Tea lovers, this one’s for you. This steeped savior has been used for millennia as a tasty beverage. But did you know it’s also a staple in Ayurvedic medicine? In fact, practitioners believe there’s a tea for any PMS symptom you can imagine. Tea for period cramps? Got it. Tea for anxiety? Yup. Tea for bloating? You guessed it. So, whatever symptoms you’re seeing, there might just be a herbal tea to help.
The stages of your cycle
Regular Hormonas are likely familiar with the stages of their menstrual cycle. But there’s nothing wrong with a refresher every now and again. To whit:
- The Menstruation phase: AKA, your period. This is when you bleed, may experience physical symptoms like cramping and tiredness, and generally feel like crap.
- The Follicular phase: This is when your follicles start maturing those eggs. Chances are, this is the point in your cycle when you feel your best, and have tons more energy and confidence.
- The Ovulation phase – As the name suggests, this is when your most mature egg is released and makes its way to your uterus. You may feel some pain, and you might be a little more emotional than usual.
- The Luteal phase – Once the egg has been released, your Progesterone levels spike, preparing your body for a possible bun. Swollen breasts, headaches, sleep disturbances, low mood, and anxiety are just some of the fun things you might see. Then, if the egg isn’t fertilized, the Menstruation phase starts all over again. Yay!
What’s so great about tea?
What’s NOT so great about tea? If you know any British Hormonas, you’ll know that they hold tea in very high es-tea-m… Sorry. But it’s not just a way to keep warm in British winters.
It really does have actual science-backed benefits. A review of studies on the antidepressant effects of tea consumption found some rather interesting stuff. Higher consumption was associated with a lower risk of depression. More specifically, three cups a day was linked with a 37% decrease in depression risk
The review looked mostly at green and black teas, and found compounds in them, such as L-theanine and L-arginine to have stress-reducing properties. Science aside, though, who doesn’t feel better after a cup of tea?
Tea is a great example of how you can hack your hormones with natural ingredients. At a minimum, herbal teas can be used as a tool to overcome sweet cravings. At best, the good stuff in tea could ease your period cramps and so much more.
Tea for period cramps: What to drink and when…
The Menstrual phase
You’re bleeding. You’re tired. Your uterus feels like a sponge wringing out into your underwear every day. Which means you’ve probably got cramps, tiredness and bloating. If that’s you, the teas you’ll want to rotate to the front of your cupboard are:
Ginger can reduce indigestion and nausea, and is often recommended to pregnant women with morning sickness. But ginger can also have a positive effect on period pain.
In fact, one study found ginger to be as good as anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen, for period cramps. So, if you’re after some natural relief from your monthly aches, this might be the cuppa for you. If your period pains are severe, though, please talk to a healthcare type.
This tea contains menthol, a secret weapon for dealing with all manner of stomach issues. Which means if you experience bloating or diarrhea during this time of the month, then peppermint tea could work wonders. It not only smells incredible, but it can also soothe stomach pain, relieve constipation, and ease the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
The Follicular phase
Oh yes — life is good again! The sun is shining, your period’s finally over, and you’re moving into what most of us consider the best time of the month. Yup, it’s the Follicular phase. Named for the follicles that are currently nursing eggs in your ovaries, it’s all about hormone shifts.
This is pretty much down to a rise in Estrogen, which is produced by said ovaries. Estrogen is essential for maturing your eggs, but it’s also associated with higher energy levels, better mood and generally feeling like a boss.
As a result, the Follicular phase is a great time to get out and do stuff! And if you want to keep that boss feeling all day, here’s a quick tea tip:
Chances are, you’re feeling pretty good at this time in your cycle. So this phase is all about maximizing your bossness and doing all the things you avoided when you were feeling rubbish! As such, Green tea contains a ton of antioxidants and a small amount of caffeine, making it perfect for the job.
Now, while caffeine is often on our ‘Avoid’ list, in this case, we’ll allow it. Caffeine is all but essential these days, and green tea offers a lot of other benefits that make it worth the trouble.
One study found green tea can actually enhance cognitive function and improve memory. Participants who consumed an admittedly very precise 27.5g of green tea every day had more intense brain activity in the areas involved with learning, memory, and decision-making.
So, basically, green tea can keep you feeling fabulous. Which means you can be everywhere, see everyone, and do everything, all thanks to a little green cuppa.
The Ovulation phase
As you’ve probably guessed, the Ovulation phase starts when the dominant follicle expels its egg. The phase continues as the egg moves down your Fallopian tube and into your uterus. At this point, Progesterone is on the rise, while Estrogen is slowly dropping.
And it’s thanks to those changing hormones that you might see a dip in your general mood, or feel a tad more anxious around this time. You might even experience some pain as the follicle bursts open. If the Ovulation phase is difficult for you, we wholeheartedly recommend brewing up:
This tea contains an amino acid — l-theanine — which can reduce anxiety. It’s also been linked to the prevention of cognitive diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which is pretty cool. In addition, Oolong tea is also packed with polyphenols, known to lower inflammation in your body, including your uterus. Score!
The Luteal phase
For lots of us, the Luteal phase is the absolute worst. Spiking Progesterone levels trigger your body’s preparation for a possible pregnancy. And this brings with it some choice symptoms. Ranging from headaches, sugar cravings, and sore boobs, to bloating, sleep issues and mood shifts, they’re all down to PMS.
And if your PMS is driving you round the frickin’ bend, your teas of choice include:
This brew’s star powers are most definitely its well-known relaxation and sleep-inducing properties. It can even improve insomnia. But did you know it can also help with the emotional nightmare that is PMS?
In fact, researchers have found chamomile tea may well reduce your anxiety, depression, or tendency to cry over adverts during this time of the month. And that’s never a bad thing. One for the cupboard indeed.
If sleep or anxiety levels are an issue during your Luteal phase, then it might be worth adding Passionflower tea to your collection. And that’s because it works in a very similar fashion to Chamomile.
Drinking just a cup a day for a week can result in significantly improved sleep. And it gets better. Adding Passionflower to your PMS toolbox can also reduce anxiety. What’s not to love?
The Luteal phase also happens to be the time in our cycle when sugar cravings peak. And while we’re all for a little indulgence, over-eating sweet treats can leave you feeling worse. Brew up a mug of sweet hibiscus tea to keep those cravings at bay!
It’s true that tea can’t solve all your problems. But as a daily ritual that lots of us turn to for comfort, it’s hard to beat. In which case, why not add a little herbal PMS relief to your tea regime? Time to put the kettle on!
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