Men and women facing fertility-health concerns or hormone imbalance often deal with an unwanted consequence: pain. While herbal remedies for pain may not be the first choice that comes to mind when you’re in pain, they can help.
For many people, using pain relieving drugs like aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, eases symptoms, but unfortunately, comes with side effects and risks over the long-term. Taking high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract, harm the liver or even lead to bleeding ulcers. People are left asking: Is there a better way?
Fortunately, in many cases, there is! For people affected by minor to moderate pain from hormone-related headaches, fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, prostate enlargement, or menstrual cramps, lifestyle approaches along with herbs may be all that you need for relief.
For severe pain from injuries, surgery, migraines, or serious reproductive inflammation, herbs and lifestyle changes may not be enough by themselves for relief but can contribute to faster recovery. Pain-relieving herbs can even help some people cut back on their pain medications. However, working with a clinical herbalist, naturopath or integrative physician is recommended for these situations.
Herbs for Pain Management
Here are a few of my favorite herbs for pain management, and how to use them for comfort and relief. Note: The following herbs are suggested for fertility-related pain, and not for pregnancy unless otherwise noted.
Jamaican dogwood bark (Piscidia erythrina): Jamaican dogwood is one of the most potent, non-narcotic pain relievers available. It’s an especially helpful herb for spasmodic pain, menstrual cramps, and pain from ovarian cysts, fibroids or endometriosis. It’s best used short term in capsule combinations with muscle relaxing herbs like Black Haw bark (Viburnum prunifolium) or Kava Kava root (Piper methysticum).
White willow bark (Salix alba): White Willow works well by itself or in herbal combinations for relief of hormone-related headaches or mild inflammation in the reproductive system. For the strongest effects, look for white willow bark as a powdered extract or in combination with Ginger root (Zingiber Officinale) or Meadowsweet leaf (Filipendula ulmaria).
Ginger root (Zingiber officinale): Ginger is the quintessential herb for inflammation and has antioxidant properties for fertility protection. It can be taken in so many ways: in teas, herbal syrups, homemade ginger ale, extracts or capsules. It combines well with other pain-relieving herbs or can be taken by itself. Ginger is also a fabulous anti-nausea, pain-relieving herb for pregnancy. For pregnancy purposes, use as directed by a midwife or clinical herbalist.
Turmeric root (Curcuma longa): Turmeric stands alongside ginger as one of the most popular and effective herbal anti-inflammatories. Turmeric helps to quickly reduce inflammation in the entire body and acts as a potent antioxidant for fertility health. To learn more, read The Benefits of Turmeric for Fertility Health) Like ginger, there are many ways to enjoy the benefits of turmeric. You can use turmeric in teas, golden milk, a turmeric latte, herbal extracts or capsules.
Kava Kava root (Piper methysticum): For reproductive system cramps or muscle spasms, look to kava kava for soothing comfort. Kava kava is a natural muscle relaxer and stress reliever. It can be taken in a traditional kava drink, tea, capsules or extracts. Note: Kava kava is safe for general use, but should not be combined with alcohol, sedatives or prescription drugs that affect the liver. Ask your doctor if you’re unsure.
Black Haw bark/ Crampbark (Viburnum prunifolium, Viburnum opulus): These two herbs are in the same genus, and are used interchangeably by herbalists. Black Haw and Crampbark help to ease menstrual cramps, painful intercourse, and discomfort related to gynecological exams. They may also be useful for threatened miscarriage in early pregnancy where there is cramping but no cervical dilation. Black Haw and Crampbark can be taken in an extract combination, or in a uterine-calming herbal formula with Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens) and Oat flowers (Avena sativa). Consult with a clinical herbalist or midwife for pregnancy and postpartum care with Black Haw and Crampbark.
Castor Oil packs are another option for reproductive system pain, and are a great choice for people who don’t like to take herbs internally. Castor oil packs help to relax the muscles and increase circulation to the pelvic region. Use Castor Oil Packs along with Self-Fertility Massage in a natural fertility program for the best results.
Lifestyle Approaches and Complementary Therapies for Pain Management
In addition to herbs, you can reduce pain with your diet choices. Following a Fertility Diet eliminates food triggers like excess caffeine, processed foods, hormone-injected meat and dairy, and sugar that magnify pain and inflammation.
- Women often notice that menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms are greatly reduced from a Fertility Diet alone.
- Men find eating anti-inflammatory foods in a Male Fertility Diet eases prostate swelling, minor headaches and joint pain, too.
Massage therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and physical therapy are also ideal for chronic pain relief. Practitioners of these approaches have years of training in pain management and you can count on them for results.
Consider natural options…
If you’re in pain related to hormone imbalance or a fertility concern, consider natural options for support when possible. Often, they may be all that is needed to turn around a problem, and they come without the risks and side effects of pain-relieving drugs.
- Abernathy, S. (2017). UteriCalm for Painful Menstruation and Reproductive System Pain. Retrieved from: http://natural-fertility-info.com/utericalm-painful-menstruation-reproductive-pain.html
- Barton, D. (2017). Benefits of Cramp Bark and Black Haw. Retrieved from: http://natural-fertility-info.com/menstruation-cramps-benefits-of-cramp-bark-and-black-haw.html
- Willett, E. (2017). The Benefits of Turmeric for Fertility Health. Retrieved from: http://natural-fertility-info.com/turmeric-for-fertility.html