cinnamon, fennel and ginger all relieve the pain of dysmenorrhea, or painful periodsr

Most women suffer from painful periods. For many, the suffering can be severe. So, wouldn’t it be great if safe, drug free relief could be proven by science? It has!

Several herbs have been proven to be safe and effective for relieving the pain of dysmenorrhea, or painful periods. The most famous may be dong quai. But there are other proven herbs that are much less talked about. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis looked at the research on three of them.

The review included nine placebo-controlled studies of cinnamon, fennel and ginger. There were two studies of cinnamon, three studies of fennel and four studies of ginger.

All three herbs significantly relieved pain intensity. Duration of pain was only reported in three studies, but the results showed that cinnamon was also able to significantly shorten the duration of pain.

The researchers explain that the importance of this review is that the studies they included were of relatively high quality and that it is the first study to put together the research on the three herbs.

Studies have shown that cinnamon not only significantly reduces pain (Complement Ther Clin Pract 2018;33:56-60), it also significantly reduces nausea and vomiting while significantly reducing heavy bleeding (Iran Red Crescent Med J 2015;17:e27032).

A systematic review and meta-analysis of 12 controlled studies of fennel that came out just after this study showed that fennel is significantly better than a placebo at relieving pain and just as good as drugs (Nutrients 2020 Nov 10;12(11):3438).

And a systematic review and  meta-analysis of six controlled studies of ginger also found that the herb was better than placebo and as good as drugs at relieving pain (Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2016;2016:6295737).

So, there is a very wide variety of choice of herbs that are proven to be safe and effective for relieving the pain of painful periods. And that is a relief!


Journal of Internal Medical Research 2020 June;48(6):doi.org/10.1177/0300060520936179


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For much more on treating dysmenorrhea naturally, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia


For comprehensive help with your health, including reproductive health, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven nowLinda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.

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