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Treatment for Menstrual Pain

Updated on December 28, 2013
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An experienced integrative healthcare professional & Member of the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists

We women are no stranger to period pain. It is just part and parcel of being a woman. Menstrual pain can have many causes from hormonal imbalances which is usually one of the major contributing factors to poor blood circulation and a less than optimal diet and lifestyle.

Psychology also has an important role to play her and includes one's attitudes towards the menstrual cycle itself and what it means to be a woman.

Chaste Tree Berry (or Vitex Agnus Castus) is a herb that is readily available in capsule or tablet form. This wonderful herb helps normalise hormones in the female reproductive system and has an added use and benefit to help tone down overactive male libido in men; hence the name chaste tree.

Case Study: A 35 year old female with severe menstrual pain

  • Obtain consent for treatment
  • Assess client’s health according to standard guidelines relating to age and sex
  • Note: With few exceptions, pregnant and nursing women should not use medicinal amounts of healing herbs . Pregnant women should only use herbs medicinally with the consent and supervision of their obstetrician.
  • This step is important so that specialised treatment is then implemented allowing for these factors and other findings

  • Physical examination or questioning of the patient to prepare for treatment:
  • How do they feel?
  • What are they experiencing? Any other symptoms, signs or worrying conditions? (e.g Premenstrual tension or other symptoms)
  • Do they suffer from other medical conditions?
  • Are they on any other medicines (prescribed or otherwise)? (This helps to see potential drug interactions)
  • Are there any other issues to treat holistically?
  • How long have they had symptoms and signs?
  • How regular is their menstrual cycle?
  • Are there any other tests or medical reports/results (e.g. X-Rays, Pathology results)?
  • Find out the cause? (e.g. dysmenorrhea, infection, premenstrual tension, psychological and religious attitudes and views of the menstrual cycle, endometriosis will require referral to gynaecologist, cysts)

  • Specialised treatment plan (Three herbs are chosen initially and here I indicate reasons for choosing them):


Infusion Mixture example for Dysmenorrhea (to be drunk as a tea three times daily) :

Black Haw Bark 2 parts (i.e.2 teaspoonfuls of dried bark)-ant-spasm, sedative, hypotensive

Cramp Bark 1 part (i.e. 2 teaspoon of dried bark) – anti-spasmodic,sedative, astringent

Pasque Flower 1 part (i.e. ½-1 teaspoonful of dried herb) –a relaxing nervine

{Other herbs that can be used include: Black Cohosh, False Unicorn Root, Wild Yam}

Pasque flower:

-a relaxing nervine; helps with nervous tension and spasm in the reproductive system

-helps with insomnia and general overactivity

Wild Yam

-Anti-spasmodic , Anti-inflammatory, Cholagogue

-1-2 teaspoonfuls of the herb (dried underground parts) in a cup of water taken as an infusion (i.e. tea); can add to above mixture

-can be taken as a tincture ; 2-4mLs three times daily

False Unicorn Root

-Parts used:Dried rhizome or root

-Actions: Uterine tonic, Diuretic, Anthelmintic, Emetic, Emmenagogue

-Best tonics and strengtheners of the reproductive system (both in men and women)

-Amphoteric way of normalising function (balance and tone)

-Especially useful in delayed or absent menstruation

-helps in ovarian pain, prevents threatened miscarriage and ease vomiting associated with pregnancy

-contains precursors of oestrogen

{Other herbs to alleviate cramps include: Angelica root, cramp bark, kava kava and red raspberry}

Lifestyle Factors and Dietary Advice

  • Limit consumption of alcohol and sugars (especially if infection is present); this advice will discourages the growth of yeast and inflammation
  • eat fresh pineapple regularly to reduce inflammation (if any). Also to include plenty of garlic, kelp and sea vegetables in the diet
  • eat wholesome fresh foods as much as possible. Avoid greasy and fried foods
    • Limit intake of eggs and dairy products as they can thicken mucus and worsen catarrhal states
    • Regular exercise to help with blood circulation
    • Surround yourself with family and good friends
    • Address the negative attitudes toward menstrual cycle if any (possibly consider the inclusion of nervines like oats in the diet or supplemental Vitamin B Complex)
    • Drink plenty of water (not cold water)
    • Take supplemental iron to prevent anaemia and Alfalfa (a good source of Vitamin K needed for blood clotting and healing)
    • Take supplemental Magnesium to alleviate cramps and help with nervous system. Include the use of potassium phosphate as well for increased nervous system support


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