The Period Project: 5 Best Natural Remedies for Period Cramps by Madeline MacKinnon

October 15, 2019

The Period Project: 5 Best Natural Remedies for Period Cramps by Madeline MacKinnon

We know it's pretty tough to "go with the flow" when period cramps are cramping your style. We asked pain-free period specialist, Madeline MacKinnon to share her top five natural remedies for period cramps

5 Best Natural Remedies for Period Cramps

If you want to try natural remedies but you’re scared your period cramps will get worse if you make the switch, this article is for you.

I find that most women would prefer to avoid medications and heal ‘naturally’, but they’re not convinced that herbs and nutrition will bring relief. I get it! When your period cramps leave you paralyzed and doubled over in the fetal position every single month, it’s natural to be skeptical that teas and supplements would do the trick.

So what should you do when you don’t want to take drugs but right now they’re the only thing that you can rely on to reduce your pain? How do you ensure natural remedies will work for you?

First, I recommend getting to the bottom of it- there may be an underlying health concern with an underlying hormone component. See full article here for sections on "Getting to the Bottom of It"- how to use your symptoms do diagnose your period pain and, "Starting with a Pain-Free Period Diet" for how to reduce inflammation with food. 

In the meantime, the following natural remedies have worked so well for my clients: 

  • #1 Magnesium
    • I’ve had many women tell me that supplementing with magnesium helped them have the best periods ever. And this is coming from women who had debilitating cramps that caused them to book time off work just to survive their periods. Yes, it is that powerful! Magnesium has the added benefit of reducing PMS symptoms, premenstrual migraines, and regulating cortisol.
    • It works by relaxing the muscles of the uterus and preventing the production of excess prostaglandins. Magnesium also aids in the production of optimal hormone levels and helps with regular bowel movements which are essential for processing estrogen.
    • I recommend magnesium bisglycinate or magnesium glycinate because it is more easily used by the body. You can also get magnesium from foods such as hemp seeds, raw cacao powder, legumes, and leafy greens. For best results, make sure you get magnesium in your body every day.
    • Pro Tip: for a total magnesium experience, try a magnesium bath. We’ve got a bath ‘recipe’ fit for a goddess right here.
  • #2 Turmeric
    • Turmeric root is a culinary herb that’s also a potent natural medicine. It’s a powerful anti inflammatory because it lowers inflammatory prostaglandins. Turmeric contains curcuminoids, which are best absorbed when mixed with black pepper and fat. You can blend turmeric with your milk of choice and a twist of fresh ground black pepper to make a deliciously frothy golden milk latte. 
  • #3 Raspberry Leaf Tea
    • Red raspberry leaf has been used for centuries to heal the uterus. When the leaves of the raspberry bush are steeped in hot water, a combination of fragarine and tannins is released that, when taken internally, works directly on the pelvic muscles to reduce menstrual cramps. Raspberry leaf is also high in calcium and magnesium which helps relax the uterus. If you struggle with terrible cramps, start drinking raspberry leaf tea 7 days before your period and continue until the bleeding stops.
    • Pro Tip: make a couple large mason jars full of raspberry leaf tea and store them in your fridge. It’s way easier, cheaper and more potent than brewing a tea bag every time you want a cuppa!
  • #4 Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    • So how can we stop the overproduction of prostaglandins? In fact, prostaglandins stem from the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the body. According to an article by Nicole Jardim, our modern western diet has a omega-6/ omega-3 ratio of 15:1 when it used to be 1:1. We need to restore balance to the ratio to reduce menstrual pain.
    • This is an essential part of a pain-free period diet. The first step is eliminating vegetable oils (including grapeseed, safflower, sunflower and palm oils) which are high in omega-6’s. The second step is to get more omega-3’s, which come from wild, oily fish, dark leafy greens, avocados and some raw nuts and seeds. It can be tricky to improve the ratio of omega-6/ omega-3 on your own, which is why we help clients with meal plans and eating-out strategies in the Complete Period Relief Solution.
  • #5 Essential Oils
    • Essential oils are an effective healing tool for menstrual cramping. Certain oils help relax the uterine muscles and reduce general inflammation. Just add 2-3 drops to a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba and massage into the lower abdomen. Here are some of my favorites for topical period cramp relief, choose one of the following oils that smells the best for you.
      • Chamomile- anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic
      • Clary Sage- calming, antispasmodic
      • Copaiba- anti-inflammatory
      • Frankincense- calming
      • Lavender- calming, anti-inflammatory
      • Marjoram- analgesic, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant
      • Peppermint- cooling, energizing, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory 

Madeline MacKinnon is a Nutrition Consultant & Women’s Health Coach. She is the Founder of Natural Hormone Healing in Calgary, AB. 
Follow along at: @naturalhormonehealing

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