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Relieve Period Cramps with Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture

Updated on January 20, 2012

Sometimes I wish life could be like a commercial. The oneswhere every month I put in the right brand of tampon and skip off to ridehorses, swim laps and play in the yard with my kids after a full day of work.But, life is not a commercial. And most months, getting my period means majormenstrual cramps – no riding horses for me.

Traditional pain relievers work, but often they are tooharsh on my sensitive stomach and I like to keep things natural, so I have donesome experimenting with different ways to alleviate my cramps without usingconventional medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine is gaining a larger followinghere in the U.S., where it is probably still regarded by most people to bevoodoo or alternative science. Because Chinese medicine, specifically herbalmedicine and acupuncture in the case of menstrual cramps, has been practicedand studied for thousands of years there are many non-traditional influences onthe methods, which might make people skeptical.

What I like about the approach is the focus on balancing thebody and its functions in order to heal as well as the overall focus onspiritual health and life force. The ability to restore balance to your bodyand relieve pain without using unnatural chemicals or materials drew me in tothe practice of Chinese medicine in this case. Below find some Chinese herbsand healing methods that might work for you. You should be able to find all of the herbs mentioned at Asian stores near you or online if you make sure to find a reputable website. 

Angelica Root

Angelica root is a herb, sometimes referred to as female ginseng, that is used frequently for regulating the menstrual cycle and relieving pain because it has properties that relax the muscles. It is alsoused for men and women for certain heart, liver and kidney problems. You can prepare a tea or take this herb in capsule form regularly in order to prevent PMS symptoms before they even happen. While Angelica root is a typically Chinese medicine cure for hormonal irregularities and menstrual cramps, it is also used in the U.S. as a food flavoring!

White Peony Root

While peonies are very popular as an ornamental garden flower, the white peony root is used in Chinese medicine specifically because of its antispasmodic properties and also its ability to regulate the blood. The root of this flower relaxes the blood vessels, which stimulates a better blood flow and also relaxes muscle spasms, which makes it the perfect fit to alleviate menstrual cramping. White peony root is frequently used in a decoction (basically prepared by boiling plant materials in a liquid) with licorice in order to ease stomach pain.

Frankincense and Myrrh

Even though most people associate these herbs with Biblical stories, especially about the birth of Jesus, they are used in the traditional Chinese medicine practice to alleviate menstrual cramps. The anti-inflammatory properties of frankincense are similar to those of traditional pain relievers, but since it is a natural substance, it will be gentler on your stomach. In conjunction, these two herbs help to promote blood flow and eliminate pain. Frankincense can also be used externally to relieve muscle pains and aches associated with your menstrual cycle.


As with all acupuncture practice, the belief behind themethod is that stimulating the body with needles (don’t be scared, they areVERY thin!) with unblock your energy flow and, at the same time, relieve themenstrual pain caused by the change in your hormonal balance. Make sure to doextensive research before you decide to use acupuncture as part of your plan.Someone skilled in this practice can do a lot of good by alleviating your pain,but someone who does not know the exact points to stimulate in your body willnot be able to achieve the same great results.

Now, I don’t know if you are going to drink some Angelica root tea and be able to ride a horse the next day, but take some time to research and learn about the practice of traditional Chinese medicine. If you want a natural solution to your health problem, specifically menstrual cramps, there is a wealth of information about herbal treatments for cramps and stomach pain associated with your period. Empower yourself to find new ways to balance your body!

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