Spring is well and truly in bloom here in the northern hemisphere and it's one of my favourite times of the year. Who doesn't delight in the heady fragrance of Lily of the Valley and Lilac gracing the warm air?
I am fortunate to have a modest garden which I attempt to tend with loving care and enjoy the rewards of my labour profusely.
I'm currently planting my herb garden and did a little research on herbs that are helpful to manage menstrual discomforts as I live with my two daughters who often suffer from cramping and pain during their periods. Well, it turns out Mother Nature does indeed have a cure for most common ailments and menstruation is one of them.
Here is what I found courtesy of the internet and Reader's Digest, The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs:
Compounds found in fresh basil leaves called caffeic acid perform the same function as anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (as found in Advil) and naproxen sodium (as found in Aleve). Unlike taking such pills however, eating a few basil leaves, either alone or in a salad, or steeping basil leaves in boiling water to make a tea, can bring relief almost immediately.
Mint produces a notable relaxing effect which alleviates the cramping that occurs around your period. The best way to enjoy this result is by sipping some fresh mint tea. Simply boil some water and pour it into a carafe or teapot over half a cup of torn mint leaves. Allow to steep for 5 - 7 minutes then strain and enjoy.
Parsley has a gentle stimulating action that can encourage menstruation. This can be ideal if you're period is late but should not be used if there is a possibility of pregnancy. A small simple garnish or a handful of shredded parsley will suffice for this purpose. Warning: It is wise to use on minimal amounts of parsley if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Thyme possesses a muscle-relaxant effect that was proven to relieve menstrual cramps better than ibuprofen in a recent study. However, taking essential oils orally should only be done by the advice of a medical professional and not when pregnant or breastfeeding. Tea is a safer bet and is actually easier to make yourself using your garden variety thyme. Simply bring a few cups of water to boil and pour over chopped fresh leaves in a cup or kettle. Let it infuse for 10 - 30 minutes, strain and enjoy hot or cold, add a little honey to sweeten if desired.
I hope this information has literally given you some food for thought and you plant a herb garden of your own. One need not have a yard to do so, you can have little pots on your windowsill and enjoy the same results. A little sunshine, a little water and a little love go a long way.