About 80% of women suffer from menstrual cramping every month
Cramping pain during menstruation or PMS ( Pre-menstrual syndrome ) is very common among many women in this generation. Some women experience excruciating pain during menstruation, knocking them down to be on the bed or couch from several hours to the whole day. I can very much understand this problem as I did suffer with Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a condition similar to PMS but with more intense and severe symptoms.
I used to have PMS for two weeks before the menstruation. Can you imagine that? Life was hell for me at that time. I pretty much could lead a normal life for only two weeks in every month, afterwards the PMS would ruin my mood, energy, performance, thinking ability & social life quite badly. Now, I no longer have any of the PMS symptoms except of feeling dull right before the menstruation.
In this article, I aim to write about why women experience painful cramping and how the herb called CRAMP BARK can bring a great relief to cramping pain in the uterus.
Why cramping pain?
One of the leading cause for menstrual cramping pain is STAGNATION. I am talking about blood stagnation in the pelvic area. Blood flow is utmost important for our body. When this blood doesn't move freely, it will not only cause nutrient & oxygen deficiency but also pain. This is one of the over looked reason for the cramping pain many women experience.
There are couple of reason why blood flow to the uterus and pelvic area can be stagnated. Condition such as prolapsed uterus ( uterus drops out of the actual position due to weak pelvic muscles ), endometriosis & endometrium ( tissue growth outside & inside the uterus ), imbalanced female hormone ( estrogen & progesterone ), toxic & poor functional liver, calcium & magnesium deficiency, stress & low blood pressure can all be reasons for menstrual cramping pain. Let me help you to break it down.
This condition happens when the ligaments holding the uterus to the pelvic cavity is weak due to nutrient deficiency in the body. This condition can be related to poor nutrient absorption that is caused by digestive issues and improper diet.
Endometriosis & Endometrium (Fibroid)
This condition is caused by toxic accumulation in the uterus, mainly in the form of synthetic estrogen that comes from food sources like chicken meat, beef meat, plastic food ware, hormone therapy & hormone pills. Many farm raised animals are fed with growth hormone similar to estrogen in order to make them grow faster for high revenue in a shorter period of time. As a result, many people are taking in these synthetic estrogenic hormones through the meat they eat.
Plastic container like soft food tupper ware & water bottles contain a chemical substance called BPA that can mimic the estrogen in our body. This is because their chemical structure is pretty much similar to the estrogen structure. Therefore, all kinds of man-made hormones & hormone look alike chemicals ARE HARMFUL to the human body. They compete with the natural hormones in our body. Their abundant presence can cause unwanted cell growth not only in women's uterus but also outside of it.
Poor liver function
To have a super healthy and a complete toxic free liver at out present time is almost impossible to achieve. Toxicity is in everything we use today. From food to water, skin care, perfume, make-up, the air we breath and many other countless thing. The liver is the major site for hormone metabolism. Estrogen that is not properly broken down by the liver will remain in the body and become highly toxic. Therefore, an healthy liver is very important for a proper hormonal function of the body.
Stress & magnesium deficiency
Magnesium is known as the anti-stress mineral. Magnesium helps us to cope with stress, but too much stress and too little magnesium intake through food can cause severe magnesium deficiency in the body. Magnesium is highly needed for the uterus during menstruation. As the uterus contract to shed blood during menstruation, the magnesium plays its role by relaxing the muscles of the uterus. A lack in magnesium can cause cramping in the uterus.
Low blood pressure
Long term low blood pressure can cause poor blood circulation in the body and that includes the uterus muscle, especially if there are a number of blockages in the uterus or fallopian tube.
Now let's see how cramp bark is used for managing the uterus cramping pain
Cramp bark (Viburnum Opulus)
Cramp bark is a shrub that grows in many European, North America and North East Asian countries. Cramp bark is an ancient herb that is very beneficial for all kinds of cramping pain, especially for the uterus. Mostly the bark of this shrub is used for the medicinal purpose though the berries does contain the anti-cramp medicinal qualities in small amount.
My experience with the cramp bark was amazing. One day I had a severe cramping in my stomach that lasted for several hours. Having forgotten that I actually harvested some cramp bark, after many hours of suffering, I realized that I have cramp bark and should make a decoction and drink that. After drinking the cramp bark decoction, not even 10 minutes later, the strong cramping pain stopped like a magic and I felt so normal.
Cramp bark contains antispasmodic volatile oils & constituent called scopoletin that work to relax the cramping uterus. Cramp bark also has a great relaxing and stimulating properties to the nerves system, thus making it easier to manage the cramping pain.(1)
Cramp bark is also good to clear uterine congestion. Many women experience bloating before menstruation. This is a sign of uterine congestion caused by toxic accumulation. Toxic collection in the uterus can lead to many health issues such as endometriosis, fibroid and ovarian cysts.
Cramp bark can be taken as a tincture or decoction.
If cramp bark fails to relieve the cramping pain, then the pain you experience during menstruation is probably not due to the uterine muscle spasm but could be due to inflammation or irritation in the uterus or ovaries caused by infection and cysts.
Where to buy cramp bark?
Mostly you can buy cramp bark tincture from online herbal stores. Please make sure you buy from trustworthy stores & good brands. You can also find cramp bark preparation from Clinical Herbalists or by visiting Naturopathic doctors.
(1) Priest, A. W., & Priest, L. R. (1982). Herbal medication. A Clinical and Dispensary Handbook. London: LN Fowler & Co. Ltd.