​Study: Thyme Oil More Effective for Menstrual Cramps Than Ibuprofen

Illustration for article titled ​Study: Thyme Oil More Effective for Menstrual Cramps Than Ibuprofen

Every woman experiences menstrual cramps a bit differently, but we can all agree: cramps suck. They are an abomination of the human body. Sure, if you wanted to get all hippie about it menstruation is a beautiful part of the cyclical nature of womynhood and blah blah blah. But in reality a bad case of cramps= pain-induced silent rage with the fury of a thousand imploding suns. That shit hurts, and it feels like ibuprofen is the only way to see clearly.


But according to new research, thyme essential oil may actually be a better remedy for menstrual pain than ibuprofen or other NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs). The triple-blind study divided women into three groups: the first was given ibuprofen and placebo oil, the second was given thyme oil and a placebo capsule, and the third group was given placebo oil and a placebo capsule—oof those poor women in the third group. Data was gathered for two cycles. Via Inquisitr:

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.


Apparently, this is due to the fact that the body builds up a tolerance to drugs, and therefore requires a higher dosage later on. But the body does not build up the same tolerance to the thyme oil.

Of course, 1) this is one study and 2) therapeutic grade essential oils are expensive as shit. While you don't need a lot to begin with, a half-ounce bottle of thyme oil can get up to $40. But for some menstrual pain relief, it could definitely be worth it.

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Okay, did anyone at Inquisitr or Jezebel read the actual study? Because the authors themselves don't even claim that thyme oil is more effective than ibuprofen. They say that "Reduction of pain severity was not statistically significant between the two medications, however it was significant for each drug compared with placebo (p<0.001)." One is not better than the other, yet both are better than nothing.

And while I'm on this soap box can we stop saying that things that fall into the natural products category aren't drugs? They are. They contain all sorts of chemicals that may or may not have pharmacokinetic activity, and they sure as hell aren't held to the same regulatory standards as pharmaceuticals, but they're drugs all the same.