Chinese Herbs for Menstrual Pain Relief?

Menstrual cramps are a very common problem for most adolescent girls and women. The cramps can be mild, moderate, or very severe. In fact, they are the single most common cause of days missed from school and work. Around 80 percent of the time, cramps are part of the primary dysmenorrhea syndrome. Cramps are caused by hormones called prostaglandins, which cause painful cramping of the uterus during menstruation. The production of prostaglandins in the uterus is stimulated by the hormone progesterone which is made by the ovary after ovulation has occurred. These prostaglandins can affect other organs as well. Frequently, back pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and diarrhea accompany the menstrual cramps. These symptoms may begin a day or so before the menstrual flow begins; they usually peak by the second day of flow. Medications are the single best treatment for cramps.
Like many other conditions, cramps may be made worse by fatigue from too many late nights and by anxiety, and getting enough rest before a period is due can help prevent bad cramps. Menstrual cramps have been around for thousand of years, and so do many non-medical treatments.
For a lot of women who experience painful menstrual cramps, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) or oral contraceptives are the most common method of menstrual pain relief treatment. However these treatments do not always provide the desired relief. Some women prefer to avoid the side effects of such medications. Chinese herbal medicine (CHM), a non-drug alternative, can be the answer for menstrual pain relief that most women seek.
CHM has been used for many centuries in China. It has been used in public schools to treat unexplained cramps as a menstrual pain relief. A study conducted by researchers has shown evidence that CHM may be used as a possible treatment for menstrual pain. Experts believe that the pain relief the herbs provide may stem from their influence on hormones and micro-circulation hemorrheology. Still, more research needs to be done in order to establish conclusive evidence of the pain-relieving effects of CHM.
But one striking sign comes from 39 randomized controlled trials that together involved 3,475 women. CHM gave significant improvements in menstrual pain relief when compared to pharmaceutical drugs. It also reduced overall symptoms. The research revealed that CHM was also better at alleviating pain than acupuncture or heat compression.
Xiaoshu Zhu, the lead author of the report who works at the Center for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney in Australia said that all available measures of effectiveness confirmed the overall superiority of CHM to other kinds of treatments. He also concluded that there were no indications that CHM can cause any adverse effects.
Most trials involved complex combinations of several herbs in a traditional cooked style. Use of the herbs usually began five to seven days before menstruation and continued for another 10 to 15 days. Typically, the trials either compared one form of CHM with another or compared CHM with more conventional therapy. Trials also included the use of placebo, acupuncture, and heat packs.
Zhu and his colleagues found that individually tailored combinations worked better than the more common OTC herbal remedies, but they refrained from explicitly concluding if one was ultimately more beneficial.
While no women reported significant side effects, an important point given that some patients seeking menstrual pain relief cannot tolerate Western NSAIDs or are not good candidates for birth control. The researchers also added the caveat that "the safety of Chinese herbal medicine in clinical practice was not addressed adequately in the reviewed trials." Apparently, only two of the trials had "adequate methodological quality" and the overall reporting of any adverse reactions were not strong. Still, many researchers believe that the exploration of Chinese Herbal Medicine as a potential source of pain relief is worth a try.

Users Reading this article are also interested in:
Top Searches on Herbs and Spices:
Chinese Herbs Chinese Herbal
About The Author, Cecill Artates
Cecill Artates is a writer, athlete, and women's health advocate. She is also active in promoting sports and health among women and the youth in disadvantaged communities. The author is also currently researching on various alternative and natural medications.DrugstoreTM.com is a reputable online drug store. From sexual health to a woman's health, sleeping aids to weight loss pills, our online pharmacy offers convenient customer access to various health medicines, including an array of health product and medicare prescription drug. Buy Soma | Buy Tramadol