My Period Essentials (natural, sustainable)

reading time: 11 min

I had actually planned a very different blog post for this weekend, but in light of the infuriating abortion debate in the U.S. at the moment I thought this topic was much more fitting. It isn't about abortions (and I can't really add anything to the debate other than my voice which speaks up for women's right, any person's right really, to have body autonomy and the liberty to decide about their own life!! I also highly recommend you watch this incredibly powerful and empowering performance called "Fire (from Elements)" by Katerina Gimon – I got the chills all over my body and actually burst into tears at the end ...), but about another "female body" topic which also to this day causes discrimination against people with a uterus.

Today we're talking about periods. No shame in this. Half the human population gets their period every month, it can be painful, it can be embarrassing (although it shouldn't), and it sure is something worth discussing. Tension and mood swings, chocolate cravings, headaches, breast tenderness, fatigue, skin blemishes, bloating and weight gain due to water retention are just some of the possible side effects of monthly menstruation. 


However, there are things you can do and use to have a healthier period with less to no cramps, irregular cycles, and PMS.

Please note that I am not a physician, and any information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and do not substitute or replace medical advice. Symptoms such as heavy periods, pelvic pain, inflammation, mood swings, chronic fatigue etc. can be the result of a disease or mental health problems, so please make sure to consult a doctor.

With all that said, here is what I use to support my body and make my period as pleasant as possible. And yes, my period has actually become something I (mostly) enjoy and feel comfortable in over the years!


Embrace Your Period

This is probably not the first thing you wanted to hear – but speaking from personal experience, I have found that the key for a more peaceful, stress-free period is to actually make peace with it. Yes, it can be annoying (the stained pants, the bloating, the cramps ...) and straining, but ultimately you will have to live with it one way or another. And I suggest living with it in an accepting, loving way, if you can.

What helped me to connect to my own period were three things:
tracking my menstrual cycle and mentally preparing for my period (I use the app drip)
2) coming to terms with the four phases of my cycle (bleeding, regaining energy, blossoming, and losing energy)
3) making my period as natural as possible, using a menstrual cup instead of tampons, as well as reusable cloth menstrual pads and period underwear which make me feel very clean



In my humble opinion, ginger is one of the most underrated natural remedies for PMS and cramps. In Ayurvedic medicine it has long been used to treat various forms of stomach trouble and nausea, especially morning sickness, due to its antispasmodic, carminative and stimulant properties. Ginger can gently warm up constricted vessels in the pelvic region, increase blood flow and reduce pelvic congestion.

I like to use freshly sliced ginger that I leave to draw in hot water to drink it as a tea, or add it to my morning oatmeal, curries, stews etc.


Lady's Mantle 

Another underestimated cure for period pains and irregular bleeding, in my opinion, is lady's mantle. As the name suggests, lady's mantle is a powerful medicinal plant for women's "disorders" such as menstrual or abdominal pain and menopausal complaints due to its antispasmodic properties. It is known to bring tone to the reproductive system, bladder, and pelvic floor, and is even used to increase the tone of the breasts.

It can be used in dried form for teas or baths. I get mine as loose tea at the pharmacy. The taste is quite bitter and astringent, but it does work wonders in reducing excessive flow and reducing menstrual pain.


Dark Chocolate

Yay for chocolate on those cranky PMS days!! Besides nuts, that's what I (like most of the menstruating humans) usually crave when I'm about to get my period. Luckily, dark chocolate is not only delicious – it has some awesome health benefits too! As opposed to milk chocolate, dark chocolate is actually high in antioxidants called flavonoids, which protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and toxic substances. In addition, dark chocolate is also rich in magnesium and potassium – which is why we actually crave it around our period. Both allow your muscles to function properly, and act as muscle relaxants that sooth aching cramping muscles and lower back pain. Plus, the endorphins released by the brain after consuming dark chocolate improve your happiness and your overall mood :)

However, don't forget that dark chocolate still contains a lot of sugar, so consume in moderation and try to get one that is 80% or more.

A few of my healthier chocolaty favourites on my blog are the Ultimate PMS Smoothie, the Raw Vegan Chocolate Pudding, the Easy Vegan Mousse au Chocolat, the Chocolate Cauliflower Brownies, the Chocolate Zucchini Brownies, and the Creamy Chocolate Coconut Fudgesicles.

Literally me on my period:

© C.Cassandra.comics /

Instead of going for chocolate, you can also use a magnesium spray on your belly, or take a magnesium supplement at the beginning of your period to decrease PMS induced bloating and cramping. However, avoid taking a magnesium supplement 1-2 hours before or after having an iron-rich meal, as this hinders the absorption of iron!

Natural food sources of magnesium include nuts and seeds such as pumpkin and flax seeds, cashews and almonds, as well as dark chocolate, avocados and leafy greens such as spinach, kale, dandelion greens, nettle, and mustard greens.


Essential Oils

There are three effective ways to use essentials oils during your period. 
1) Add water and a few drops of soothing essential oils to a diffuser and fill the air of your room with calming scents. 
2) Add a few drops of the same essential oils to a carrier oil such as almond oil or jojoba oil, rub it between the palms of your hands and apply to your lower abdomen for a gentle tummy massage. I suggest warming up the oil beforehand.
You could also add a few drops to an Epsom salt bath for a soothing nighttime bath. This will also help with a blissful good night's rest.

Great essential oils for your period are lavender, rose, peppermint, sweet orange, cinnamon, geranium,
ylang-ylang, Roman chamomile, and clary sage.


Tea Bag Sleeves or Water Bottle

Okay, this might be weird and a little TMI, but back when I was still using tampons I realized that tea bag sleeves (you know, the little paper envelopes that most tea bags are wrapped in for protection) are very useful for tampon disposal. Yep, you read right. Tea bag sleeves for tampon disposal! Seriously, removing your tampon can be quite a bloody mess, and the best way to discretely dispose of a full-of-blood tampon is to wrap it in an empty tea bag sleeve and toss it in the trash – not into the toilet! Before I had this life changing epiphany, I used to wrap my tampons in toilet paper, but honestly, those tea bag envelopes are the perfect size for a tampon and you're recycling at the same time – it's brilliant!

If you aren't using tampons, but perhaps a menstrual cup, like the one that I have switched to, then I can highly recommend bringing a small water bottle with you where ever you go. (Since all of the tap water here in Germany is drinkable, I leave mine empty, but if you live somewhere with more polluted tap water, I suggest filling it with clean water beforehand.) Most public restrooms I have been to don't have a sink next to their toilet, so what I'll usually do is fill up my empty water bottle with the tap water in the restroom, then empty my menstrual cup in the bathroom stall, and use the water from my bottle to rinse it over the toilet (as opposed to cleaning it under the sink, as I do at home). Pop it back in, wash your hands, and you are good to go!


Period Underwear

Again TMI, but there's nothing worse than waking up in a puddle of your own blood in the middle of the night. The safest option of leak-resistant underwear is washable incontinence pants – yup, sounds terrible and feels like diapers, but they actually work like a charm. Another, much sexier option are reusable period panties like the ones from the French brand Pourprées which are sustainable, organic and 100 % fairly produced. They can hold as much as 3 to 4 tampons and can therefore be used to replace pads & liners as well as tampons or cups – though I personally only use mine in addition to the cup as a backup in case I'm overflowing. They are comfortable, pretty and make me feel super safe on my period.

If you are looking for
eco-friendly period underwear I can recommend the high-waisted "Cattleya" period panty from Pourprée with pretty lace detail, which is the one I've been using for the past 6 months or so. I'm also thinking about getting the "Rose" one at some point, but at the moment my flow is too heavy for that one. (BTW this is not sponsored in any way, I just really like them! 😊)


Iron Intake

During our period we lose quite a lot of iron so it's important to make up for our losses once our period is over. An iron deficiency will make you feel tired, weak and dizzy. And don't be fooled: You do not need to eat meat in order to consume iron. A plant-based diet works excellent for this, too.

One way is to eat
foods that are rich in iron, such as chickpeas, beans, lentils, tofu, spinach, kale, beetroot, cabbages, dried apricots, raisins, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, almonds, amaranth, quinoa, millet, spelt, buckwheat, whole grains, parsley, and wild herbs such as stinging nettle and dandelion.

To improve your absorption of iron, combine it with a good source of vitamin C, such as red and green bell pepper, citrus fruits, kiwi, berries, fresh herbs etc. This increases the iron absorption by 3 to 4 times!!

Avoid consuming foods that hinder the absorption of iron 1 hour prior to eating an iron-rich meal, or 2 hours after, such as cacao, chocolate, coffee, black tea, green tea, chamomile tea, red wine, dairy products, or magnesium and calcium supplements.

Another way to get your iron is to take an iron supplement when you are on your period or right after. I am slightly anaemic and will sometimes get iron pills or preferably a liquid iron supplement made from herbal extracts (such as this one) from my local drug store. (Iron should not be supplemented unless prescribed by a doctor!)



Now, this may seem a little woo-woo to some of you (my former roommate will definitely roll his eyes if he reads this 😜), but I personally believe in the healing power of gems and crystals. The milky white or shimmery translucent appearance of the moonstone gives it its name, but it also shares the "feminine" properties of the moon, as it affects the female reproductive cycle and alleviates menstrual related diseases and tension. It is also supposed to balance the hormonal system, stabilise fluid imbalances, and calm the emotions. Read more about it here.

Over the past few years, I've made it a habit to wear moonstone jewellery, as well as my ruby ring
when I'm on my period. The ruby ring was gifted to me by my grandmother once I got my first period almost 20 years ago (!!), and the three rubies symbolize three drops of blood similar to the supernatural power of maternal blood in fairy tales like Snow White, The Goose Girl, Sleeping Beauty etc. I think it's nice to celebrate my menstrual cycle that way. So if you ever see me wearing my ruby ring and a moonstone necklace or bracelet, chances are that I'm on my period 😉


Maca Powder

Best known as one of the typical pricey powdered superfoods, the Peruvian maca root acts not only as a natural aphrodisiac, but it also balances the body's hormones and thereby helps decrease PMS symptoms such as cramping, bloating and irritability. In addition, maca is known to regulate menstrual cycles, increase fertility and act as a powerful energizer. I buy organic maca online in its powder form, which can be added to smoothies like my yummy maca nut smoothie, juices, shakes or just water, but I also usually add 1 teaspoon to my breakfast porridge, or I make a cup of warm maca milk in the evening.

Other recipes of mine that use maca powder include the maca peanut cinnamon ice cream with cookie dough bites (that's a mouthful!), my peanut butter jelly ice cream, my raw vegan ferrrero rocher truffles, my no bake dirty blondies, and also my PMS smoothie.


Gentle exercise

You might not feel like working out while being on your period, and that is fine, but light physical activities such as walking, doing yoga or a light cardio workout, will enhance blood circulation and alleviate your cramps. Personally, I prefer to do low key yoga sessions such as this one or this one when I'm on my period. Any at-home workout that doesn't exhaust me or a nice walk in the sunshine will do :)



One of the easiest and most effective ways to ease tension in the lower abdomen is to supply it with anything warm. Whether that's a hot water bottle on the tummy, warming ginger tea, a warm bath, or a grain pillow that you've warmed up in the microwave (like I usually do) and gently roll over your abdomen, is completely up to you. Wrapping yourself in blankets and sipping on hot chocolate or a cup of ceremonial cacao won't hurt either.



I'm aware that most of us have to go to work and perform as always when we are on our periods, but that doesn't mean that you can't allow yourself to take it easy and take breaks in-between. Your body is going through an intense period (gettit? yeah ...) of transition and renewal, so be gentle and respectful towards yourself. Go to bed early, ask your partner to pamper you a little, and know that you are absolutely allowed to feel miserable and drained.

If you can, however, I suggest to actually take a day off. Ever since watching Caro Arevalo's video on her period rest, I do my best to take the most unpleasant, emotionally draining day of my period off (usually that's the first or second day of bleeding for me), and allow myself to lie on the couch and read or watch something soothing. That's not always possible, but as a freelancer, I am lucky to make time for this every now and then.

I hope this blog post could in some way help or at least inspire you to make the best of your period. 'Cause it's not going anywhere for any time soon!

You are not alone. Power to us bleeding humans! 😁