Painful periods, or dysmenorrhea, can disable women for days each month, leading not only to emotional distress, but also work and school absenteeism.1 On top of that, the most popular treatments – that is, pain relieving medications – can burden women with unwanted side effects.
In efforts to find more natural alternatives for dysmenorrhea, researchers put their attention on investigating herbs that are known for their analgesic or anti-inflammatory effects, such as cinnamon.
The purpose of this clinical trial was to study the effects of cinnamon on treating primary dysmenorrhea in comparison to those of ibuprofen.
It was a short-term experimental study conducted on 114 women, between the ages of 18 to 30, experiencing moderate primary dysmenorrhea.
Researchers created three groups, each of which were given its own treatment in 24 hours.
- The first group received capsules with 400 mg of ibuprofen.
- The second group took capsules with 420 mg of cinnamon.
- The last group was designed as the control group and received starch-containing capsules.
Before and during the first 72 hours of the cycle, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) was used to monitor pain severity, and Cox Menstrual Scale was used to evaluate pain duration.
At the end of the trial, women taking cinnamon had lower average pain severity scores as well as a shorter average pain duration than those taking the placebo. These effects were most noticeable at the 8-hour check-up.
Pain severity among women taking ibuprofen was lower than in those taking cinnamon and the placebo.
What Does this Mean?
This study demonstrated that consuming cinnamon can relieve symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea. The results were published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research.
Although these effects were not comparable to those of ibuprofen, they are significant enough to consider cinnamon as a natural option for alleviating dysmenorrhea symptoms.
- Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, Comparative Effect of Cinnamon and Ibuprofen for Treatment of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial, 2015
- BJOG. (2004). The natural history of primary dysmenorrhea: a longitudinal study. Retrieved March 3, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15008771/