Natural Remedies for Period Pain: Effective and Gentle Solutions


Menstruation can sometimes be unpleasant  because of the severe pain and its high impact on daily activities. Effective natural remedies can help you to heal from your extreme period cramps without any side-effects. Natural remedies can sometimes be more advantageous than other  medical drugs. Additionally, the discomfort of period pain makes it difficult to wait at least 4 hours between doses of medical drugs. Therefore, people seek solace in natural remedies of menstrual pain relief. 


In nations across the world, natural solutions for menstrual discomfort are a popular choice since they do not have any side-effects.1 They are also easily accessible and more affordable. Additionally, 25% of the women have recurrent pain even with the use of medical treatments. Therefore, natural remedies are incredibly important to cover the gaps in definite solution of menstrual cramps.2  

Is period pain a serious medical concern?

Health-related quality of life (QoL) is a measurement for the quality of living everyday life correlated with the condition of a person’s health.3 In line with this, pain has been marked as the largest causative of low level of QoL.3 Menstruating people of all ages and nationalities may experience a gynecological condition that gives them menstrual pain called dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea severely impacts physical as well as typical daily activities. Therefore, your QoL is highly impacted by menstrual pain.

Dysmenorrhea is divided into two types: primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea. If you feel pain in your lower abdomen, it is called primary dysmenorrhea and it is natural. Whereas secondary dysmenorrhea is the pain related to an underlying disease or physical abnormality inside/outside of the uterus.4 Therefore, if your pain is severe, it is may be serious so it is important to seek medical advice from a health professional. 

The pathology of this severe pain is not well understood yet. However, it is known that the lining of the uterus gets highly contracted by secretion of hormones, resulting in extreme pain.4 

What are the benefits of natural remedies?

Natural remedies are highly beneficial because they can address the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of people. Some scientific evidence has already suggested that herbal remedies might be more effective than commercially available, pain-relief medical drugs such as ibuprofen.5 Moreover, non-steroidal drugs  (aspirin, naproxen, voltaren and celebrex) can cause:

  1. Headaches
  2. Vertigo (spinning of the head)
  3. Pain while urinating
  4. Weakness
  5. Lack of appetite
  6. Nausea
  7. Acne 
  8. Red blood in stool5 

The advantages of natural remedies for dysmenorrhea can be listed as following:

  • No side-effects
  • More affordable
  • Ease of use (e.g., tea drinking, applying lotions or creams, lifestyle adjustments)
  • Emotional and mental support (e.g., aromatherapy)
  • Help for menstruation
  • Possibility of long-term usage

Can heat therapy help with period pain?

Heat therapy for period pain is one of the most popular pain relief methods. Few studies have suggested there might be a connection between the heat, and reducing the pain caused by dysmenorrhea.6 However, for a definite answer, further detailed studies are required.

Heat relaxes the abdominal muscles by easing the tension and stopping muscle spasms.6 Additionally, it stimulates blood circulation leading to normal functioning of the bodily fluid cycle. Due to decreased  congestion and swelling, you feel relaxation from the heat therapy. 

Application of heating pads, hot water bags, towels, or bottles tackles the pain within 1cm deepness and these artificial heating methods can reach up to 45°C.6 Deep heating therapy methods applied by health professionals which use electromagnetic waves can reach depths between 2-5 cm.6 These methods allow  heat inside the tissues and initiate vascular and metabolic changes in organs and tissues. This causes the dilation of the veins as well as a change in metabolic products produced by tissues. In turn, helping with coping with the severe pain.Application of warm baths and showers (which are known methods of hydrotherapy) can also cause relaxation in pain.7

Are herbal remedies safe for menstrual cramps?

Herbal remedies are extremely popular in many cultures as alternative medicine. Every culture has their own set of special mixtures of herbs for tea, drink, or soup. Moreover, these medical products are also converted into and sold as traditional herbal medicines.

However, many countries have started to regulate these holistic approaches for menstrual discomfort and other diseases. This is because many do not involve clinical research and can may cause side-effects such as:

  • Troke
  • Heart attacks
  • Heart-rate irregularities
  • Liver toxicity 
  • Seizures
  • Cancer8 

Therefore, it is especially important to consume commonly available but safe herbal remedies.

Cinnamon, ginger, fennel, celery, and saffron spices have been in use as a treatment method for dysmenorrhea. There are scientific studies confirming the effectiveness of these herbs in revealing the pain of primary dysmenorrhea.9 Ginger, celery, saffron and fennel have shown to lessen the intensity of the pain. Whereas, cinnamon has an impact on both the intensity and time interval of the pain.9

Which foods can reduce menstrual pain?

It is well known that consuming vast amounts of junk food is commonly accompanied with health problems. In the case of over-consumptionof snacks such with high salt and sugar levels, the intensity of the pain of menstrual pain increases.10

A study based on young people aged 18-25confirmed that eating primarily carbohydrate-containing food for 48 hrs before menstruation can escalate the intensity of dysmenorrhea from mild to severe. Additionally, the same behaviour causes 40% of people who did not previouslyexperience any dysmenorrhea to start experiencing it.11 Therefore, avoiding eating snacks with high levels of carbohydrates can help you ease your period pain. 

Despite specific foods that can worsen menstrual pain, there are also a range of foods that can help you alleviate the pain. Research has found that certain foods can help with menstrual pain such as: 

  1. Eggs
  2. Fish
  3. Foods containing calcium
  4. Food rich in omega 3 fatty acids 
  5. Vegetables11 

Which exercises are good for period pain?

Regular weekly exercises between 45-60 minutes regardless of intensity can significantly minimize menstrual cramps.12 The outcome of the exercise for menstrual pain relief ilessens the pain intensity more than two times in magnitude.12 There are a few examples of exercises you can choose from - low-intensity or high-intensity exercises.The intensity of the exercise does not make any changes in effectiveness of relieving your pain so either is recommended

Which essential oils ease the menstrual cramps?

Essential oils extracted from the plants are used in aromatherapy.13 For over 6000 years, aromatherapy has been used by ancient civilization in Egypt, China and India.14 Aromatherapy has been shown to reduce the severity of primary dysmenorrhea. Aromatherapy can be inhaled, used orally, dermally or in baths.13,14 However, you should be aware of the allergic reactions that may occur due to natural oils.Ensure you seek medical advice immediately, if you observe such reactions.

The list of essential oils utilised for aromatherapy that has an impact on primary pain are the following: 

  • Lavender
  • Clary sage
  • Ginger
  • Geranium 
  • Chinese Cinnamon
  • Chamomile 
  • Rose
  • Chuanxiong (Chinese herb)
  • Clove
  • Citrus
  • Leonurus japonicus (rhizomes) (honeyweed)
  • Tuberous roots
  • Peach
  • Safflower
  • Red sage
  • Cyathula root

Specific ingredients can reduce the pain intensity through the moderation of muscle tension including:

  • Rhizomes
  • Tuberous roots
  • Peach
  • Safflower
  • Red sage13 

Aromatherapy can trigger oxygen circulation, improving overall health as well. For example, the use of lavender essential oil increases blood circulation as well. This helps release hormones that allow you to feel relaxation, easing period cramps.13 

Can acupressure heal the pain?

In Chinese philosophy, there is a belief that the human body has channels called Qi which organises energy flow.15 Accordingly, they believe that period pain arises as a consequence of irregularity in this flow of energy. At this point, acupuncture isassumed to open these channels. 

Acupressure is a technique used for acupuncture. Other methods of acupuncture are skin-penetration inclusive such as inserting needles into channels. However, acupressure involves only pressure, without skin penetration.16 For the treatment of dysmenorrhea, there are two points called the Sanyinjiao (SP6)and the DiJi (SP8), where the acupressure is applied and its effect can last up to 2 hours.15,17

Changing your lifestyle

Changing your lifestyle can help with the pain of menstrual cramps. Eating healthier and frequent exercise are some ways that can help.. However, it is important to avoid stressful conditions as an increase in stress hormones increases the  contractions in your muscles. Thus, increasing the frequency of cramps. 


In summary, natural remedies for pain relief are highly effective in easing menstrual pain as they are safe and effective. It is also easy to incorporate into your daily life with ingredients commonly available so it is accesible to many. However, if you show signs of secondary dysmenorrhea, it is recommended to see a doctor. 


  1. Jiao M, Liu X, Ren Y, Wang Y, Cheng L, Liang Y, et al. Comparison of Herbal Medicines Used for Women’s Menstruation Diseases in Different Areas of the World. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2022 Feb 4;12. 
  2. Armour M, Smith CA, Steel KA, Macmillan F. The effectiveness of self-care and lifestyle interventions in primary dysmenorrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2019 Jan 17;19(1). Available from:
  3. Iacovides S, Avidon I, Bentley A, Baker FC. Reduced quality of life when experiencing menstrual pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 2013 Nov 25;93(2):213–7.
  4. 4.Nagy H, Khan MA. Dysmenorrhea [Internet]. PubMed. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020. Available from:
  5. Adib Rad H, Basirat Z, Bakouei F, Moghadamnia AA, Khafri S, Farhadi Kotenaei Z, et al. Effect of Ginger and Novafen on menstrual pain: A cross-over trial. Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology [Internet]. 2018 Dec [cited 2019 Jun 16];57(6):806–9. Available from: 
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  7.  Mooventhan A, Nivethitha L. Scientific evidence-based effects of hydrotherapy on various systems of the body. North American Journal of Medical Sciences [Internet]. 2014 May;6(5):199. Available from: 
  8. IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk to Humans. Introduction [Internet]. International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2012. Available from:
  9. Xu Y, Yang Q, Wang X. Efficacy of herbal medicine (cinnamon/fennel/ginger) for primary dysmenorrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of International Medical Research. 2020 Jun;48(6):030006052093617. Available from:
  10. Najafi N, Khalkhali H, Moghaddam Tabrizi F, Zarrin R. Major dietary patterns in relation to menstrual pain: a nested case control study. BMC Women’s Health. 2018 May 21;18(1).
  11. Nutritional modulation of blood pressure and vascular changes during severe menstrual cramps. Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences [Internet]. 2021 Feb 1;16(1):93–101. Available from: 
  12. ‌Armour M, Ee CC, Naidoo D, Ayati Z, Chalmers KJ, Steel KA, et al. Exercise for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2019 Sep 20;(9). Available from:
  13. Ristiani, Arsyad A, Usman AN, Syamsuddin S, Ahmad M, Sinrang AW. The use of aromatherapy in primary dysmenorrhea. Gaceta Sanitaria. 2021;35:S591–5. Available from:
  14. Ali B, Al-Wabel NA, Shams S, Ahamad A, Khan SA, Anwar F. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systematic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine [Internet]. 2015 Aug;5(8):601–11. Available from:
  15. Woo HL, Ji HR, Pak YK, Lee H, Heo SJ, Lee JM, et al. The efficacy and safety of acupuncture in women with primary dysmenorrhea. Medicine. 2018 Jun;97(23):e11007. Available from:
  16. Alizadeh M, Maryam Shabani Nashtaei, Kamali S, Ramin Majlesi. The effect of acupressure at the Sanyinjiao point (SP6) on primary dysmenorrhea in students resident in dormitories of Tabriz. 2011 Jan 1. Available from:
  17. Chen S, Miao Y, Nan Y, Wang Y, Zhao Q, He E, et al. The Study of Dynamic Characteristics of Acupoints Based on the Primary Dysmenorrhea Patients with the Tenderness Reflection on Diji (SP 8). Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2021 Apr 26];2015. Available from: 
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Selun Ilseven

Masters of Cancer Research and Precision Oncology- MSc, University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Selun, with a robust foundation in genetics, cancer research, and precision oncology, she combines her extensive scientific knowledge with years of expertise in science writing, communication, and managing scientific societies. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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