A new study shows a surprisingly effective treatment for those painful monthly cramps that many women experience: thyme essential oil. Who knew? It has been found to work better than ibuprofen for menstrual pain, without the side effects.
Though ibuprofen is generally regarded as a fairly safe option for pain relief, no pharmaceutical is completely safe. Many people remain unaware of the risks of many common pain-relievers, as reported by The Inquisitr.
The Huffington Post recently noted that there are a number of studies that associate ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) with inflammation in the small intestine, ulcers, bleeding, holes in the stomach or intestine, and leaky gut syndrome, which can "lead to stomach ulcers that can result in upper gastrointestinal bleeding, the need for surgery and blood transfusions."
Dr. Aviva Romm points out that doctors are taught in medical school that those kinds of effects only happen with prolonged usage of ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, but she says that "even shorter term use in regular doses can lead to gut damage and health consequences."
Ibuprofen is often seen as the go-to medicine for pain, and monthly menstrual cramps often call for pain relief. But many people are looking to alternative treatments for common ailments and are trying to avoid taking so many medications.
That is where thyme oil comes in.
Health Impact News reports on a randomized triple-blind study was recently published in the Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine in which women experiencing primary dysmenorrhea, painful cramping during their menstrual cycle, were treated with either a placebo, ibuprofen, or thyme essential oil. The women were all between the ages of 18 and 24 years old.
The women were divided into three groups consisting of 28 women per group, and were instructed to take the treatment every six hours after their cycle began and they experienced pain. The first group was given a 200 mg. capsule of ibuprofen and 25 drops of a placebo essential oil per dose. The second group was treated with 25 drops of thyme essential oil 2 percent and a placebo capsule. The third group was given a placebo capsule and 25 drops of a placebo oil.
They were asked to rate their pain before treatment started as well as during treatment, for two consecutive cycles, using the commonly accepted visual analogue scale (VAS).
The group receiving the thyme oil reported better pain relief than the ibuprofen group. Both experienced less pain than the placebo group.
The interesting thing about the study is the results for the second monthly cycle. The group taking the ibuprofen still reported pain relief in the second month, but not as much relief as in the first month of the study. In contrast, the group that used the thyme oil reported even greater pain relief in the second month of use than the first.
Researchers say that this makes sense because the body builds up tolerance to drugs, often resulting in increase dosages to achieve the same effect. Because thyme essential oil is recognized by the body, the body does not build up tolerance.
Thyme essential oil has long been recognized for its analgesic and antispasmodic effects, which play a part in its effectiveness for menstrual cramps. There are other essential oils that users have found effective for menstrual discomfort, such as clary sage, lavender, and EndoFlex blend.
Experts warn that caution should be exercised when using essential oils, including thyme oil, making certain that the oils are good quality, therapeutic grade oils. A good quality oil is much more readily recognized by the human body than any synthetic pharmaceutical.
Thyme oil instead of ibuprofen for menstrual pain -- who would have thought it?
[Images via bing]