Saturday, November 3, 2007

Chamomile Relieves Menstrual Cramps

For those of the female persuasion, that dreaded "time of the month" can often be very painful, even crippling, at least for those who experience severe cramping. I usually have some discomfort for the first few days, and several days prior to getting my period, but (thankfully) I left behind those tear-inducing cramps in my 20s.

For those who aren't allergic to ragweed, there's some very good news: In a fairly recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (January, 2005) Chamomile was found to be very beneficial in relieving menstrual cramps, among other things. Researchers at Imperial College of London discovered that volunteers who drank 5 cups a day of German chamomile tea for two weeks showed elevated levels of both glycine and hippurate in their urine. Glycine has the benefit of relieving muscle spasms and relaxing the uterus, which would account for its efficacy with regard to menstrual cramping. The higher levels of hippurate (which has anti-bacterial properties) would explain why chamomile is also great for fighting infections; however that's another post.

The wonderful thing about chamomile is that the levels of hippurate and glycine remained high for at least 2 weeks after the study participants stopped drinking the tea, which indicates that drinking chamomile tea has positive, long-term healing affects.

I drink tea with chamomile for other reasons, but I think I might up my intake next month!

I will post about the other health benefits of chamomile soon.

Caution: Please do your research before starting any herbal regimen. As mentioned, those allergic to ragweed should avoid chamomile, as should those on warfarin (blood thinning medication).


Frasypoo said...

Hi Incog,
I have never had a problem with cramps though ever since I started running it has been there for 2-3 days.Very mild but crampy!!
Now please do a post on bloating,thats my problem

Incognito said...

That's interesting, Poo. I always thought running actually alleviated cramps.. then again, I could be wrong.

I will check into bloating for you. :-)

Frasypoo said...

Its not painful but I can feel the cramping.Its something that I can live with without medication

Incognito said...

I know what you mean.. with the R.A. every once in a while I feel a little achy and I just ignore it.. and it eventually goes away.

Anonymous said...

I can actually attest to the power of chamomile to relieve menstrual cramps and associated symptoms such as back aches. I discovered this by accident. I bought some celestial seasonings sleepytime vanilla and starting drinking a cup or two a day during the work week. When my period came a long a few weeks later, I noticed that it was very mild, almost painless. I usually suffer from very debilatating cramps and back aches during my period, so I knew that it wasn't just a fluke. I kept drinking the tea and noticed the same thing next month. Now nearly a year later, it still works. I recommend starting the tea a few days before your cycle to really knock out the pain. Otherwise, start the tea as soon as the flow starts and drink it plain in place of water (about 6 bags/day--double or triple bag per cup if you please) to turn severe cramps into mild ones. It's the only thing that I use for pain during that time of the month now.

Incognito said...

thank you for sharing this info. A natural solution is a much better way of dealing with pain.

I used to drink Sleepytime tea, but it has been a long while since I drank any tea at all.