A discussion of research showing that cinnamon is an effective treatment for menstrual pain.
Painful periods, also known as primary dysmenorrhea, are a common and uncomfortable problem experienced by women. It is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. While many medical options have been well studied as treatments for dysmenorrhea, for example, oral contraceptives and NSAIDs (like ibuprofen), these treatments may have side effects or may be unsafe for someone with certain medical conditions to take. There alternative methods available, such as herbal remedies, but these are not as well researched.
This study tested the effectiveness of using cinnamon to decrease primary dysmenorrhea. This was a quality study, as it was a randomized, double blind study (neither the provider nor the patient knew who was getting the cinnamon or the placebo). Women were treated 3 times a day for the first 3 days of their menstruation. They were given either starch pills (placebo), or two 420mg cinnamon tablets.
Researchers found that cinnamon significantly reduced menstrual pain, bleeding, nausea, and vomiting compared to the placebo. It is thought that this is due to its components cinnamaldehyde, an antispasmodic, and eugenol, an anti-inflammatory. There were no side effects noted. For those desiring a natural treatment for their dysmenorrhea, cinnamon is a reasonable alternative to commonly used medications.
Jaafarpour, M., Hatefli, M., Najafi, F., Khajavikhan, J., & Khani, A. (2015) The effect of cinnamon on menstrual bleeding and systemic symptoms with primary dysmenorrhea. Iran Red Crescent Medical Journal, 17(4). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4443385/