Let’s shine some light on the moon cycle. That time of the month is simply part of being a woman. For many women, the cramps are intense and find us reaching for pain pills. I used to be one of those women until I discovered some natural ways to ease period symptoms.
The pain we feel during our cycle is caused by hormones called prostaglandins; these cause uterine contractions which are the source of our cramps. Ginger and Lavender have been shown to affect these hormones to lessen cramps.
For years, my pain required me to take 11-15 ibuprofen. When I cut down my sugar intake, that number went to 5. When I utilized ginger and lavender, that number went to 0.
Some don’t see a problem with taking ibuprofen, but if I see an opportunity to heal something with plants instead of chemicals, I’m on it. Consider that pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs wreak havoc on our livers and ultimately increase the activity of those pesky prostaglandins* I talked about earlier.
Today I’m sharing some natural care for the cramps and moodiness that often accompany our cycles.
I am borderline obsessed with this warming, anti-inflammatory herb. Not only is ginger great for digestion, it is an amazingly effective cramp killer that is as effective as ibuprofen**. Some ways to use ginger in your fight against cramps:
Make a ginger-lime fizz: 1c Lime Seltzer, 2-3 tsp. Of fresh crushed, frozen, or minced ginger, and 1 tsp. Stevia. Enjoy every 4 hours. Also, I like to triple this recipe if I’m going to be out of the house.
Eat crystallized ginger or ginger candy. Be aware these are sugared options, but they’re certainly helplful.
Enjoy a rice dish for lunch that includes at least a few spoonfulls of ginger.
If you don’t care for the taste of ginger, it is sold powdered in caplets as well. The recommended dosage is 250mg/4x per day.
Lavender is such a beautiful and dreamy herb! It is well known as a gentle relaxant that we love diffusing to wind down, but it also helps with cramps. In my experience, lavender is not quite as strong as the ginger, but is certainly helpful for milder cramps. Here are my favorite ways to use it during that time of the month:
Create a lavender essential oil roll-on in a 15% dilution (15 drops per teaspoon of carrier base. For this application, an all natural aloe jelly allows for the most absorption. Apply topically to abdomen. With approximately 80% of essential oils being fraudulent or mixed with synthetics, use a high quality lavender oil that is approved for internal use. Warning: bees love lavender, so this is best used in the evening or when indoors!
Enjoy Lavender Tea by steeping 2 tbs. Of culinary lavender per cup of hot water for 15 minutes, strain and sweeten with stevia. You may also make this by the pitcher, and enjoy it cold.
I hope these suggestions are as helpful to you as they have been for me.
*Weil, Andrew. Eight Weeks to Optimum Health: a Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body’s Natural Healing Power. Ballantine, 2007.