researched extensively.
Ginger has a strong effect on the production of prostaglandin. In particular, it reduces the ‘bad’ prostaglandin, PGE2, which is known to cause excessive menstrual blood and menstrual cramps. (10)
To prepare ginger tea, steep ½ tbsp of crushed ginger in a cup of boiling water and strain it.
Sip this tea 2-3 times a day. You can also add cinnamon powder, lemon juice and honey to the tea. This is the best tea for menstrual cramps.
29. Thyme Tea
However, the herb is also antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory. By reducing the inflammation and tension in your uterus, the tea helps promote blood clotting and eases the symptoms of heavy bleeding.
Steep some thyme leaves in water for 5 minutes. Strain this mixture and then drink it after every half hour. This is a very effective remedy for menstrual cramps.
- Alternatively, crush some thyme leaves and extract the juice. Mix this juice in one cup of water and sip it once daily.
30. Cinnamon Tea
The warming effect of cinnamon reduces menstrual cramps, helps regulate periods and reduces bleeding.
Research has shown that cinnamon improves menstrual cyclicity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. (11)
Steep some cinnamon sticks in water for 5-10 minutes. Strain this mixture. Allow it to cool and add honey. Drink this tea throughout your periods or just before its onset.
- Alternatively, you can sprinkle some cinnamon powder on your spring rolls, apple pie, etc.
31. Raspberry Leaf Tea
Menstruation is driven by the balance between progesterone and estrogen, in the body.
Red raspberry leaf cleanses the blood and body of any excess of these hormones, thereby minimizing the hormonal imbalance and aiding regular menstruation.
Leaves of red raspberry contain tannins and fragarine, which help decrease the abdominal pain and relax the uterine muscle. The tea also helps with nausea.
- Take a bunch of raspberry leaves, dry them completely and make a fine powder.
- Add one teaspoon of the powder to hot water (one cup).
- Let the mixture rest for 10-15 minutes, then strain and drink it.
32. Mint Tea
Peppermint tea will help with the pain associated with contractions and spasms of your uterine muscles. It is anti-spasmodic.
A combo of one teaspoon each of honey and dried mint powder is an excellent treatment for irregular menstrual periods.
Steep some peppermint or wintergreen leaves in later for 10-15 minutes and strain this mixture. Let it cool and then sip it throughout the day.
- Alternatively, you can even try chewing gum and candies containing peppermint.
33. Black Cohosh Tea
This plant is a good source of estrogen. The herb increases the hormones in certain parts of the body. It is a great tea for menstrual cramps.
Black cohosh behaves like estrogen in our brain, bone, and vagina.
Black cohosh is composed of glycosides and isoferulic acids that help in the regulation of hormones and can naturally cure the symptoms of menstrual cramps.
Extract some juice from the root of this herb and drink it.
Note: Do not consume it if you wish to get pregnant.
34. Dong Quai Tea
Dong Quai is a fragrant plant that is found at high altitudes in the mountains of China, Korea, and Japan.
The root of the plant has been used for centuries to treat numerous problems such as menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms, infertility, ulcers, joint pain, etc. (12).
It helps balance estrogen and progesterone levels that are too high or too low. Dong quai has anti-inflammatory and sedative qualities.
A regular consumption of this herb can balance your hormones and reduce the pain heavy periods.
The juice or soup of this herb increases the blood circulation in the body and relieves muscle spasm. However, it is best taken as a tea for menstrual cramps.
Note – Women with heavy bleeding should not use this herb.
35. Motherwort Tea
Volatile oils and alkaloids in motherwort can help treat inconsistent and painful periods in women.
Prepare herbal concoction from its leaves or take its tincture to obtain its health benefits.
It is a very effective tea for menstrual cramps, but also good for uterine muscle spasms, stress, heart palpitations and nervousness related to pelvic pain.
This herb helps in the same way as Dong Quai, relaxing muscle pain and spasms in the abdomen.
36. Chamomile Tea
A study published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has shown that drinking chamomile tea results in higher levels of a compound called glycine in the blood.
Glycine relieves muscle spasms and is a nerve relaxant. The research argued that high glycine levels relax the uterus, relieve menstrual cramps and stem heavy bleeding.
Drink chamomile tea to ease pain.
Add two tbsp of dried chamomile flowers to water and boil. This solution must be taken 1 week before you are expecting your periods, as it relieves pelvic muscles and reduces menstrual cramps.
37. Fennel Seed Tea
An emmenagogue a substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow. Fennel is a very efficient emmenagogue which makes it an excellent home remedy to get rid of menstrual cramps.
Its antispasmodic properties relieve the cramping associated with premenstrual syndrome.
Chew some raw fennel seeds daily as and when required. They also act as a mouth freshener, aids in digestion and eliminate the symptoms of menstrual cramps.
Another option is to steep some fennel seeds in water to make a tea. Strain this mixture and add some honey to it. Drink this herbal tea when your periods are about to start.
- It is recommended to drink plenty of water daily to ease pain.
- Eat fruits and green vegetables having more water content like cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, berries, celery, etc.
- Practice cardiovascular exercises and aerobics daily. It increases the flow of endorphins, which is a natural painkiller. Practice restorative poses instead of strenuous physical activities during periods.
- Take hot water shower to relax your muscles, lower back and abdomen.
- If you find cold pack more effective, place some ice cubes in zip lock bag and cover in a towel. Place this over your abdomen.
- Consume fish or fish oil to get relief from hormonal imbalance.
- Take 7-8 hours of sound sleep.
- Avoid intake of red meat, vegetable fat, sugar, processed white flour and salt.
- Do not stay stressed.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes and belts during periods.
- Refrain from dairy based products.
- Reduce the intake of salt.