If you figure among the 176 million women with endometriosis in the world like me, *groan*, sucks to be us, right? Endometriosis is a painful condition afflicting one in ten women around the world.
Endometriosis is caused when the endometrial lining inside the uterus ends up outside, causing bleeding, inflammation and scarring in the surrounding tissues. It is also a leading cause of infertility in women.
Its causes are as mysterious as its cures, and best we can do is manage the pain with NSAIDs, hot water bags and sitcom reruns.
From stories of women who allegedly “reversed endometriosis”, changing the diet may help reduce pain, cramps, inflammation, bloating, oestrogen levels (which is a major cause of endo) and weight.
Endometriosis diet is largely plant-based with anti-inflammatory ingredients, some of which can make really delicious and healing teas.
But an anti-inflammatory diet for endometriosis also means little to no caffeine! Hmm…
If you have the will to forsake caffeine for good health, here are some healing teas for endometriosis.
Chamomile tea is a relaxing beverage to end your day with. Known for its sleep-inducing qualities, Matricaria chamomilla L or chamomile can help you calm more than just your frayed nerves.
Chamomile tea can relieve cramps and aches during periods, especially if you use it with ginger. A cup of chamomile tea before bed can ensure good sleep, especially when you are in pain.
In a 2014 study, chamomile extracts trumped mefenamic acid, a painkiller, when it came relieving premenstrual symptoms.
That’s not all. A 2018 study showed that a compound in chamomile called chrysin also suppressed the growth of endometrial cells.
Isn’t “Peppermint” one of the most beautiful words in English? It’s made of two delicious words – pepper and mint. Sorry, I digress.
A cup of peppermint tea can be refreshing, especially after a long day. But it’s particularly helpful during periods when menstrual cramps drive you up the wall.
Peppermint is full of antioxidants, great for fighting inflammation. It also soothes an irritable belly and bloating, which are two of the common problems of women with endometriosis. Peppermint can also reduce menstrual pain associated with endometriosis.
Is there anything turmeric can’t do? Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is an overachiever of sorts when it comes to antioxidant properties.
Turmeric is also a powerful drug against endometriosis since it slows down the growth of endometrial cells by reducing the production of estradiol, a form of oestrogen.
Turmeric tea can be brewed in its powder form or root form. Pick whichever is more palatable.
Don’t forget to add a pinch of pepper to get the best out of curcumin.
Stress is a part and parcel of modern life, but if you have endometriosis, chances are, you already have high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry, is a common ingredient in Ayurvedic preparations. Studies show that ashwagandha can help in reducing stress, especially in women with endometriosis.
These days, many brands have been adding ashwagandha to their tea mixes, targetted especially at people who want to reduce their stress levels.
If you are avoiding caffeine, can buy plain ashwagandha from a trusted herbal brand and brew your decoction with it.
Yum. Sounds delish, doesn’t it? Lavender oil is commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety, and to promote sleep.
A cup of lavender tea can be great even if you don’t drink it. Just inhaling the fragrant concoction can put you in a good mood and reduce stress.
Lavender has anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties, which can ease menstrual pain and cramps.
I saved my favourite for the last. Ginger is a spice that is close to my heart. In India, ginger is pounded and added to chai to elevate its flavour and healing powers.
Paired with chamomile or ashwagandha, ginger may work as a powerful painkiller, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Plus, it’s easy on your tummy, reducing the havoc hormones can wreck on your digestive system.
While you may need a complete lifestyle overhaul to holistically heal your endo, you can start with substituting caffeinated beverages with herbal teas.
Kick back and relax with a huge cup of chamomile tea before bed, start your day with a peppy cup of peppermint tea or finish your meals with ginger tea. Happy sipping ladies.