Can You Really Use Ginger To Treat Menstrual Cramps?

Despite what we may have gleaned from the women running marathons in tampon commercials, the body needs rest and gentle care during the menstrual cycle. It's a time of release, cleansing, and lower energy levels (via Sepalika). We may have been trained to resist the natural inclination to lay low during periods and stay as active and productive as ever, but allowing your body to take a break from the outside world might be the best thing you can do.

According to Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer and Alexander Pope, authors of the book "Wild Power: Discover the Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power," we can look at the menstrual cycle in terms of seasons, with the period representing wintertime. In winter, we go inward and hibernate. We allow ourselves to recover.

So, when symptoms like headaches, lethargy, mood swings, and abdominal cramping arise, rest is more important than we know. Diet, essential oils, acupuncture, stretching, massage, and teas can also ease the body through a healthy menstrual cycle. The Office on Women's Health shows that around 90% of women experience menstrual cramps, and while ibuprofen can do the trick, there's a time-tested holistic pain reliever you may want to try first in addition to rest: ginger.

Ginger has healing properties

Ginger, a powerful healer, can work as an anti-inflammatory agent (via John Hopkins Medicine). Often used to ease stomach pain, nausea, and indigestion, ginger contains many antioxidants and is commonly used to treat morning sickness in pregnancy and chemotherapy nausea. Taken as a tea, powder, or even eaten minced in recipes, ginger is a wonderful well-being aid. During a cycle, ginger can minimize cramping when taken during the beginning stages of menstruation (via Fresh N' Lean). It can also help with bloating, swelling, and overall discomfort.

So, if you haven't had much luck with pain relievers and heating pads to ease menstrual cramping, you may want to give ginger a chance. Brew a bag of tea or even take ginger supplements if you don't enjoy the taste. And if you're a sushi lover, this is a great opportunity to visit your favorite sushi restaurant and go big on the ginger.

Other natural treatments for menstrual cramps

Whether you're having success with ginger or not, perhaps you want to explore other natural remedies to relieve your cramps at home. According to Healthline, massaging your abdomen with certain essential oils may provide relief. Combine lavender, peppermint, rose, and fennel oils in a carrier oil, like coconut oil, and gently apply pressure to the cramping area. This may also feel great on the lower back.

Our bodies are sensitive during menstruation, and eating with consciousness could also alleviate challenging symptoms. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, red meat, and spicy or super salty foods will best support the body, per Be Body Wise. Eating a fresh and nourishing diet full of fruits and vegetables is best. And while we're at it, adding a few herbs to your daily regime is a wise way to go. Try other anti-inflammatory herbs like chamomile, fennel, and cinnamon (via Healthline). 

Finally, the ancient healing technique of acupuncture can relax and balance the body, as well as ease inflammation (via Everyday Health). So, if needles don't make you queasy, this may be a helpful route to take.