When it comes to that time of the month, Midol and Pamprin are really the only go-to’s. There are millions of women menstruating every single month, but somehow these are the only things we have to cope with PMS, cramps, and all that other loveliness. We actually do have other alternatives though. And not only are they inexpensive, but they can be even be found in our kitchen cupboards!
It’s considered a weed by many, but this plant is a woman’s best friend. As an antispasmodic, this plant is able to relax muscles, so peppermint comes with big benefits when it comes to menstrual cramps. It’s also popular for digestive benefits that may save you the pain and embarrassment of PMS’s horrendous gas and bloating. Peppermint tea can be bought virtually everywhere, and if it’s growing in the backyard, you could easily pick and dry some leaves yourself.
If you want stronger or quicker relief, you could also consider getting a bottle of quality peppermint essential oil. I often start the first day of my cycle by rubbing a drop of peppermint oil on my lower abdomen, which may or may not include a quick session with the heating pad. I’m ready to seize the day in as little as half an hour. No Midol required! Though there are brownies involved at times…
2. Raspberry Leaf
This one isn’t as common as mint, but it’s ridiculously easy to find and costs next to nothing. Red raspberry leaf is said to be able to both strengthen and relax the uterus, so herbalists recommend making tea to ease cramps and menstrual flow. This is great for the monthly cycle, and it even extends into pregnancy and childbirth too. Red raspberry leaf tea has always come highly recommended by my nurses and midwives for it’s ability to strengthen and tone the uterus, and I can say that it comes with some big benefits. I drank gallons of red raspberry leaf tea with all my pregnancies and never labored for more than eight hours (not even with my first—a 10 pounder!), so I turn to this for all my uterine matters.
This leaf has tons of advantages, and it’s made even better because it’s safe, cheap, and easy to use. Step into just about any health food store and you should be able to find it as a pre-packed or loose leaf tea. Boil water, steep, and sip away.
Females everywhere swear by the powers of chocolate. I myself can bear testimony to it’s ability to save lives (day one of menstruation can unleash The Hulk within me). Men may be inclined to think that it’s the magic of nostalgia and the attention-capturing powers of sugar at work, but science can actually back up chocolate’s magic to tame flaring blood pressure and heavy cramps.
The cacao bean comes from a tree in South America. Thanks to its plant ties, dark chocolate is high in flavonoids and all its menstrual benefits. Flavonoids are known to help strengthen capillaries, which shows a connection between lighter cramps and reduced menstrual bleeding. There’s more studying to be done to prove the science behind chocolate’s period powers, but I think most ladies are already well aware. And now that we know about the menstrual magic of peppermint, we can make one heck of a batch of dark chocolate brownies.
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Really? Pumpkin seeds? I know this is the last thing those raging PMS taste buds would lust for, but hear me out (I promise I’ll cover chocolate next). These little green guys don’t get the attention they deserve, and it’s not just because they make a quick and easy snack. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with the mineral magnesium, which helps reduce water retention. You can get a day’s serving of magnesium from just half a cup of pepitas, so it’s one heck of a premenstrual snack. And if you mix them up with some dark chocolate chips you’ll have yourself a bag of mobile menstrual relief.
There are some amazing options for female health. The above are some of the most practical and affordable, but there are therapeutic and medicinal plants that would make a great addition to the kitchen. If you want to learn more, consider reading up on herbs like motherwort, mugwort, vitex, cramp bark, and black cohosh. Women have used them for centuries to address pains and bleeding, but they also have a reputation with more serious reproductive matters like menorrhagia, endometriosis, and menopause.
Do some research and have a chat with a health professional or certified herbalist so you can stock your kitchen cupboard with Aunt Flo’s favorite herbs.
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