Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrheal, can be quite frustrating to the point that you cannot function as you would like. They feel like throbbing pains in the lower abdomen, which come about during your menstrual periods.
Unfortunately, these pains can be so severe that you cannot work for a few days each month. And that would take away a lot of time in which you could be productive. Note that sometimes, the cramps owe to underlying conditions such as endometriosis. If the pain feels like it is too much, you should always seek medical advice.
In this article, we will focus on whether taking some teas can help you during this time. Taking tea falls under natural ways to deal with menstrual cramps. Other options include using hot water bottles, doing yoga, changing your diet, and exercising.
Best teas you can drink to relieve menstrual cramps
Among the many ways in which you can ease your menstrual cramps is taking tea. Have you ever gotten to a point where you bend over owing to the pain coursing through your body? What if someone told you that taking tea can help ease this pain?
When we talk about taking tea for cramps, it is not in reference to real teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant. But instead, you should try herbal teas as these have the most positive effects regarding cramp reduction. Here are some ideas on the same:
1. Ginger Tea
This tea is not only great for its flavor, but it also works in reducing inflammation. That makes it an excellent choice for anyone with harsh cramps as this tea can ease such pain. It comes from the root of the ginger plant. The good thing is that you can get this root from many places. Plus, there are powder options on the same if you fail to get the real thing.
Preparing ginger tea is quite an easy task. All you need is two pieces of the root for every cup of water. Bring the water to a boil and add the pieces of the root, leaving the water to boil for a few more minutes.
Leave the tea to simmer for an hour before straining the drink and taking the tea. If you would like to have ginger-flavored tea, there are also options on the same in the market.
Can ginger really work in easing your cramps? The answer is yes, and there are studies to back this claim. In one such study, the researchers compared the efficacy of ginger to that of an NSAID. Guess which option won? – The ginger! That should prove how effective it is.
Taking the tea two to three times a day should offer you relief. Given that cramps also come accompanied by bloating, you will be happy to know that ginger can also help with this. You are killing two birds with one stone!
2. Raspberry Leaf Tea
Have you ever had this kind of tea? It comes from the raspberry leaf, as the name implies. As is the case with ginger, this plant is readily available in raw, pill, and supplement form.
Going to your local market would be an easy way to find it when raw and use it as tea. This tea is rich in fragrine, which works on toning the uterus. When this happens, it relaxes such that you end up with fewer contractions. You can then enjoy a smooth blood flow that is devoid of pain.
Also, this tea has an abundance of assimilated calcium, which regulates the hormones in charge of PMS. You can thus suffer less anxiety and cramping if you take this tea before your period.
Preparation follows the use of raspberry leaves in hot water before simmering them for five minutes. You can use sweeteners or other additives if you would like.
Is there any study that can back this claim? Yes! One such study showed that the tea not only reduced menstrual pain, but it also reduced excessive bleeding.
3. Chamomile Tea
If you have ever had trouble sleeping, you are likely to have tried this soothing tea. Other than putting people to sleep, it is also rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic effects. It can thus relax your uterine muscles such that they do not contract so forcefully. The more you take this tea, the fewer cramps you will experience.
Making this tea requires that you have a cup of water for every two teaspoons of chamomile tea. You can as well use tea bags or any other source available to you. Leave the tea to steep for about three minutes, or as per the brand’s instructions.
Some people like adding things like honey and lemon to enhance the taste. You can do this, too. Note, however, that some additives can make the cramps worse, and you should use them with caution.
Many people use chamomile as their sleepy time tea as it has strong sedative effects. These effects also work in favor of reducing cramps. And the lack of caffeine allows you to drink as many cups of this tea as you would like – without interfering with your sleep schedule.
Can you rely on this tea, and is there any study that shows as much? Well, a study took place involving 14 participants who drank this tea each day for two weeks of the study.
At the end of the period, urine samples from the participants showed high amounts of glycine. This chemical works to relax the nerves and reduce muscle spasms, such as those characteristic of menstrual periods. You can thus see how this tea would be helpful.
4. Peppermint Tea
Some people use peppermint oil on their bodies when they are in pain. And this helps a great deal. You can also ingest this plant in the form of tea as you work towards reducing menstrual cramps. How does this work? – It all comes down to the menthol in the tea. This compound is abundant in anti-spasmodic effects such that the constriction of muscles is not as forceful. You end up feeling less pain as a result.
For you to make this tea, you will need fresh leaves from the peppermint plant. You can also work with dried leaves as they will be just as effective. Bring the leaves to boil in a cup of water. If you want the best effect, take the tea hot, instead of allowing it to cool.
A study conducted in Iran showed that this herb was as effective as taking an NSAID, specifically mefenamic acid. They concluded that menthol played a considerable part in this outcome.
5. Green Tea
While most teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant cannot help much with cramps, this variation can. It undergoes less oxidization than black tea, but more than that of white tea.
If you look at most studies involving tea’s beneficial effects, they point to the consumption of green tea – even when it comes to warding off some types of cancer. So, if not for the reduction of menstrual cramps, you would still drink this tea for some other reason.
Green tea has a natural diuretic effect on the body. That is why you may find yourself peeing more often after having this drink. This effect reduces water retention and also works in relieving some PMS symptoms. These include bloating and cramping.
Did you know that the uterus relies on a compound known as prolactin to shed its inner lining? Well, many studies point to the same, as this paves the way for cutting off some blood vessels from oxygen. As this happens (which it should), the pain can prove to be unbearable to some people.
The good news is that green tea can alleviate some of this discomfort. How? Green tea is rich in catechins, which not only increase blood flow, but they can also reduce the associated cramp discomfort.
Also, it contains l-theanine, an amino acid known to have a calming effect. It relaxes blood vessels on the uterine walls such that they do not contract as much. As a result of these effects, your body ends up having more oxygen in circulation.
You will also love that this calming effect makes it easier for you to focus on other things. You can even have an easier time staying physically active in these usually uncomfortable days.
The process used in making green tea comes down to the brand. In most cases, it is as simple as steeping a tea bag in boiling water.
6. Fennel Tea
This tea comes from the seeds of the fennel plant and has been in use for many decades. Traditional societies relied on it to keep digestive problems such as bloating at bay. You will notice that some of these issues arise during menstruation. Well, fennel tea can reduce the inflammation that comes from PMS, as well as the associated pain.
All you need to do is to soak some fennel seeds in a glass of water for a few hours. You can also allow them to remain in the water overnight for the most effect. If you like, you can also chew the seeds as they are, as this will also have a positive impact on your cramping.
Studies have shown as much. One such survey included 50 women who suffered severe menstrual cramps. Some of them consumed fennel tea during this study period. The results showed that 52% of those taking the tea experienced some alleviation. That was in comparison to the control group. That should count for something.
7. Cramp Bark Tea
The name itself can have you thinking that this tea has got your back when it comes to cramps, get it? Well, this tea comes from the cramp bark plant, which is native to some parts of North America, Scotland, and England. For a long time, people relied on this tea to treat swollen glands and some eye disorders. Did you know that some people also used this as a tobacco substitute?
The uses of this plant have evolved such that people now make tea from it, which works in alleviating cramps. It relaxes muscles and can thus reduce their contractions, and thus the pain. Also, the tea can reduce some PMS symptoms such as vomiting and nausea.
To make this tea, you will need two teaspoons of dried bark and a cup of water. Allow the tea to boil and simmer for about fifteen minutes before drinking it. You can take it three times a day for the most effects.
8. Cinnamon Tea
This tea is also rich in anti-spasmodic effects, which work great in alleviating menstrual pain. Plus, it is also anti-inflammatory, thus offering you the comfort you need during this time.
You can easily make a cup of tea by combining cinnamon and water and bringing the mixture to a boil. Allow the contents to simmer for about fifteen minutes before consuming the tea. If you wish, you can add ingredients such as milk and honey.
Is there any study as to this? Yes. One such survey took place in Iran, where 76 women took part in the same. The group that took the cinnamon experienced less pain and bleeding.
Taking tea during cramps
Not all teas will make your cramps less painful, and some can even add to the pain. However, with the above teas, you can look forward to simpler times. Feel better soon!