For many, cramps are an everyday (but extremely debilitating) part of life. This could be stomach, muscle or leg cramps.
A pretty common reflex is to reach for the painkillers to ease the discomfort, but have you considered a cup of herbal tea?
We’ve dug deep into the scientific research and found nine of the best teas to reduce and combat those horrible cramps:
1. Peppermint Tea
Enjoying a nice big meal can sometimes come at a painful price…and we’re not talking about the bill!
If you’re looking for a tea for stomach cramps, there’s a rescue remedy at your fingertips, peppermint.
The menthol found in this tea acts like a mild anesthetic, blocking pain and nausea signals by numbing the nerves in your gut.
It is also a relaxant, causing the valve between your stomach and oesophagus to relax so any trapped wind escapes upwards.
You might hear a little burp as the pressure decreases, but you’ll feel a whole lot better afterwards and hopefully cramp free.
2. Cramp Bark Tea
With a name like ‘cramp bark’ it’s unsurprising that this tea is a great aid for all types of cramping.
It’s best known for tackling inflammation and pain in the uterus that can leave you in agony.
Many studies have proven cramp bark tea can help to prevent cramps in smooth muscles and thereby reduce muscle tension.
The bark is also a muscle relaxant, easing pain and stopping cramps dead in their tracks.
3. Fennel Tea
Back in the Middle Ages, fennel was hung over doorways to protect homes from evil spirits.
Today it’s known for its medicinal properties, and is used to treat many ailments. Herbalists believe fennel can particularly work wonders for digestion.
It helps to relax muscles in the gastrointestinal system, which in turn cuts down gas, bloating and stomach cramps.
And that’s not all:
Medical News Today describes how teas made from fennel seeds can be used to treat a whole raft of illnesses that affect the gastrointestinal system.
Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
If you’re suffering with menstrual cramps, you need to add fennel tea to your shopping list.
This is down to the fact it contains ‘anethole’, which is a compound with an anti-spasm effect.
A study from 2012 involving sixty females receiving either fennel or a placebo, revealed that fennel is an effective herbal drug for treating cramping.
4. Ginger Tea
Did you know that overuse of your muscles, dehydration or holding a position for too long can cause a muscle cramp?
Ginger tea packs a powerful punch when it comes to cramping discomfort.
You’re going to want to pour yourself multiple cups as researchers at the University of Georgia found that daily ginger consumption can reduce muscle pain caused by exercise.
Participants in the research were given either two grams of heat-treated ginger or a placebo for 11 consecutive days.
On the eighth day they performed 18 extensions of the elbow flexor, with a pretty heavy weight to bring on a light muscle injury to the arm.
Results showed that the ginger-drinking group reduced exercise pain by a staggering 25%.
5. Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaf tea is exactly as the name describes, tea made from the leaves of red raspberries and they’re brimming with nutrients.
They not only provide B vitamins and vitamin C, but they also contain a number of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron.
It’s a great tea to have in your cupboard, as it’s absolutely delicious and good for your overall health.
Raspberry leaf tea is also one of the best teas for cramps.
This is down to the fact it has anti-inflammatory properties. The European Medicines Agency produced a paper that revealed these properties can lead to a reduction in muscle spasms that cause cramps.
6. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea has been popular through the centuries. History shows it was used by the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians.
Here’s the science:
When you drink chamomile you actually raise glycine levels in your urine. Glycine is a compound associated with relieving muscle spasms, that also acts as a nerve relaxant.
7. Green Tea
Green tea is jam-packed with so much goodness it’s a ‘must-have’ in your pantry. Don’t just take our word for it though!
Within green tea you’ll find the micro-nutrient Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to help defeat cramps.
One study involving 33 women has proven how it can be used to treat uterine fibroids, which are a common cause of lower abdomen pain.
Not only did consumption of green tea significantly reduce the pain severity levels, but it improved anaemia.
What you might not know, and a massive fact alert here:
Severe anemia may cause painful lower leg cramps during exercise. This makes green tea a win-win remedy.
8. Cinnamon Tea
Cinnamon is a go-to tea if you’re suffering with an upset stomach and cramps.
It can break down fats in your intestinal tract and stimulate movement. This will eradicate the bloated feeling you’re experiencing and help your digestive system revert back to normal.
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are going to be interested in cinnamon.
The Journal of the American College of Nutrition discovered that cinnamon may decrease inflammation for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Plus inflammation around the joints and tendons in adjacent muscles can actually make rheumatoid arthritis patients more prone to muscle cramps.
A randomized double-blind clinical trial involving 36 women with rheumatoid arthritis looked at the effects of cinnamon.
One group was the recipient of four capsules of 500mg of cinnamon and the other a daily placebo. Cinnamon was proven to significantly ease pain.
Another study published in Pharacognosy Research, looked at the effect on rats and concluded that the spice has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
An essential drink to reduce inflammation that causes cramping.
9. Cardamom Tea
Cardamom is an intensely aromatic and flavorsome tea that can help with cramping, stomach pain and indigestion.
Amazingly cardamom is beneficial for other ailments, like depression, bad breath and sexual dysfunction. Definitely one to add to your shopping list!
Suffering from menstrual cramps in particular? There are some other teas to pick up next time you’re at the store — find the full list here.