fantasyQuick: If you had uncomfortable menstrual cramps and could choose between using an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory or an ordinary kitchen herb to quell the pain, which would you pick?

If you’re looking to avoid the side effects that come with NSAIDs (like stomach bleeding and nausea), if (like me) you can’t take anti-inflammatories or you simply prefer natural remedies, you’d probably pick the herb.

Which is why this new study in the Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine comparing the painkilling effect of the herb thyme (Thymus vulgaris) versus ibuprofen on menstrual cramps is such great news:

In the triple-blind clinical study, researchers examined the effects of 200 mg. of ibuprofen, 25 drops of the essential oil thyme (Thymus vulgaris) diluted in a 2% solution and a placebo given every six hours to 84 college students at the onset of menstrual cramp pain.

What they found: Thyme eased menstrual cramp discomfort more effectively than the ibuprofen–reducing pain intensity from moderate to mild.

Credit goes to certain compounds in the herb–thymol and carvacrol–that have an antispasmodic effect on smooth muscles, relaxing the uterus.

Want to try it for yourself? The easiest way is to simply brew a cup of thyme tea, which tastes a bit peppery, lemony and minty, and is available in prepared teabags or as dried loose tea leaves at health food stores and on Amazon.com.

Once menstrual cramps begin, sip one cup, then another six hours later if pain continues.

If you try it, let me know how it worked for you!

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