Endometriosis is a disorder that affects the reproductive system. It causes endometrial tissue to grow outside of the uterus.

Endometriosis can spread outside the pelvic area, but it typically occurs on the:

Symptoms can vary from mild irritation to severe pelvic pain. There’s no cure for the condition, but treatment can help manage the symptoms.

Traditional treatments include pain medication, hormone therapy, and medication that blocks the production of estrogen. If you’re looking into alternative treatments, you may have heard that certain herbs may be an effective treatment.

Read on to learn about popular herbal treatments for endometriosis, and what the latest research says.

Advocates of natural healing suggest herbal remedies may help treat the symptoms of endometriosis. Some of their claims are backed by clinical research.

Curcumin

Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric.

It’s known for having anti-inflammatory properties, which was confirmed in a 2009 review.

A 2013 study suggested that curcumin may help with endometriosis by reducing estradiol production. A 2015 study suggested curcumin may suppress tissue migration of the lining of the uterus.

Additionally, a 2018 review discussed the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and other mechanisms that might reduce symptoms of endometriosis.

Chamomile

According to a 2014 study, chamomile can reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Some natural healers suggest drinking chamomile tea can help with endometriosis symptoms.

A 2018 study showed that chrysin, a compound found in chamomile, suppressed the growth of endometrial cells.

Peppermint

According to a 2006 review, peppermint has antioxidant properties. A 2013 study concluded that antioxidant supplements can reduce pelvic pain from endometriosis.

A 2016 study showed that peppermint can reduce the severity of pain from menstrual cramps.

Lavender

A 2012 study indicated that women reduced menstrual cramps by using diluted lavender oil in aromatherapy massage. Lavender might help with severe menstrual cramps triggered by endometriosis.

Another 2015 study found lavender oil massage was effective in decreasing pain in periods.

Ginger

A 2014 study and a 2016 review both found that ginger can reduce menstruation-related pain. This suggests ginger could have a similar effect on pain associated with endometriosis.

Cinnamon, clove, rose, and lavender

A 2013 study tested a mixture of cinnamon, clove, rose, and lavender essential oils in a base of almond oil. The study found it was effective for reducing menstrual pain and bleeding when used in aromatherapy massage.

Proponents of natural healing suggest that the same mixture may have similar results for endometriosis. More studies are needed on blends of herbs and essential oils, but there’s little risk if they’re used correctly.

Ashwagandha

A 2014 review found that clinically significant reductions in stress resulted from treatment with the herb ashwagandha.

A 2006 study found that women with advanced endometriosis had significantly higher levels of cortisol, a hormone involved in stress response.

These studies indicate a potential role for ashwagandha in stress reduction for women with endometriosis.

Talk with your doctor about changes to your diet that might affect your endometriosis symptoms. They may recommend some of these changes:

  • Increase your intake of omega-3 fats. A 2014 animal study found that having a high ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats may help reduce inflammation on endometriosis-like lesions.
  • Reduce your intake of trans fats. A 2010 study found a 48 percent increased risk of endometriosis in women consuming high amounts of trans fats.
  • Increase your intake of antioxidants. A 2013 study found antioxidant supplements can reduce chronic endometriosis-related pelvic pain.
  • Try an anti-inflammatory diet. A 2018 review found an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the symptoms of endometriosis.
  • Avoid sugar and processed foods. Choose natural fruits and vegetables. Take in more omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid man-made fats. Eat carbohydrates that are not highly processed, such as white bread.

Pelvic area pain is the primary symptom of endometriosis. This pain often accompanies menstrual periods. Other common symptoms include:

Your doctor will typically treat your endometriosis with medication or surgery. Their recommendation commonly depends on the severity of your symptoms and whether or not pregnancy is part of your future plans.

Medication may include:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve)
  • hormone therapy, such as progestin therapy, aromatase inhibitors, or Gn-RH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone)

Surgery may include:

If you’re looking for relief from the symptoms of endometriosis, talk about alternatives with your doctor. Ask about dietary changes and supplementation with herbs and spices such as:

  • ashwagandha
  • chamomile
  • curcumin
  • ginger
  • lavender
  • peppermint

Your doctor may have important recommendations, including information about potential interaction with other medications and supplements you’re currently taking.