A Chinese Remedy for Menstrual Cramps with Roses

A girl sitting on a bed holding a cup of Chinese remedy tea in her hands.

Menstrual cramps, a.k.a primary dysmenorrhea, is the most common gynecological condition affecting women all over the world. It is thought to be linked with excessive levels of hormones named prostaglandins.

Most women in reproductive age experience the symptoms of either a stabbing painful sensation in the lower abdomen, intermittent spasmodic pain that can irradiate to the inner tights and lower back, debility, or all of those combined. Some women may experience more severe symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache, and so on.

There exists one Chinese remedy formula from traditional medicine that makes for a simple and natural herbal infusion that almost anyone can take. It’s delicious, aromatic, warming, and full of powerful phyto-bioactive compounds.

Table of Contents

Treating Menstrual Cramps with Traditional Medicine

The therapeutic approach of the Chinese traditional medicine system is based on the yin-yang theory. Chinese herbal formulas are traditionally used not only in China but also in places like Japan and South Korea, where you can get a herbal prescription from a Conventional Medicine physician.

In the West, Chinese herbal medicines are usually prescribed by a traditional medicine doctor after individual diagnosis. A correct diagnosis is indispensable for the prescription of any herbal medicine. Herbal formulations contain drugs with potent active principles that can have hazardous effects when taken in the wrong conditions or dosage.

Some of the herbs used in classic Chinese medicine are safe enough to be allowed for domestic consumption. If you look now in your kitchen you’ll probably find several medicinal ingredients among your spices and infusions.

Prevention and Treatment of Primary Dysmenorrhea

The symptoms of menstrual cramps start before menstruation, lasting up to day two of the menstrual period. A paper by A S Coco (1999) points out that unlike secondary dysmenorrhea, primary dysmenorrhea is necessarily not linked to any other gynecological condition such as chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, fibroids, or any other one.

From the traditional viewpoint, prevention is always better than treatment and sometimes the two can go hand-in-hand. The first step to healing any health problem is to make sure we have our basic health needs covered. After that we can choose whatever treatment we prefer.

Exercise

There are a number of scientific studies pointing to the benefits of regular physical exercises such as stretching, yoga, and aerobic exercise in the treatment of dysmenorrhea. Exercising is a pre-requisite for health in general, as nothing else can efficiently replace it.

Nutrition

It’s important to make sure that we get all the nutrients our bodies need from a rich diet. If you aren’t sure about how to do this, then you should look for a nutrition professional who can work with you to find a diet that is suited to your needs.

There are many scientific papers indicating the use of nutritional supplements in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. One systematic review mentions studies on the efficacy of vitamin B1, magnesium, omega 3, and other micronutrients that help reducing pain through different mechanisms in patients with dysmenorrhea.

These and other studies point to the relevance of appropriate nutrition for the maintenance of health in general. In traditional Chinese medicine, diet is considered a therapeutic means for preventing and healing diseases.

External Therapies

The external treatment for menstrual cramps according to Chinese medicine is acupuncture. Acupuncture for dysmenorrhea can help to relieve the pain, reduce irritability and regulate mood.

Other effective external therapies for dysmenorrhea available are transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, thermotherapy, and kinesio taping.

Grandma’s Chinese Remedy

Not all medicinal herbs and plants can cause health problems when taken in reasonable amounts. Most natural foods have small quantities of bioactive ingredients.

We can use herbs we find in the supermarket to make our own remedy for menstrual cramps. Nonetheless, it takes the right combination and dosage for it to be effective.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon bark (Gui Zhi) has a multitude of uses in Chinese medicine. It is a Warm and diaphoretic herb that helps to eliminate pain by unobstructing the meridians and promoting the circulation of qi and Blood. Cinnamon unblocks the flow of qi in the thorax and helps in the elimination of menstrual blood.

Dry Ginger

Dry ginger in TCM is called Gan Jiang, and it has different therapeutic applications from fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang)Gan Jiang is Hot. It’s the primary Chinese ingredient used to warm the body when there’s aversion to cold, cold extremities, weakness and pain in the lower back with a sensation of cold, impotence, frequent urination, abdominal pain that improves with pressure and heat, loss of appetite, and loose stools.

The combination of Gan Jiang (dry ginger) and Gui Zhi (cinnamon) is found in many Chinese formulas. The effect of the synergy created by this combination is compared to the effect of the aconite, but without toxicity.

Rose petals

Rosebuds (Mei Gui Hua) are Warming, and according to the Chinese phytotherapy system, it has a tropism for the Liver and Spleen, penetrating mainly the qi aspect of those organs.

Menstrual blood in TCM comes from the Liver, and menstruation is closely related to this zangMei Gui Hua is utilized in Chinese traditional medicine in the treatment of irregular menstruation, menstrual cramps, and epigastric distention.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus flower (Mu Jin Hua) has a Cool quality and is used in TCM in gynecology for the treatment of leukorrhea. Its Cool quality balances the formula.

A Chinese Remedy for Menstrual Cramps with Roses

Servings

3

servings
Prep time

10

minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 g of rosebuds (rosa rugosa)

  • 5 - 8 g of Hibiscus flower

  • 1 - 4 g of Ginger powder

  • 1 - 4 g of Cinnamon powder

Directions

  • Strip the petals from the rosebuds to optimize the infusing process.

  • Boil from 250 to 350 ml of water.

  • Add the water to a recipient with a hermetic lid, in case you have not yet done so, then add all the herbs, closing the lid until your infusion is at room temperature.

    Notes

    This formula should be taken at the onset of the menstrual symptoms, and will last for three days. You should warm up the infusion again before drinking, but don’t allow it to boil. Divide the infusion into three equal portions and take one serving on the first day, one on the second, and the last one on the third day. If you need a little sweeter flavor use honey. Never use sugar in your herbal remedies.

    References

    1. Jahangirifar M, Taebi M, Dolatian M. The effect of Cinnamon on primary dysmenorrhea: A randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 Nov;33:56-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.08.001. Epub 2018 Aug 15. PMID: 30396627.

    2. Chen CX, Barrett B, Kwekkeboom KL. Efficacy of Oral Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:6295737. doi: 10.1155/2016/6295737. Epub 2016 May 5. PMID: 27274753; PMCID: PMC4871956.

    3. Tseng YF, Chen CH, Yang YH. Rose tea for relief of primary dysmenorrhea in adolescents: a randomized controlled trial in Taiwan. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2005 Sep-Oct;50(5):e51-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2005.06.003. PMID: 16154059.

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