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Easy, Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps

Updated on May 30, 2012
Cinnamon by mhiguera.
Cinnamon by mhiguera. | Source
Evening primrose by David Short.
Evening primrose by David Short. | Source
Yum yum, potassium! Banana by robin_24.
Yum yum, potassium! Banana by robin_24. | Source

It happens every 28 days, and I don't think it's a coincidence a certain zombie horror movie has taken that title: menstruating can make you feel like the walking dead. Between the fatigue, bloating, irritability and painful--for some, excruciating--menstrual cramps, it's 5-7 days of pure torture. You don't feel like yourself, and all you want to do is curl up in bed and wait for the cycle to end. Been there.

But, as the strong, resourceful women that we are, we know a way or two to ease what can be the most interfering aspect of our week with Aunt Flo: cramps. While treating that pack of Midol like M&Ms is an easy solution, there are more natural ways to ease menstrual cramps. Trying these easy tips out can make your period feel less like a horror movie.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a badass spice. It boasts numerous health benefits, such as being a good source of fiber, iron and calcium, and is also a good home remedy for menstrual cramps. You can sprinkle it on a salad, cereal, oatmeal or yogurt to help keep those muscles relaxed. But using cinnamon in hot (decaffeinated) tea is the best way to reduce menstrual cramps.

Raspberry Leaves

So, I was cleaning out my closet a few weeks ago and stumbled upon a CosmoGirl! magazine from 2004 that I thought was useless. Wrong. I found in its colorful pages a very useful tip for alleviating cramps: steep raspberry leaves and tea bag in boiling water and drink up! Apparently, raspberry leaves have been used for years to alleviate painful menstrual contractions, though doctors aren't sure why this plant is so soothing. Remember, though, to use decaffeinated tea; caffeine will only worsen your cramps.

Nuts

In 1996, the Iowa Women's Health Study found that women who ate nuts 4 times a week were 40% (wow!) less likely to die of heart disease. Who knew these little health powerhouses were also good for period pain relief? Almonds, peanuts, pistachios and walnuts are what you should seek out when dealing with menstrual cramps.

Pickle Juice

Personally, the thought of downing a cup of pickle juice makes me wince. But for those of us who like pickles (like my pickle-crazy sister who is suffering right now because neither of us can open the pickle jar) this is an easy peasy solution. You could also make the juice into popsicles to eat when you feel the cramps coming on.

Heat Packs

Like a warm bath (which I also suggest) heat packs work wonders on putting those menstrual cramps in check. The heat relaxes the muscles that contract during the menstrual cycle, so it doesn't feel like they're spazzing out of control and trying to kill you. For a triple whammy, take a calming bath, then put on the heat pack while sipping hot tea. You'll feel better before you know it.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose is a plant native to North America, but it can also be found in Europe and parts of the Southerin hemisphere. People have sought this plant out for treatment of eczema and rhuematoid arthritis, but it's also supposed to help with menstrual cramps. It also appears to ease breast tenderness that some women experience just before their periods, which is another crappy aspect of surfing the crimson waves.

Bananas

Before your period drives you bananas, go ahead and eat some! (Bad joke, I know.) The potassium in bananas is believed to help relieve menstrual cramps. There's plenty of ways to eat them, like with yogurt or in a smoothie. Why not add some cinnamon and a ripe banana to a smoothie to help kick those cramps' butt? You'll be drinking fruity deliciousness all the way to feeling on top of your game again.

Pumpkin Seeds

Women are no strangers to the intense food cravings that come with their time of the month. My mouth waters for ice-cream, peanut butter, cookies, and pie. My favorite is pumpkin pie. But, while that may not always be a viable option (or conducive to my diet), pumpkin seeds are a good bet. Start eating a quarter of a cup of pumpkin seeds a day 1 week before your period is due. Continue to eat them through your period and you will be pain free.

Exercise

Don't think this means sweating bullets trying to keep up with a Jillian Michaels workout DVD. (Just the thought of that scares me.) But regular exercise is considered to be a natural way to reduce muscle tension and elevate one's mood. Something as simple as walking for just 20 minutes a day can help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. Who can't spare 20 minutes? Also try light cardio exercises, stretching exercises and yoga to strengthen muscles and help you to deal with all kinds of pain more effectively and easily.

While I may not as lucky as my mother--who didn't experience bad cramps until her 30s or 40s--now I know alternatives to dragging myself to the medicine cabinet, groping for the bottle of Aspirin.


Resources:

http://www.naturesnaturalhealing.com/MenstrualCramps.shtml
http://www.bhtips.com/2011/12/10-best-home-remedies-to-cure-menstrual.html

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    • profile image

      Anony-mouse 

      5 years ago

      This is ironic.

      so, me and my mother went mega shopping the other day. And, because I'm absolutely crazy about pickles, I convinced her to buy a big jar of them. Like the pickle-lover I am, I consented to drinking the juice out of it daily, as well as eating one of them shortly afterwards.

      well, my period started. I hardly even noticed it had, because my usual cramps [which are very very bad for me] were literally NONEXISTENT. Also, my usual bleedings were much much lighter than usual.

      so then it came to where I looked up why it would be like this. Pickle juice? IT WORKS [for me anyway]. Who knew? you did. Thanks for the other info.

    • profile image

      Sarah 

      5 years ago

      I over 30 years old and have been getting painful periods since I was 13. I experience severe pain in my lower abdomen and lower back, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and have almost fainted a few times. Last year, I had to visit the emergency room 3 times. I've tried Premenstrual Tension from BrainSync Technology and I saw that if I listen to this for about 3-4 days before the strike I am more present more able to handle myself… and this helped immensely. Give it a try http://www.brainsynctechnology.com/shop/premenstru... This has helped a lot.

    • sctlyles21 profile image

      sctlyles21 

      6 years ago from alabama

      This is very helpful.

    • maryhoneybee profile imageAUTHOR

      maryhoneybee 

      6 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      Thanks, Margarita! =)

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 

      6 years ago from Oregon

      Well written, useful info for women!

    • maryhoneybee profile imageAUTHOR

      maryhoneybee 

      6 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      Thank you, mecheshier! =)

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 

      6 years ago

      Nice Hub with great info. Thank you, voted up for useful.

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