By Sayer Ji
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
In the first study of its kind, ginger is found to be an effective treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding in young women.
Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) is one of the most common gynecological problems in women, accounting for approximately 15% of all primary care consultations or outpatient referrals to hospitals. It is treated conventionally with a combination of the following interventions: iron supplements, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), oral contraceptives, oral progesterone and a progestin-containing hormonal IUD marketed as Mirena. Most of these interventions have serious, if not also life-threatening side effects, which is why safe, natural evidence-based alternatives are sorely needed today.
Thankfully, research on botanical therapies is exploding today, and a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research shows that ginger may in fact offer an excellent natural solution for this all too common condition in women.
Ginger Treats Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Titled “Effect of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) on Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Clinical Trial“, study enrolled 92 young women experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding and who were found to be free of the following exclusion criteria:
(a) having irregular menstrual cycles;
(b) being diagnosed with any gynecological diseases such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, etc.;
(c) taking regular hormonal medications or NSAIDs;
(d) vaginal infection or pelvic inflammatory disease; and
(e) overweight/obesity (BMI > 25) or underweight (BMI < 18.5)
The study subjects were evaluated for six consecutive menstrual cycles. After an initial 3-week assessment period, the participants were randomly allocated into two study groups: one receiving 250 mg dried ginger capsules and the other receiving placebo capsules filled with lactose (milk sugar), for another 3-week period.
The results were reported as follows:
“The level of menstrual blood loss dramatically declined during the three intervention cycles in ginger-receiving group. The decrease of blood loss in ginger-receiving group was significantly more remarkable than that of participants receiving placebo (p”‰<”‰0.001). Minimum number of participants reported adverse effects.”
The study concluded:
“Considering the results of our study, ginger can be known as a highly effective treatment in the reduction of menstrual blood loss and the promotion of the quality of life of young women. It is cheap, easy to use and have fewer side effects than other chemical medications and invasive approaches.”
Ginger Reduces Pain and Inflammation
The truly remarkable thing about using ginger to alleviate heavy menstrual bleeding is that this food-grade herb has also been proven to reduce pain and inflammation – symptoms which often come along with a dysregulated menstrual cycle (i.e. dysmenorrhea). Ginger therefore may ‘free two birds with one hand’.
Truly, this is the beauty of botanical therapies: they often have as many side benefits as synthetic drugs have side effects. For example, take a look at the over 100 health benefits ginger has been proven to confer on our database: ginger health benefits. This is not to say they are without potential adverse effects; however, when using ‘spices’ and foods as alternatives to drugs, the risk of such reactions are significantly reduced. And who could really be afraid of taking a little ginger?
For more natural solutions to pain and inflammation, please see: 9 Natural Alternatives to Ibuprofen/NSAIDs Without the Side Effects.
[i] Farzaneh Kashefi, Marjan Khajehei, Mohammad Alavinia, Ebrahim Golmakani, Javad Asili. Effect of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) on Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Clinical Trial. Phytother Res. 2014 Oct 8. Epub 2014 Oct 8. PMID: 25298352
Legal disclaimer: this article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice or treatment.
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About the author:
Sayer Ji is an author, educator, Steering Committee Member of the Global GMO Free Coalition (GGFC), advisory board member of the National Health Federation, and the founder of GreenMedInfo.com – an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. His writings have been published and referenced widely in print and online, including Truthout, Mercola.com, The Journal of Gluten Sensitivity, New York Times and The Well Being Journal.
In 1995 Sayer received a BA degree in Philosophy from Rutgers University, where he studied under the American philosopher Dr. Bruce W. Wilshire, with a focus on the philosophy of science. In 1996, following residency at the Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate New York, he embarked on a 5 year journey of service as a counsellor-teacher and wilderness therapy specialist for various organizations that serve underprivileged and/or adjudicated populations. Since 2003, Sayer has served as a patient advocate and an educator and consultant for the natural health and wellness field.