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Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps are known as “dysmenorrhea”:

What causes dysmenorrhea?

The cramps you feel as a result of dysmenorrhea are caused by uterine contractions (when your uterus tightens and relaxes, allowing blood to leave your uterus).

The lining of your uterus releases special chemicals called “prostaglandins” (pronounced: pross–ta–glan–dins). These chemicals (or hormones) are released from the lining of the uterus and increase the strength of the contractions, especially during the first couple of days of a woman’s menstrual cycle (when levels are high). High levels of prostaglandins may also cause nausea, diarrhea and lightheadedness.

Source: YoungWomensHealth.org

I think I started having menstrual cramps when I was 15 or 16 although I got my first period earlier.

A few days before my period, my whole body feels bloated and of course, I’m super grouchy. PMS.

On the first day, I’d feel dizzy and my stomach would be one tight knot. All I want to do is crawl into bed. On the second day, I would stay in bed as the menstrual flow is the heaviest. Maximum dizziness. On the third day, life starts to feel good again 😀

Since I have an active lifestyle that requires me to climb stairs, drive, handle kids and haul gear, I decided to boil “period soup”, or ba zhen soup, which is nourishing for the female body as it helps to restore red blood cells:

1. Ba Zhen soup

A few days after the menstrual period ends, my mother advised me to boil the “pat chan” (ba zhen) soup in order to replenish the body for all the blood lost.

Ba zhen soup is easy to brew:

  • a chicken thigh
  • ba zhen soup mix (dried Chinese herbs, red dates, black dates and roots)
  • 2 bowls of water

Give the Chinese herbs, dates and roots a good rinse of water. Then, place them and the water into an earthen pot or a slow cooker. Once the mixture is boiled, turn down the fire and simmer gently for about 4 hours. You would get 1 bowl of dark brown (almost black) soup.

The smell is pretty strong and it can be bitter depending on the amount of black and red dates in the soup mix. The dates help to sweeten the soup, making it more palatable :P.

The “ba zhen” soup works well for me IF I have the time to brew the Chinese herbs. I also need to remember to drink a lot of water as it’s a heaty soup.

2. Eu Yan Sang’s Pak Foong Pills

Last month, I was so busy that I did not have a chance to boil the ba zhen soup.

In times like this, I’ll take Eu Yan Sang’s Pak Foong Pills but I hate swallowing the hundreds of tiny black pills that I switched to the big, black blob instead.

The big, black blob actually has a pleasant taste – not bitter at all!

Supports the circulatory system, invigorates Vital Energy, helps alleviate mild symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle, provides the nourishment necessary for mothers after childbirth. Regular consumption can help to strengthen the body, improve the complexion and promotes a feeling of youthfulness.

*danggui – Radix Angelica Sinensis, the dried root of Angelica sinensis (Danggui), is a herb used in Chinese medicine to enrich blood, promote blood circulation and modulate the immune system. It is also used to treat chronic constipation of the elderly and debilitated as well as menstrual disorders. Research has demonstrated that Danggui and its active ingredients, as anti-arthrosclerotic, anti-hypertensive, antioxidant anti-inflammatory agents which would limit platelet aggregation, are effective in reducing the size of cerebral infarction and improving neurological deficit scores.

3. Massages with ginger-based products

Ginger-based products are especially warming and comforting at this time of the month so I decided to go back to natural products.

I love my ginger rubs so ever since I was introduced to Young Living Essential Oils, DiGize has been one of my favourite oils in the premium starter kit:


DiGize™ is a blend of pure Tarragon, Ginger, Peppermint, and other essential oils, designed as ointment that soothe discomforts topically.

Tarragon, Ginger, Peppermint, Juniper, Fennel, Lemongrass, Anise, Patchouli.

Whenever I am having stomach discomforts, I just rub 2-3 drops of Young Living’s DiGize (preferably diluted with 1 tsp of virgin coconut oil or your favorite carrier oil) over my belly and feel relief from inhaling the soothing aroma and the warming sensation on my abdomen area. Bliss…

I have also used DiGize for the little ones and they feel comforted too ^_^

DiGize is one of the 10 bottles found in the Premium Starter Kit (with an aroma diffuser)

(If you’d like to order DiGize or the Premium Essential Kit (12 x 5 ml bottles of essential oils, click here to purchase the Premium Essential Kit, which contains 10 everyday essential oils).

*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.