It’s an all-too familiar scene: The week of your period is here, and the cramps are hitting – hard. Your heating pad, bottle of ibuprofen, and bar of chocolate (the fancy kind, you know you deserve to treat yourself) are all working overtime to help you feel better. But have you thought about adding tea to your menstrual self-care arsenal? A little herbal remedy might be just the thing to take you from crampy and cranky to calm and comforted (well, as much as possible).
It all comes back to Ayurveda – one of the world’s oldest holistic healing practices. Balance of spirit, body, and mind is the end goal, and each person’s needs are unique according to their balance of doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha, or air, fire, or earth dominant). “Ayurveda sees each patient as the individual,” says Steve Schwartz, founder of Art of Tea and longtime student of Ayurvedic medicine. The use of herbal and botanical remedies is a big part of the practice, which means tea reigns supreme.
Just like anything ayurvedic, choosing a tea that will help with your symptoms is a very unique and tailored thing, depending on what you need to get to a balanced state. A good starting point is to find a blend that contains Shatavari. “Shatavari is traditionally used for mood balancing, menstrual cramps and immunity,” says Schwartz. This adaptogenic herb is actually a member of the asparagus family, and has a sweet and bitter taste. While this is a great supplement for general stress during hormonal changes, there are a few other superstar ingredients to incorporate into your routine. “Ayurveda suggests trying ginger for nausea and turmeric for inflammation,” says Schwartz, “and chamomile has been shown to have calming effects.”
While the ingredients themselves are healing , there’s another benefit of brewing a hot cup of tea. Not only is holding and sipping a warm mug of tea super comforting, the process of preparing it can be just as soothing. “The biggest benefit of tea is the mindful practice of making a pot of tea,” says Schwartz. “Simply allowing the body and mind to rest and allowing the time to reflect and be in the process is a grounding and rejuvenative experience.” So next time you’re in need of a little grounding, try brewing a pot of tea. It may not cure cramps completely, but if it can help? Hey, we’ll take it.