Rx for Menstrual Cramps


Does monthly pain have you dreaming of life without periods? A few key nutritional changes might bring the relief you need.

Niacin (Vitamin B3) Decreased menstrual pain among 87.5 percent of women in clinical trials, possibly by diminishing vasospasm in uterine arteries. Take 100mg twice daily throughout the month, and 100mg every two to three hours during episodes of menstrual cramps.

Vitamin E Eases menstrual pain and cyclic breast pain; antioxidant. Take 150-800 IU per day.

Calcium Helps muscles maintain normal tone; deficiencies can cause cramping. Take 800-1,000mg per day.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory. Help balance excess of omega-6 fatty acids common in American diet. Take 1,080mg eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and 720mg decosahexanoic acid (DHA) per day; also take 500-1,000mg of evening primrose oil up to three times per day.

Valerian Sedative, antispasmodic. Take 1 teaspoon of tincture every three to four hours as needed for pain.

Crampbark and Black Haw Uterine relaxants and general antispasmodics. Take one-half teaspoon crampbark tincture every two to three hours, and one-quarter teaspoon of black haw tincture every two to four hours.

Black Cohosh Relaxes uterus; especially beneficial in cases of PMS, anxiety, and irritability, or delayed menstrual flow. Take one-quarter to one-half teaspoon tincture every two to four hours.

Source: Tori Hudson, N.D., in Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Keats, 1999).