I see so many women in my office everyday that suffer from imbalanced hormones. Many have horrible PMS or menopausal symptoms, and others suffer from infertility. More often than not these hormone imbalances are cause from dysfunctions in the endocrine system which for those of you unfamiliar with this, it is your glandular system. These dysfunctions happen for a number of reasons and I will talk about all of these in future blog posts but today I would like to equip you with a few simple herbs you can try when attempting to get your hormones under control.
When it comes to hormones natural is always best so rather than jumping straight to conventional hormone therapy why not give these a try first. There are many herbs that can assist in hormone function but today I am going to talk about my top 5 favorites. 5 herbs that I have had great success with either personally or in my practice.
I've talked about maca before in a dedicated blog post but it earns repeating. Maca has been used for centuries by the Peruvian people for fertility, hormonal balance, libido, and endurance. Maca root is unique in that it does not produce hormones but rather works as an adaptogenic herb which means that it adapts to each body's circumstances and balances hormones depending on that persons needs. So if a person is producing too much or too little of a hormone it will act in the opposite direction either increasing the deficient hormone or decreasing the body's production of the over abundant hormone. I like to call it a regulator. Regulating hormones and keeping them in check not allowing them to get out of control in either way.
Maca stimulates and nourishes the pituitary and hypothalamus glands of your endocrine system which are known as the "master glands". These two glands are responsible for regulating all the other hormone producing glands. With these "master glands" in balance it has the ability to naturally bring all other glands into balance as well.
This herb is not just for women! Men benefit greatly from this herb and it can often times increase libido and endurance. A natural "Viagra" of sorts ;) Also because 40-50 percent of infertility cases are due in part to the man, taking this herb may help with sperm motility, volume, and quality.
#2 Red Raspberry Leaf:
I personally love this herb and use it all the time. It has a pleasant taste as a tea and is such a nutrient dense power packed herb for women! This herb is best known for its uterine strengthening properties. This wonderful herb is a rich source of vitamins and minerals particularly vitamin C.
Red Raspberry Leaf has many benefits besides that of a uterine tonic. It has been known to help increase fertility in both men and women, prevent miscarriage and hemorrhage, and help decrease heavy blood flow and painful menstrual cramps. It can ease the nausea associated with pregnancy, reduce pain during and after labor, and help stimulate milk production.
#3 Vitex or (chaste tree berry):
This herb has a long extensive history of use for hormone regulation. It is often used for treating endometriosis, infertility, PMS, preventing miscarriage in first trimester, and menopausal symptoms particularly hot flashes. Vitex or chaste tree berry. I have had success using this herb in my clinic to help regulate menstrual cycle and even help initiate a period in women who have had absent periods for some time.
Vitex does not contain actual hormones but rather works to help naturally balance the body's hormones by way of regulating the pituitary which we talked about earlier and that it was one of the body's "master glands". By regulating the pituitary it has an effect on the function of the other glands involved in this system. The pituitary sends out the signal to the other glands to tell them when and how much hormone to produce. This communication system is called a hormonal feedback loop. If the pituitary is not balanced properly this will effectively throw off the balance of the other glands.
#4 Milk Thistle:
I love this herb for so many reason! This is one of my all time favorite herbs for a multitude of health conditions. Milk Thistle is one of the best liver cleansing herbs and a healthy liver is vital for hormone balance. Many women have an excess of estrogen and a deficiency of progesterone because of it. What many people don't know is that excess estrogens get filtered out of the body through the liver.
If the liver is congested and stagnant the body cannot eliminate these excess estrogens and they re-enter the body. The liver is also the processing plant for our body's toxic wastes such as chemicals, heavy metals, fungus and other toxins. Many of these toxins can act to mimic hormones in our body and lead to further hormonal imbalance and disruption.
Oatstraw may not be the typical herb that comes to mind when people think of herbs for hormones. My reason for choosing this herb is because this is one of the most nutritionally dense nourishing herbs I know of. I have found oatstraw to strengthen the nerves, calm the body, strengthen the blood, stabilize moods, strengthen digestion, sooth stomach, balance the endocrine system or those hormone producing glands, support the skeletal system due to its abundance of bio-available calcium, magnesium, and silica, and calm the central nervous system.
Other benefits of this beautiful herb are great supportive benefits to the hair, skin, and nails, diuretic, cholesterol lowering, and heart health. This herb is great on its own or as a base mixed with other herbs.
I could go on for page after page of the many benefits of different herbs on hormones but for now this will get you started. Besides i promise I will post future blogs with even more information on all the amazing herbs, foods, and supplements to help get your hormones back in check.
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In good health and happiness,