Relieve: How Nature Fights Period Pain
At Viv Wellness, we've combined thousands of years of herbal tradition with the best modern research to create formulas that safely, effectively, and naturally improve your period. Relieve is based on a classical herbal formula that has been modernized to improve effectiveness and convenience. This isn't just a collection of herbs that have been shown to be effective for treating period pain, it's a carefully curated formula that we've perfected over 20 years of clinical practice.
You'll note that many of the ingredients below were compared to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If you've had period pain, you've probably tried NSAIDs — they include aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and mefenamic acid — as the most common treatment for period pain, they're somewhere between 45% and 53% effective. However, a recent review of NSAID use for dysmenorrhea (painful periods) concluded that "women using them need to be aware of the substantial risk of adverse effects." Common adverse effects of NSAIDs include: stomach problems (bleeding, ulcer, upset stomach), high blood pressure, fluid retention and swelling, kidney problems, heart problems, and rashes.
At Viv, we believe in pain relief, without the potential for severe side effects. Many of the herbs we've included in Relieve were demonstrated to be as effective as NSAIDs, but without the potential side effects.
- A 2012 study found that fennel seed was more effective than a placebo for controlling severe menstrual pain. On average, women started the study with 6/10 menstrual pain, and five hours after taking fennel seed rated their pain just a 1/10.
- Fennel seed isn't just better for cramps than placebo pills, it held it's own against a potent pharmaceutical pain killer (similar to ibuprofen, but requiring a prescription). In a study of severe menstrual pain in high school students, fennel seed was found to treat pain as well, or better than, mefenamic acid, a preferred NSAID for treating menstrual pain. However, there were no reports of side effects in the fennel seed group, while possible side effects of mefenamic acid include nausea, diarrhea, rashes, autoimmune anemia, and kidney toxicity. A later study confirmed these results.
- Fennel seed has also been shown to relieve nausea and fatigue associated with menstrual bleeding, decrease the duration of the period, and improve overall feelings of well-being when taken over several cycles.
- In a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial, university students were given either cinnamon, ibuprofen, or a placebo to address severe menstrual pain. Cinnamon was demonstrated to have a pain relieving effect compared to placebo, but was slightly less effective than ibuprofen. Pain the cinnamon group was reduced from a 7/10 to less than 2/10 during the course of treatment.
- In addition to effectively reducing pain when compared to placebo, in a separate trial, cinnamon also reduced the volume of menstrual bleeding, as well as nausea and vomiting during the period.
- A double-blind, placebo controlled trial found that, when administered for two days prior to the period, and three days during, ginger reduced both the severity and the duration of menstrual pain.
- The pain reduction wasn't just superior to placebo. Subsequent studies found that pain relief from ginger was equivalent to both ibuprofen and mefenamic acid. Because ginger produced no adverse effects, the researchers concluded that it be used as an alternative treatment to pharmaceutical interventions.
- PMS: Researchers found that ginger was effective for relieving a number of different PMS symptoms including: abdominal and low back pain, headache, gastrointestinal disturbances, nausea, and joint and muscle pain.
- Blood Volume: Ginger doesn't only reduce menstrual cramping, but the amount of menstrual bleeding as well. In a study with 93 young women, overall bleeding volume decreased significantly with the use of ginger. The researchers concluded, "ginger can be known as a highly effective treatment for menstrual blood loss and the promotion of the quality of life of young women. It is cheap, easy to use, and has fewer side-effects than other chemical and invasive approaches."
- Corydalis is one of the most frequently prescribed herbs for menstrual pain in Traditional Chinese Medicine. One study found that corydalis was included in over 30% of formulas given for menstrual pain.
- The primary active component of corydalis, dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB), has been shown to reduce both inflammatory pain, and pain produced by damage to the nervous system. A member of the poppy family, corydalis has a similar, though considerably weaker effect than morphine, and doesn't raise concerns for tolerance or dependence.
Frankincense and Myrrh
- This pair might sound familiar. Frankincense and Myrrh are traditionally remembered as one of the gifts delivered by the wisemen — most probably to Mary — as this pair is used in traditional medicine to combat inflammation and pain related to menstruation and childbirth.
- Modern research has also confirmed that these two herbs have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain reducing) properties. In animal studies, frankincense and myrrh were found to be highly anti-inflammatory and worked in combination to relieve menstrual pain.
- New research is also helping us understand how these two ingredients work together to relieve pain.
- Curcuma zedoaria is one of a number of plants in the turmeric family. Common to all these plants is a chemical constituent called curcumin. This particular component has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation and effective in reducing chronic pain.
- The curcuma family is also particularly adept at decreasing menstrual pain. Specifically, curcuma has been shown to reduce uterine contraction and spasm — the very actions that cause your worst cramps. Curcuma has also has a blood thinning action, much like aspirin.
Our Proprietary Blend: Viv's formulas are the result of years of clinical practice by board-certified herbalists. Our formulas are based on traditional blends, where herbs are chosen to work synergistically. In addition to herbs above that have been research validated to address menstrual cramping, our proprietary blend includes the following herbs that were carefully chosen to potentiate and harmonize the overall formula.
- Motherwort has an antispasmodic and relaxing effect on the uterus. It also reduces tension, anxiety, irritability before and during the period.
- Cattail pollen is commonly used with the corydalis (see above) to decrease pain associated with menstruation. It is also traditionally used for correcting irregular uterine bleeding.
- Lindera root is traditionally used in treating pain in the low abdomen, and is considered especially good for menstrual pain. It is commonly used to reduce bleeding.
- Nutgrass rhizome and lindera root are frequently used together and complement each other's effect. Nutgrass rhizome has analgesic and sedative, and uterine relaxant effects.
- Costus root was chosen for this formula as it improves the digestibility and helps harmonize the formula as a whole. It is traditionally used to treat digestive disorders associated with menstruation, including bloating, abdominal fullness, pain, poor appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Himalayan teasel root is traditionally indicated for controlling irregular uterine bleeding.