For many years, I would treat any pain that came my way with a big dose of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Muscle pain. Headaches. PMS. Menstrual Cramps. If it caused me discomfort, out came the pills. (I’m so sorry, liver.)
Now, I take a more natural approach. I no longer run for the Ibuprofen when I get a headache. Muscle cramps are treated with Epsom salt and essential oils. And PMS and cramps? Those get treated (and even better, prevented) naturally, too.
In addition to being mindful of what I eat (I have far fewer symptoms when I avoid chemically-laden processed food), I drink an herbal tea that helps alleviate, and even prevent cramps. The tea also helps me with my mood, which would otherwise be all over the place.
Here are the Key Players
Nettle is well-known as a uterine tonic. It also strengthens kidneys and adrenals. Nettle is said to have the highest chlorophyll content of any plant, making it an excellent food. Nettle is rich in vitamins A, C, D and K, as well as calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and sulfur.
The calcium content makes it an excellent herb to take for easing leg cramps and muscle spasms. Nettle’s calcium content also affects the uterus, helping to diminish pain (including during and after birth).
Alfalfa is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, like those found in nettle. Both increase available Vitamin K and hemoglobin in the body, helping to prevent excessive flow.
Lady’s Mantle is an astringent herb that works well on hollow organs like the uterus. Rather than toning the uterus, though, Lady’s Mantle works to draw out excess fluid and soothe inflammation. For that reason this herb is especially well-suited for consumption after childbirth, during your menstrual cycle and during menopause.
Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry leaf contains an alkaloid, called fragrine that tones the muscles in the pelvic region, including the uterus. The uterus is a hollow organ with lots of muscles that stretch and contract. Keeping it well toned makes it easier for it to do its job – with less pain, too.
Red raspberry leaf has concentrated amounts of Vitamin C and also contains Vitamin E. Raspberry leaf also contains easily assimilated iron and calcium.
Red raspberry leaf tightens the top layers of skin and mucous membranes to decrease secretions. It then takes it a step further and relieves irritations and firms tissues. (It also provides great relief for diarrhea.)
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family with a pleasant, lemony scent. I call it a soothing herb because of the calming effect it has on the nervous and digestive systems. Lemon balm has a history of being used to treat nervous system disorders, alleviating anxiety and lifting depression. (Read our recent article to learn about many other uses for lemon balm!)
Lemon balm is used a lot in our house to help with sleep, too. We use this soothing sleep balm or brew up lemon balm and lavender tea before bed.
Herbal Tea for PMS and Cramps
- ¼ cup nettle leaf (find it here)
- ¼ cup alfalfa leaf (find it here)
- ½ cup lady’s mantle (find it here)
- ½ cup red raspberry leaf (find it here)
- ¾ cup lemon balm (find it here)
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl or put them all in a large jar, cap and shake until they’re well mixed. Store in a jar in a cool, dark place and don’t forget a label!
To use, brew 1 tablespoon in 1 cup of hot water for 5 minutes. Make one batch at a time or a large amount and drink hot or cold. It’s up to you.
I buy all of my herbs in bulk, mainly because I make a lot of different recipes, for sale and home use. However, many herb companies, like Mountain Rose Herbs sell smaller packages of herbs.
Some may balk at the initial investment of all of the herbs. I understand why, but just remember that these herbs will most likely last you a long time and it would cost double or triple that amount to buy a ready-made blend. (Read more about how to save money on your DIY investments here.)
What natural ways do you manage PMS and cramps?