Posts tagged #menstrual cramps

The Healing Power in a Cup of Tea

Today is International Tea Day and of all the soothing remedies known to womankind for menstrual discomfort there is nothing quite as pleasurable and effective as a cup of tea. Accompany that warm tea with a comfy couch, a hot water bottle and a good book and you   might not mind being on your period so much and might actually have a moment of divine feminine serenity. 

There are a number of different herbal teas that help with menstrual cramps, bloating and other menstrual-related symptoms.

 

Long known for it's ability to relax muscles and anxiety, chamomile is an excellent tea to enjoy while Aunt Flo is in town but be warned, it has a mild sedative effect on the nervous system and is best enjoyed later in the day or evening. 

Chamomile tea is super gentle and highly effective. This is a tea that you can sip from the beginning of your cycle until the end to keep your body, mind, and emotions in a joyful place.
— herbaltealife
 

 

Cramp bark is traditionally used for any type of cramping or spasmodic pain including uterine, ovarian, abdominal and back pain which makes this an invaluable herb for women who experience any of these kinds of pain during menstruation. 

 

 

Black Cohosh is such a powerful herb that a small pinch added to another blend will bring out the benefit of it's pain relieving properties. The root of this herb acts to help soothe and relax the uterine lining. It is best to only use this in your tea while you're actively having your period and not throughout the rest of the month. It's the big guns so remember, a tiny pinch will do you! 

Whatever tea you choose enjoy your cuppa! 

 

Sometimes a Girl's Best Friend is her Hot Water Bottle

As a woman who has known her share of freezing rooms and menstrual cramps, many a time a simple hot water bottle has been all the comfort I've needed to feel good and warm and loved.  Hot water bottles are the bomb.  

If memory serves me, the first time I was made aware of the potent joy a rubbery shell filled with boiling water could deliver was in the tiny village of Sandycroft, North Wales. It was my grandparents home, the parents of my Welsh mother and very old, small, steep and damp but not without its charms, most notably my grandparents, the garden and the fireplaces. We were visiting and staying with them on a Christmas trip from our new home of suburban Toronto in Canada. I was seven or eight years old and it was very cold that December in North Wales. Even though I lived in Canada now, also known as the Great White North and having especially brutally harsh winters, this cold in the UK was a different, more intrusive kind of cold. It was bitter and biting, a damp chill that got into my bones and wouldn't leave. I was constantly shivering. When I jumped into bed that first night I was quickly taken aback by something in the middle of the bed. I may have given a little shriek.  It was a hot, sloshy lump sharing my bed that charmed me from the first touch.  This was a new and most unexpected friend. My gran poked her head in the door. "I put a hot water bottle in a while ago for you. Is it nice?" I nodded and smiled. "Thank you" "Aw, you're welcome pet" she responded in her lilting voice.   I smiled happily to myself as I soaked up it's heat on my back and my tummy. I then wriggled the little roaster down to my feet and let it rest and do what I had thought was impossible, and make those babies warm again.  A hot water bottle huh? This is a valuable thing. This is awesome! 

The next time I was deeply grateful for a hottie was when I was thirteen and experiencing menstrual cramps for the first time. It felt like an aggressive and angry animal was in my uterus, kicking and punching and kicking again. Oh my God! Do I seriously have to go through this torture once a month for the rest of my life? Life is cruel. I was miserable,  lying in bed and cursing my fate as a woman. 

Then my mom, bless her, came in with a hot water bottle, a cup of tea and the latest TigerBeat magazine with Sean Cassidy on the cover, the Bieber of another time. "Here you go love. A cuppa tea, a light read and some heat for your cramps. I remember how awful the first few periods were for me. Unbearable, or so I thought. But it passes," she said as she patted my arm. 

Oh, that warmth on my womb was sweet relief. Thank you hottie. The cramps didn't disappear altogether but they receded and I drank that sweet tea and read that sugary pop culture and felt better. 

Since then I keep my hottie close at hand for the first day or two of my period, just in case I need to snuggle in bed with a good book,  a soothing tea and my hottie. My daughters each have their own trusted bottle (though the eldest seems to have outgrown terrible cramps for the time being and hers has lied unused for quite a while).  

The standard hot water bottle is a rubber vessel with a stopper. 

They generally cost less than $10 at the drug or big box store. 

They generally cost less than $10 at the drug or big box store. 

These tend to be extremely hot when first filled. To combat that you can get a cover for your bottle. If you're the crafty kind there are tons of ideas to knit or crochet. Here's a few:

Hotties are also excellent for anywhere you experience aches and pain; a sore back, glutes, shoulders, neck, arm, legs or feet or anywhere is soothed by the power of heat.  They are also, like my first exposure to one, ideal for heating a cold bed for someone you love...even if (or maybe most especially if) that someone is you. 

You only need to spend a few minutes boiling the water - a kettle works just fine for this and you can always make yourself a nice cup of tea to go with your soothing bottle - and you get an hour or more of rewarded comfort. 

If you've never enjoyed the charm of a hot water bottle, do yourself a favour and try one; it could be your new best friend when Aunt Flo comes visiting or the cold has cast a chill deep in your bones. 

 

 

 

Healing Herbs That Alleviate Menstrual Discomforts

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: 

Basil

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

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

 

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

Thyme

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.  

 

Posted on May 19, 2015 .