Taking natural remedies for periods can be way more effective than reaching for the painkillers. Try these super-remedies to help ease period problems.
The sassy spice ginger root is an absolute powerhouse of healing properties and has a long been used in traditional Chinese medicine for everything from boosting the immune system to treating nausea. But did you know it can help with period pain too? Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory (similar to ibuprofen) so it can reduce inflammation of the muscles in the uterus; where those killer cramps comes from. Grate a one-inch piece of ginger into boiling water and let brew – add honey or lemon to lessen the fiery kick.
You know the year’s supply of lavender bubble bath that your Nan’s got stashed in her bathroom cabinet? Well apart from smelling super-sweet, there’s a sensible reason for it. Studies have shown that inhaling lavender pre-snooze produces calming effects and increases slow-wave sleep – the very lovely deep slumber where your heartbeat slows down and your muscles really relax. Keep bundles of fresh or dried lavender in the bedroom, spritz your pillow with a spray, or sip a bedtime herbal tea containing lavender.
Oh, is there anything coconut oil can’t fix? It's long been a beauty hero, but since hearing it can also help with hormones, we’ve made it our absolute wonder-ingredient. The healthy fatty acids in coconut oil help produce, process and eliminate estrogen and progesterone making for a balanced cycle. Cook with it as much as possible or add a dollop to hot drinks.
Have you noticed that before your period your digestion gets a bit dodgy? This can be due to the rise of progesterone that then crashes when you come on. To get things, ahem, moving, eat prunes. They contain sorbitol and dihydrophenylisatin, two substances that act as natural laxatives and are gentler on your system than something from the pharmacy. Try one a day and then increase your intake if nothing’s happening down there.
Sorry to sound like your mum, but are you drinking enough water? It really is the most underrated health and beauty tonic and the importance of staying hydrated when you’ve got your period shouldn’t be ignored. Estrogen is linked to the body’s ability to retain water, explaining why you might feel dehydrated when you come on when the body’s estrogen levels are at rock bottom. Add some fresh fruit to make necking your water a little less yawnsome.
If you’re plagued with gas and a bloated tummy when you’re due on or when you start your period, make mint your friend. Fresh peppermint is known as the ultimate stomach healer because of its ability to soothe indigestion, gas, pains, diarrhea and most other problems going on in the middle. Brew with hot water, or tear fresh mint leaves into cold soda and lime juice for a tummy-mending virgin mojito.
If you’ve never eased your tired, cranky, pre-menstural body into an Epsom salt bath, you need to make this a thing in your life. Epsom salts contain the mineral compound magnesium sulphate and bathing with a generous few cups of the stuff is an age-old way of balancing the body’s processes and getting rid of impurities and toxins. For the ultimate home spa experience (and the best night's sleep), light the tealights, fill the tub and soak for at least 20 minutes – keep a glass of water by the bath as you might feel woozy as the body is detoxing.
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