Menstrual Pain, Painful Periods – Natural Ayurvedic Herbal Home Remedies

By – Dr JV Hebbar

Menstrual pain or painful periods is quite a common symptom seen in women. In medical terms, it is called dysmenorrhea.
It is of two types – Primary and secondary.

Primary dysmenorrhea

Primary or spasmodic dysmenorrhea:
It is the type wherein there is no definite abnormality in the structure or functions of the pelvic organs.

It is seen predominantly in adolescents, usually within two years of menarche. It occurs due to higher level of tension and anxiety in adolescent women. Usually, young women have a lower threshold of pain, which is one of the cause for this type of pain during menstruation. This may be the reason why this type of dysmenorrhoea diminishes with age.


Here the pain occurs due to dysrhythmic contractions of uterus and uterine hypoxia (deficient oxygen supply).

Menstrual pain is usually cured following pregnancy and vaginal delivery.

In some cases, structural differences in the pelvic organs may lead to primary dysmenorrhoea.  Some of these are as follows:

Closure / narrowing  (stenosis) of the internal opening of the uterus leading to difficulty in the menstrual blood to escape, leading to strong uterine contractions causing pain.

Imbalance in the autonomic nervous control of uterine muscle, leading to irregular uterus contraction and pain.

Inadequate development of uterine muscles leading to inadequate expulsive force, leading to pain.

Clinical features

The pain begins a few hours before or just with the onset of menstruation. The severity of pain usually lasts for a few hours may extend up to 24 hours but rarely extended till two days. The pain is confined to the lower abdomen. Pain may radiate to the back and the inner side of the thigh. Sometimes it is associated with headache, fatigue , diarrhoea, vomiting or vomiting sensation.
In some cases, it is seen together with paleness and cold sweats.


Indulging in sports, Mild herbal analgesic and antispasmodics.

Herbal home remedies

1. Unripe Banana baked in water, skin is peeled off, and the pulp is made into a paste, to be mixed with milk and to be consumed.  To be repeated whenever there is pain.

2. Cassava (Manihot esculenta)  – its powder is mixed with water and is administered for quick pain relief.

3. Root powder of asparagus mixed with  caraway (cuminum syminum)+ sugar and given for quick pain relief.

4. Traditional antispasmodic herbs also include camomile, fennel, and peppermint.

Secondary dysmenorrhea

Secondary type of menstrual cycle pains –
This type of menstruation pain is also called as Congestive dysmenorrhea. It occurs due to underlying pathologies like – infection, pelvic endometriosis, uterine fibroid, endometrial polyp, Intra Uterine Contraceptive devices like Copper T etc.

Nature of pain:
Pain is dull, situated in front and back of the abdomen. It usually appears 3 to 5 days prior to periods  and relieves with the start of bleeding.

Primary and secondary dysmenorrhea Differences

Primary DysmenorrheaSecondary Dysmenorrhea
Seen in young women. No definite underlying pathology. Pain starts during the onset of periods and lasts for one to two days.


Sometimes associated with lack of taste, vomiting sensation etc.

Abdominal examination does not reveal any pathology

Usually seen in women in their 30s. Underlying pathology present. Pain start 4-5 days before periods, and relieved by the onset of bleeding


Not associated with such symptoms

Abdominal examination leads to the detection of an underlying pathology.

In cases of secondary dysmenorrhea, treatment includes finding the hidden cause and treating the same.

For temporary pain relief, the above said home remedies can be adopted.

Addition by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

Arthava Shodhana Kashayam – for cleansing menstrual blood

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Parishishta Prakaranam, 105

  1. Palasha Twak Kashaya – Decoction of bark of Butea monosperma
  2. Kala Tila Kashaya + Kimshuka Kshara – Decoction of Sesamum indicum mixed with alkali of Butea monosperma
  3. Vrikshamla Twak Kashaya – Decoction of Garcinia indica

Benefits – They are highly effective for treating contamination of menstrual blood and for cleansing the menstrual blood. They are also used for treating painful menstruation. Any one of these can be used

Yonishoolahara Kashayam –

This is effective only for vaginal disorders, especially vaginal pain.

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Parishishta Prakaranam, 108

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
RasnaPluchea lanceolataThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served fresh with honey and sugar.1.Vaginal pain  
DevadaruCedrus deodara
BalaSida cordifolia
DarbhaDesmostachya bipinnata
MustaCyperus rotundus
UsiraVetiveria zizanioides
PunarnavaBoerhavia diffusa

15 comments on “Menstrual Pain, Painful Periods – Natural Ayurvedic Herbal Home Remedies


    18/12/2010 - 9:29 am

    my daugter sara who is just 19,she had tried everything including all the herbs what mentioned above.but its true as explained above due to utrus problem of pain sara suffered the last sb from India helped me out.todat sra is normal like had given me mixture of4 herbs 1 wasocium sanctum.thats what i remeber.
    carol /sydney

    Reply to comment
  • Nahid

    01/08/2014 - 6:23 pm

    I have seen huge success with cinnamon tea made with cinnamon powder and hot water only. Try that.

    Reply to comment
  • Sandy

    22/09/2014 - 1:51 pm

    Doctor Hebbar,

    Is it true that during periods women should not have head bath? What other restrictions should be followed during these days?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      22/09/2014 - 5:52 pm

      It’s not true. Excess exposure to wind, sunlight, heavy exercise, long walks, heavy physical activities, high spicy food are best avoided.

      Reply to comment
  • Sandy

    17/11/2014 - 3:45 pm

    Dr Hebbar,

    I have a question which is indirectly linked to above topic. Why are women not allowed to go to temples, hilly areas during these days? Was such thing practiced in ancient times? If God is one, then why don’t all religion follow this? Why women are forced to practice this in the name of God or because of the fear of evil spirits?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      14/12/2014 - 7:42 am

      Thanks for a very good and valid question. See, we have to take time and context into perspective.
      During periods, there is Vata Dosha increase. Hence, the pain, anxiety etc. Whenever there is blood flow out of the body, as in hemorrhage, there is Vata imbalance. So, travelling long distances is not recommended during periods, because, it again increases Vata Dosha.
      During old times, one has to travel by horse or bullock cart to very long distances to visit temple. It would only worsen the Vata Dosha and hurt the lady’s health. Hence she was advised to be at home.
      Also, a temple is considered to be a very hygienic place. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. This is why, a Brahmin performing Achamana a lot of times during the time of Pooja. WHat would happen if the woman suddenly suffers heavy bleeding while inside the temple? Menstrual pads etc were not there in those times, ladies were using folded cloth as pads, till very recent decades. So, considering hygiene perspective as well, they were advised to stay at home.
      You may ask, what if the temple is very nearby to home and if a lady is taking full head bath and using a very good pad?
      If you ask me, she can surely visit the temple in such case. No problem. But as per Divine Park, the lady in periods can enter temple by taking head bath. I think it makes very good sense to follow.
      God lives in the heart of every individual. Visiting temple is just an attempt to see that Supreme force in our beloved physical form.

      Reply to comment
      • Sandy

        14/12/2014 - 10:06 pm

        Thank you Dr Hebbar. This was very helpful.

        Reply to comment
  • S. Vijayaraghavan Iyengar

    25/12/2014 - 8:36 pm

    Sir, I do not agree with your statement that women can visit temple during menses. Their sanctity is lost during periods. It is because of this reason highly orthodox people will stay away from them/allow them to be in an isolated location. The electromagnetic energy during such time is harmful to others except to their children up to certain age. Women are permitted to breast feed their own children even during periods because of the bondage they possess from confinement. They are asked to take complete rest due to the negative energy they develop. One is not supposed to touch/go near to them during periods and in case of doing so, one has to take head bath and ONLY then do other activities. The mood (as you said severe pain/anxiety)/anger/uneasiness/depressed mind) during menstruation will definitely lead them NOT TO visit temple alone but even other places too. But in today’s scenario this has become highly impossible as many girls/women are employed. Perhaps the things used by them during this time need to be washed after the cycle is over (4-5 days) Mingling with the women in periods could lead to various illnesses. May be because of this reason people in urban area have more physical ailment compared to the rural counterpart.

    Reply to comment
    • Sandy

      22/01/2015 - 9:29 am

      Can you please provide detailed reference for your above comments. Also you mentioned about electromagnetic energy. I am interested in knowing more about it.

      Reply to comment
      • Diya

        01/01/2017 - 11:48 pm

        Don’t believe it, sandy, it’s just a sick attempt to corrupt the beauty of Sanatana Vedic Dharma. This is not Hinduism. This is corruption, like animal sacrifice and all the wrong garbage that people have ruined the name of Ancient India with. It is fake, false, and fictional. Its references include other illiterate sources. Good day, and enjoy your life!

        Reply to comment
    • Vaya

      01/01/2017 - 11:44 pm

      Bleeding does not make one ‘impure’ and ‘dirty’. It is the process that is the reason you EXIST. Sanatana Vedic Dharma is misunderstood or misled by such believes.

      Reply to comment
  • Priya

    24/12/2017 - 12:16 pm

    Sandy and others,
    Please go through this. Head bath increases menstrual flow and pain ‘coz it’s a strenuous activity lifting your hands up and washing hair is sort of an exercise for women. It’s best avoided. I lived in a girls hostel and all the girls who did headbath during menses are those that suffer severe pain.

    As a woman I find it silly to do strenuous activities during periods. Why would any woman want to go to a crowded temple during such time is beyond my understanding ? Is it to “prove” to yourself that you are equal to a man ? I’m all for equal rights but that doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself of rest when you need it and go running, jumping like they show in ads to sell products. You’ll end up in more pain and that’s silly.

    Some countries like finland even give paid leaves for 3 days for women ! I wish every country is like that !

    I personally feel like secluding myself and resting.

    Why we don’t and shouldn’t go to the temple is answered below.

    Reply to comment
  • Alka

    15/07/2019 - 2:14 am

    Also as explained by Dr Hrbbar along with blood the energy flow is also downwards /apana Vayu is predominant,which is responsible for excretion and elemination of toxins.while in temple the energy flows from top to bottom (P.S. it’s the whole purpose of all things prescribed in sanatana dharma-to make life energy flow to top and achieve union with supreme).So it’s not about purity but it will lead to reproductive health issues eg Endometriosis in which menstrual blood is found in abdominal cavity.Incomplete elimination of monthly toxins (due to interaction of strong upward flow in temples with down ward flow in menstruation) can lead to several other issues as well.
    Women are always considered pure in Sanatana Dharma and all rules and restrictions were for their safety and not disrespect.

    Reply to comment

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