Menstrual cramps are normal and generally benign, but that doesn't mean they're any fun to endure. Instead of popping painkillers all day, you might try a natural herbal remedy to treat the pain and discomfort. Many herbal treatments also may help ease the bloating, water retention and gas that can accompany your period.
Lemon balm tea is good for relieving both the pain of menstrual cramping and the bloating and digestive upset that sometimes accompanies it. Use 1 ounce of fresh leaves or 1 teaspoon dried leaf per cup of water and drink two or three times a day.
Ginger tea also helps relieve both bloating and cramping. Use two tsp. freshly grated ginger root per cup of water, or use a commercial herbal tea product. Ginger can also be used in a hot compress applied directly to the lower back or abdomen to help increase circulation and relax the muscles. Boil 6 ounce of fresh ginger root in 1 quart of water for about 15 minutes, then soak a washcloth or small towel in the infusion. When it is cool enough to handle, wring out gently and place directly on the skin.
Raspberry leaf tea is used as a general female reproductive tonic. Use 1 teaspoon of dried leaf per cup of water to make the infusion; commercial herbal brands are also widely available.
Try an herbal bath to soothe cramps. Mix 1 quart of ginger tea and 1 quart of chamomile tea with your bath water and soak for as long as you like. In this case, it's probably more efficient to use herbal tea bags for the brews.
Massage, Yoga and Acupuncture
A lower back massage can ease menstrual cramping in that area. You might also consider consulting a licensed acupuncturist. Preliminary data published in "BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology" indicates acupuncture may be more effective than over-the-counter pain relievers in countering menstrual cramps. Both yoga and simple stretching can also relieve mild cramping. Try hip circles with 15 or 20 repetitions both clockwise and counterclockwise.