According to Ayurveda, the menstrual period should happen every 28 days, last about three days and be pain free. That said, if you do face painful periods then here is what you should know and do…
The fact that during our periods we often get mild to severe cramps along with mood swings, lethargy and a general feeling of ill-being means that there is an imbalance in the body, mostly of the kapha or the pitta dosha. With a kapha dosha imbalance, additional symptoms may include headache, nausea, lack of appetite and diarrhea whilst a pitta dosha imbalance many have symptoms such as excessive bleeding, irritability, instable temper and hot flashes.
Ayurveda prescribes rest and relaxation, abstinence from sex, light and easily digestible food as well as plenty of fluid intake to help the cis woman recover from menses. So the simple thing to do when having your period is to try and “slow down.” Your body is convalescing in a way during the menses, so it’s a good thing to take it easy, eat nutritious but easily digestible food, drink water and stick to just light walks for exercise.
Here are five Ayurvedic remedies you can try to tackle those irritating and sometimes even debilitating cramps:
- A hot glass of turmeric milk: Turmeric (haldi) is one herb bursting with all the goodness of nature there is. It’s an anti-inflammatory, a pain-reliever as well as antibacterial and antifungal. A glass of turmeric milk (preferably cow’s milk since it is lower in fat content) at night can alleviate body soreness and cramps. To make the milk, grate 1 teaspoon of raw turmeric in a glass of milk and heat it on low for 4-5 minutes. Add in some honey and drink up.
- Jaggery with carom: Jaggery (gur) and carom or caraway seeds are excellent digestives and will go a long way in fixing any excess vata in the body. Heat 1 teaspoon of ghee in a pan and sprinkle in a pinch of carom seeds. Once they sputter, add in 1 teaspoon crushed jaggery and let it melt. Other than being rather nice to eat, this pasty and sweet concoction will right your stomach for sure.
- Munch on flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are known to balance hormonal levels – consuming 1-2 teaspoons of these a day will counteract any raised prostaglandin levels and those cramps will poof away in no time. You can add them to your salads or simply eat them by themselves.
- Ginger-lemon tea: Ginger is a great digestive aid as well as an anti-inflammatory while lemon detoxifies and flushes the system with a healthy dose of nature’s best antioxidant, vitamin C! Boil 2 teaspoons crushed ginger in 2 cups water. Add in the juice of a lemon and 2 teaspoons honey. Strain and sip through the day to alleviate any digestive issues or cramps.
- Holy basil for pain relief: Holy basil or tulsi is another great hormone regulator and since it restores balance to the body, it will take away those period-related cramps and fatigue, too. Steep a handful of fresh or dried tulsi leaves in 2 cups of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Strain and sip through the day.
I leave you with this thought: in ancient India, when cis-women had their menses, they were often not allowed to cook or do their chores, slept in separate rooms and even were asked to eat simpler foods, abstaining from dairy products and meats. It’s easy enough to pooh at these practices, but there is a deep-seated logic behind this. By letting women off their chores, ancient India gave the womenfolk a much needed break – menstruation is when a woman is releasing all the pranic energy she had stored in order to support fertility. When the fertility does not happen, both the rasa (tissue) and the rakta (blood) dhatu is expelled from her body and at this time, a woman is considered all powerful spiritually and yet physically vulnerable since she is draining herself of the stored energy. By giving her rest, abstaining from sex and by feeding her light, nutritious food – these old practices did exactly what we are asking you to do today for you to have happy, pain-free menses!