gingerroot1When you think of having your period, do images of you wincing in pain from menstrual cramps immediately spring to mind?

Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, Motrin and Aleve are the go-to cramp remedy for millions of women.

However, if you can’t or don’t want to take these medications due to allergies, stomach bleeding or other concerns, what can you do to get similar relief?

Try popping a 250 mg. ginger powder supplement up to four times daily during your period.

In a 2009 double-blind study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 150 college-aged women were given either 250 mg. of ginger rhizome powder, 400 mg. of ibuprofen or 250 mg. of mefenamic acid (both NSAIDs) four times daily for three days starting from the onset of menstruation to compare pain relief outcomes.

The result: Ginger was just as effective at easing cramp pain as the NSAID remedies. 

Better yet, more women in the ginger group became completely pain-free than those who took the OTC medications.

What’s the science behind it? Ginger contains compounds that reduce inflammation, decrease painful spasms in the uterus and block the production of prostaglandins–hormone-like chemicals that contribute to period pain.

You can find ginger powder supplements in health stores and online at Vitacost.com.

Note: Talk to your doctor before taking ginger if you have diabetes, a heart condition or bleeding disorder. Check drug interactions and side effects at WebMD.com.

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