Oh, menstrual cramps, the unbearable, throbbing, and relentless cramps we all know and love (to hate). Any kind of help is a blessing, even pills that we know are unhealthy. But at that moment, it’s hard to say no. Well, in this article, we hope to give you a better, natural solution. These are the best teas for period cramps.
What Causes Menstrual Cramps
Before we get into the best menstrual teas (not the best name), we need to understand what causes the cramps, so the tea’s effects make more sense.
So, very shortly. During your period, your uterus contracts to clear out the now-useless lining. The process involves inflammation and pain, and cramps happen naturally by the contractions. But, they can often be exaggerated because of:
- Endometriosis: The uterus tissue gets stuck somewhere outside of the uterus instead of exiting.
- Adenomyosis: The tissue breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Sexually transmitted disease in which abscesses develop in the tract.
- Uterine Fibroids: noncancerous growths in and around the uterus
- Cervical Stenosis: The opening is too small and impedes flow, causing pressure to build up.
As we can see, inflammation plays a big role in menstrual cramps. In fact, most of the pills you’re probably taking are anti-inflammatory drugs. Luckily, many teas have natural anti-inflammatory properties. So let’s see what’s the best tea for your period cramps.
Best Teas For Menstrual Cramps
You may know chamomile tea as “the relaxing tea”. And it is. Chamomile tea is well known for its calming and sedative effects; it’s extremely helpful in soothing anxiety and stress and improving sleep.
Now that in itself already makes chamomile a good tea for menstrual cramps, as the more relaxed the body is, the better. Also, improving sleep quality can alone be a blessing in itself.
But the benefits go further; chamomile tea contains an antioxidant named apigenin, which can help lower inflammations.
One study showed that women who consumed the tea one week before menstruation and during the first days had significantly less pain, discomfort, and anxiety. This makes chamomile one of the best teas for PMS in general.
Ginger might just be the best tea for cramps in terms of inflammation. If you didn’t know, ginger is one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatory “drugs”. It has been used in traditional medicine for many centuries, which shows what a valuable plant it is.
One study done in 2012 found that women experienced lower levels of pain, as well as a shorter duration, when consuming 500mg of ginger. And another study done in 2015 showed that ginger alleviates cramps and reduces heavy blood flows.
These effects can be credited to ginger’s main compound, gingerol, which is full of medicinal properties. Most notably, powerful anti-inflammatory properties. As a bonus, ginger is also known to calm nausea, which may just be a part of your experience.
The most basic of teas, but you really can’t go wrong with it. While green tea’s effects are a bit less substantial, you can mix it with almost any tea for a better taste and extra help.
Green tea is a natural diuretic, which means it promotes urine. That might sound irrelevant, but water retention is a major cause of bloating and cramps. Also, green tea contains catechin, a type of polyphenol that can improve blood flow and reduce inflammation.
One study showed that green tea could be especially helpful for uterine fibroids, a common cause of extreme menstrual cramps (mentioned in the first section).
Fennel tea is well known for helping digestion as well as easing bloating, gas, and cramps. It also tastes a little like licorice, which is nice. If you like licorice.
Those effects could be partly credited to fennel’s vitamin C and quercetin content, powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory effects.
One study had 52% of women who drank fennel tea report an excellent effect on pain, and 20% a reported moderate effect. That’s a 72% chance that fennel tea might help your cramps!
Cramp Bark Tea
This is an odd name-coincidence. Cramp bark tea is made from the bark shavings of the Viburnum Opulus. And while the name has nothing to do with the effects, cramp bark is known to relax muscles, thus helping to soothe period cramps.
It’s also known to improve nervous disorders, which may accompany your PMS. And it has some anti-inflammatory effects, which further helps menstrual cramps.
Peppermint tea tastes wonderful, it’s fresh and uplifting, and something about that alone can help alleviate some symptoms. But for cramps, peppermint tea contains menthol, which has antispasmodic properties.
These properties are known to mitigate bloating and ease constricting muscles, which means less intensive contractions, which means less pain.
Peppermint tea also contains mefenamic acid, which one study shows can effectively relieve menstrual cramps. These two compounds, combined with the uplifting effects, make peppermint one of the best teas for cramps.
We put cinnamon tea right after peppermint as both of them share antispasmodic properties. This means cinnamon tea will also help to ease contractions.
In addition, cinnamon tea has anti-inflammatory properties, which will further ease pain, as we’ve already discussed. It also smells and tastes delicious.
Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaf tea is a tea made of, well, raspberry leaves. You can make it either from fresh leaves or dry ones. In both forms, the leaves contain fragrine, a type of alkaloid that affects smooth muscle, particularly the uterine muscle.
We put this tea last as there is some conflicting data. Some studies show fragrine to cause more contractions, while some show it to ease contractions. You can read more about it here. If you choose this tea, the best thing to do would be to test and see how it affects you particularly.
So these are the best teas for cramps according to our research, of course, there are many more teas that can be beneficial. For example, blueberry tea, which we wrote about, has anti-inflammatory effects.
It’s all about testing and seeing what’s the best tea for your cramps. We hope we gave you some ideas! Try them out and be sure to let us know in the comments if they helped.