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Herbs for Menstrual Cramps: Top 10 Herbs for Period Pain

December 13, 2023
Clinically reviewed by Dr. Mary Oleksowicz

Essential Takeaways

  • Customized herbal medicine can help with menstrual cramps and pain, as well as other health concerns.
  • It’s critical to consult a medical herbalist to determine the right blend and dosage of herbs for your composition and find the root causes of your female health-related symptoms.
  • Qi Health provides a completely customized solution of the best herbs that will help you heal and find relief from menstrual cramps.

It’s normal to feel fed up with customary solutions for period cramps. Taking over-the-counter pain medications for days straight every month can raise valid health concerns – and often doesn’t even treat cramping thoroughly.

Many people are turning to herbs for menstrual cramps to find relief naturally and safely. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most effective herbs for treating period cramps and address a few commonly asked questions about herbs for menstruation.

Can Herbs Help with Menstrual Cramps?

Ingesting herbs can help alleviate the discomfort that frequently accompanies the menstrual cycle. While some degree of pain and discomfort is common during menstruation, it’s important to note that those experiencing severe pain during their period should see a medical expert to ensure there are no underlying conditions that need specific treatment.

Another important factor in using herbs to help with menstruation is that there are a variety of types and sources of herbs. Since they’re not regulated by the FDA, it can be hard to determine the right herbs for menstrual pain without guidance. Plus, the right blend of herbs for your specific needs will depend on your composition and the factors unique to your body.

To safely use herbs for menstrual cramps, it’s best to work with professionals who are certified in herbal medicine. There is no one-size-fits-all herbal solution for menstrual cramps, so consulting medical herbalists is crucial to finding the right blend.

Best Herbs for Menstrual Cramps

Using herbs as a strategy for relieving period cramps is an age-old practice that can yield promising results with the correct approach. Of course, the correct doses and blends of herbs will depend on individual characteristics. To determine the right solution for you, head here.

Many herbal solutions for a healthy period will incorporate a mix of the following herbs.

Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri)

Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri)

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What it is:

Chai Hu, commonly known as Hare’s Ear Root or Red Thorowax Root, is a plant root with traditional uses dating back more than 2,000 years. It has been used to treat hepatitis, fever, influenza, inflammation, and even malaria, in addition to easing menstrual disorders.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, Chai Hu improves the function of the liver and circulatory system while promoting vital energy in the body. It can aid with digestion and has also been known to have antiviral, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects. This herb has a bitter taste.

How Chai Hu helps with menstrual cramps:

  • Alleviates stagnation
  • Treats abdominal bloating
  • Promotes vital energy in the body, especially abdominal organs

Dang Gui (Radix Angelica Sinensis)

Dang Gui (Radix Angelica Sinensis)

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What it is:

Native to the cool high mountains of East Asia, Dang Gui (also spelled Dong Quai), or female ginseng, has long been used for its benefits to women’s health. It is a member of the celery family and is one of the most commonly used herbs in Chinese medicine.

Sometimes used as a spice or tonic, Dang Gui is recognized as a top herbal medicine for women's health. Some tests indicate that it can reduce pain, relax the muscles of the uterus, and open blood vessels.

How Dang Gui helps with menstrual cramps:

  • Regulates the menses for a more predictable and comfortable period
  • Tonifies blood and moves vital energy to ease premenstrual symptoms
  • Supports abdominal and pelvic blood circulation
  • Calming and relaxing effects

Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Alba)

Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Alba)

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What it is: Bai shao, or white peony root, is widely used to treat inflammation, pain, and fever. It’s the root of the flowering white peony plant, which grows in the northern United States and China, among other locations.

Bai shao contains phytoestrogens, which are similar to the female sex hormone estrogen, leading to powerful impacts on the female reproductive system. Some studies have also found that bai shao offers anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain.

How Bai Shao helps with menstrual cramps:

  • Promotes a more regular menstrual cycle
  • Nourishes the blood
  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • Acts as estrogen in the body

Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae)

Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae)

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What it is:

Bai zhu grows mainly in central China. The root works within the spleen and stomach to replenish life energy in the abdomen. It has a bittersweet flavor and may offer anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the pain sometimes associated with menstrual cramps.

How Bai Zhu helps with menstrual cramps:

  • Treats digestive issues like diarrhea
  • Reduces inflammation

Fu Ling (Poria)

Fu Ling (Poria)

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What it is: Fu Ling is the inner part of a fungus. Several different parts of the fungus are used for a variety of purposes. The inner part, fu ling, can help aid the movement of the body’s fluids and treat diarrhea. It can also treat dizziness and calm the mind.

How Fu Ling helps with menstrual cramps:

  • Alleviates menstrual pain
  • Reduces gastrointestinal symptoms

Zhi Gan Cao (Glycyrrhizae radix preparata)

Zhi Gan Cao (Glycyrrhizae radix preparata)

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What it is:

Commonly known as licorice root, Zhi Gan Cao is often coupled with other herbs to enhance their healing abilities. Licorice root can soothe heartburn and acid reflux and is often used to help treat sore throats. In women’s health, Zhi Gan Cao is used to reduce hot flashes during menopause and can help relieve cramps.

How Zhi Gan Cao helps with menstrual cramps:

  • Provides pain relief
  • Relaxes the abdominal muscles
  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory

Bo He (Menthae haplocalyx, Mentha arvensis)

Bo He (Menthae haplocalyx, Mentha arvensis)

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What it is:

Bo He, or mint, is a leafy plant native to the northern hemisphere and widely cultivated throughout the world. Mint has culinary uses as well as healing properties according to Chinese medicine.

Bo He is used to treat colds, itchiness, soreness, fever, and rash. Other health benefits of peppermint include improved digestion and reduced effects of sinus infection. When applied topically, it can even help ease muscle aches, joint pain, and headaches.

How Bo He helps with menstrual cramps:

  • Acts as a muscle relaxant, reducing cramping
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Soothes accompanying stomach issues

Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens)

Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens)

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What it is: Sheng Jiang, or ginger, is indigenous to Southern China and has been used worldwide for its culinary and medicinal properties for centuries. It is widely used for its anti-nausea benefits and can help the body get rid of pathogens.

The anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the pain caused by menstrual cramps.

How Sheng Jiang helps with menstrual cramps:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Inhibits prostaglandins, which trigger uterine muscle contractions
  • Prevents nausea

Mu Dan Pi (Cortex Moutan)

Mu Dan Pi (Cortex Moutan)

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What it is: Mu Dan Pi, or tree peony root, has long been used to promote longevity and blood flow. Used in conjunction with other well-paired herbs, Mu Dan Pi can help reduce inflammation, ease pain, soothe muscle spasms, and treat gynecological issues.

How Mu Dan Pi helps with menstrual cramps:

  • Relieves pain
  • Eliminates dead blood cells
  • Reduces muscle spasms
  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory

Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi)

Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi)

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What it is:

Gui Zhi is a flowering medicinal plant also known as cinnamon twig. This herb is used to help promote blood flow and clear pathogens from the body. Gui Zhi can aid digestion and provide pain relief.

Especially in combination with Fu Ling, Gui Zhi is often used to treat menstrual cramps.

How Gui Zhi helps with menstrual cramps:

  • Provides pain relief
  • Promotes blood flow

More About Herbs for Menstruation

Let’s learn more about the commonly asked questions about herbs for menstruation.

What herbal blend is best for menstrual cramps?

The exact herbal blend for menstrual cramps that will be most effective for each person will depend on a variety of personal factors. This is why it’s best to consult an expert herbalist to ensure the best use of your time and investment for your desired health outcomes.

The above herbs have shown promising impacts on the menstrual cycle. Additional herbs used for menstrual cramps include:

  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Sage
  • Cypress

What herbal tea helps period cramps?

Many herbs can be consumed in a variety of ways, such as via capsule or in a tea. Chamomile is one of the most commonly used herbal teas for period cramps because of its antispasmodic properties. Peppermint tea is also commonly used to help soothe the stomach and reduce muscle spasms, and ginger tea offers pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory benefits.

What helps menstrual cramps naturally?

Understandably, countless people are tired of taking painkillers on a monthly basis to relieve menstrual cramps. Over-the-counter pain medications come with their own set of side effects, so it’s common to seek a more natural way to alleviate menstrual cramps.

In addition to herbal remedies, natural strategies for reducing menstrual cramps include:

Chinese herbs for menstrual cramps

The Chinese herbs for menstrual cramps listed above can make an encouraging difference in your monthly menstrual cycle when used correctly. It’s important to talk with an expert in Chinese medicine and thoroughly research the production of the herbs you purchase in order to ensure you are taking high-quality, effective herbs.

Qi Health uses a personalized approach to using herbal medicine to heal menstrual cramps, enhance postpartum recovery, improve fertility, and more. Talk with a top Chinese Medicine Doctor about your specific needs to receive a personalized blend and dose of high-quality herbs.

African herbs for menstrual cramps

Just as herbal remedies have been used in China for thousands of years, there are also long-standing herbal solutions in African cultures.

A few herbs native to Africa that have been found to help ease menstrual cramps include the following:

  • Fagara (Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides), or African pepper, is widely used in Uganda and other African countries to treat menstrual cramps through its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Moringa (Moringa oleifera) is a tree native to Kenya and Ethiopia. Its anti-inflammatory effects have been used to treat menstrual cramps.
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) may have antispasmodic properties, which can help reduce cramping.

Ayurvedic herbs for menstrual cramps

Ayurvedic medicine has deep and long-standing roots in India. Ayurvedic herbs used to treat menstrual cramps include the following:

  • Bhutakesi (Corydalis govaniana) grows in the Himalayan mountain range and is commonly used to relieve cramping.
  • Ajwain (Carom seeds) are used to treat various types of abdominal pain, whether stemming from digestive issues or menstrual cramps. This herb is found in many kitchens.
  • Ghritkumari (Aloe Vera) can provide pain relief when ingested.

Use the Best Herbs for Menstrual Cramps & Pain

The vast amount of information concerning herbal wellness can be overwhelming. While the herbs above are the most commonly used for women’s health in traditional Chinese medicine, it’s important to understand that the correct combination and dose of herbs will vary from person to person.

Plus, since herbs and herbal supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, working with a qualified Doctor of Chinese Medicine through Qi Health is the best way to ensure you are taking reputable products at the right dosages and combinations for you.

To find natural healing with herbs, you can rely on Qi Health. Qi Health provides a personally customized solution of the best herbs that will help you heal and find relief from menstrual cramps. Here’s how it works:

  1. Schedule a telehealth appointment with one of our doctors.
  2. On your call, our doctors will conduct a holistic TCM assessment, make a diagnosis, and determine the right mix and doses of herbs that will help with your menstrual pain.
  3. Your personalized herbal medicine is delivered right to your home. Follow the right dosages and feel your body begin to heal.
  4. Have monthly follow-up calls to adjust your herbs to your symptom progression to find long-term relief.

Speak to the best Chinese Medicine Doctors in the US–right from the comfort of home.

Discover the right herbs for you


External Sources on Herbs for Menstrual Cramping