When it comes to balancing hormones, herbs and dietary changes are an important part of the equation. Our diet and lifestyle habits can play a big role in how our bodies produce and regulate hormones, so adding plant-based foods that help support hormone balance is often an effective approach. Herbs, in particular, have been used throughout the centuries to help regulate hormones naturally.
In this article, we will explore six herbs — all of which you’re likely not using — that can help balance hormones through their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. By applying these simple concepts, you will be able to create a nutritious foundation for improved hormonal balance in your body. We will also look at key lifestyle tips for optimizing hormone health.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers that signal to the body’s organs and cells critical instructions on how to function. Depending on their nature, hormones act as stimulators, inhibitors, or regulators. Changes in hormone levels can occur due to lifestyle habits including food intake, exercise, stress level, and exposure to environmental toxins.
Although hormones are produced in both males and females, it is the differential production of sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) in females that set them apart from males with regard to hormonal balance.
The body's intricate communication network is involved in controlling most major bodily functions such as growth and development; reproduction; metabolism; moods; immunity; hunger signals; heart rate and other “stress” responses (such as digestion).
Estrogen dominance caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and progesterone is a common complaint among many women that can lead to unfavorable symptoms such as anxiety, weight gain or loss, fertility issues, or menstrual irregularities.
To help correct this imbalance without introducing man-made drugs into one’s system there are several herbs with proven effectiveness at helping restore healthy hormone levels naturally.
Herbs for Balancing Hormones
Herbs are a natural and gentle way to support the body's ability to balance hormones and help the body heal naturally. They are also affordable, accessible, and easy to use. In this article, we will focus on 6 important herbs that can help to effectively balance hormones. We will also discuss their specific benefits and how they can help to restore balance in the body.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii), also known as Peruvian Ginseng, is a root vegetable native to the Andes mountain range of Peru. It has been used for thousands of years by ancient cultures for its medicinal properties, including its hormone-balancing effects.
Maca works by naturally balancing the endocrine system — the body's hormonal management system — which dictates how all hormones in the body are produced and regulated. It is believed to help reduce stress-induced cortisol levels, boost energy and improve overall health via natural nutrient support.
Studies have shown that maca can increase libido in both men and women as well as improve fertility. Maca has a variety of benefits including reducing mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, and other PMS symptoms due to its hormonal balancing effect. Furthermore, it has also been reported to enhance general well-being and improve mental clarity.
The powerful medicinal herb ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs used in Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine from India. Also known as Indian ginseng, the root and berry have traditionally been used to promote relaxation and treat anxiety and insomnia.
In more recent years, ashwagandha has also been explored for its hormone-balancing properties for women's health, particularly during the menopausal transition.
Ashwagandha has many properties that support female reproductive health and hormonal balance: it is a relaxant, helps reduce physical fatigue, is an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, increases fertility in both women and men, reduces cortisol levels, and can increase progesterone levels. In short, it helps to balance hormones naturally.
It can be taken by itself either as a supplement or tea or can be added to food recipes such as soups or smoothies. Overall studies suggest positive results when using it as part of a holistic treatment plan for hormone imbalance without significant side effects.
Speak with your healthcare provider to determine if Ashwagandha is right for you and how much should be taken each day depending on your unique health condition
Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea) is an adaptogen herb, which helps to regulate cortisol levels. This herb native to the Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America has been used for centuries to help improve mental and physical energy levels, support a healthy mood, and improve adrenal function. Rhodiola is known for its ability to reduce stress by stabilizing the adrenal glands and balancing the hormone cortisol.
In addition to balancing hormones, Rhodiola extract has been scientifically proven to have beneficial effects on cognitive performance including memory and focus as well as enhancing physical exercise performance. Studies have also shown Rhodiola extract can improve well-being by reducing fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
Oftentimes called “golden root” or “arctic root” this plant is highly antioxidant-rich containing bioflavonoids such as rosin and rosavin that protect against cell-damaging free radicals. It also houses important vitamins B1, B2, B12, and vitamin C as well as magnesium and iron. The active chemicals in Rhodiola that are responsible for its many potential benefits are salidroside molecules found in the volatile oils of the plant itself
To reap all the possible rewards from this amazing healing herb either take standardized extract capsules orally or add Rhodiola powder into smoothies or teas or extracts into tonics throughout your day.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is the root of an Asian perennial herb and has been used for numerous health benefits for thousands of years. Its two active constituents—glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetic acid—which provide the flavor, have been studied extensively and are associated with anti-inflammatory properties. Licorice is also well-known in Ayurveda and Chinese herbal medicine for its healing qualities.
Studies have also found that compounds in licorice may promote healthy hormone balance by blocking estrogen receptors, resulting in a modified response to stimulating hormones, such as cortisol. It has even been suggested that licorice can actually increase levels of naturally occurring estrogen when taken regularly, although this hypothesis needs more research.
In addition, the glycyrrhetic acid contained in licorice has been associated with positive effects against adrenal fatigue by providing adaptogenic effects on cortisol levels through increased production of glucocorticoid binding protein and corticosteroid hormones. So if you're looking to find relief from adrenal fatigue or balance your sex hormones, simply adding a little licorice root to your daily routine could be beneficial.
Chaste Tree (Vitex Angus-cactus). Known as the women’s herb, the Chaste tree has a long history of use for symptoms related to menstrual cycles and hormonal imbalance. By supporting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the Chaste tree is traditionally used to adjust luteinizing hormone production, the hormone responsible for egg maturity and ovulation.
As a result, it helps create balance with other hormones in the body such as progesterone and estrogen. It is known to have mild effects on stimulating progesterone levels and decreasing estrogen dominance.
Beyond its hormonal benefits, Chaste Tree may offer support for headaches and irritability around menstruation as well as mood changes due to fluctuating hormones during perimenopause or menopause. It can be found in tincture form or brewed in tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of dried berries in 8 ounces of hot water for 10 minutes; alternatively, capsules are also an option.
Tribulus Terrestris, also known as puncture vine, is native to warm temperate climates like Europe and Asia. The herb has been used historically to treat various conditions such as kidney disorders, urinary tract infections, and sexual dysfunction. More recently, it has also been investigated for its possible effects on hormone balance.
As an aphrodisiac, Tribulus Terrestris is thought to have the capability to raise testosterone levels in men and women alike. In animal studies looking at rats specifically, supplementing with Tribulus Terrestris produced a testosterone-like increase in reproductive organ size.
In addition to the benefit of increased libido in both genders, the herb may also have anti-inflammatory properties that could be beneficial for metabolic health. It may also reduce stress levels by increasing stress resistance in rats.
When it comes to human studies on Tribulus Terrestris for hormone balance specifically, results are limited but promising. A six-month study on postmenopausal women found significant improvements in total testosterone levels after supplementing with 500 mg of Tribulus twice daily.
A similar study looked at men aged 45-65 with normal testosterone levels who were supplemented with a 600 mg dose of Tribulus daily over a four-month period and found increases within the first two weeks of intervention. These results show that Tribulus may be capable of providing interesting useful benefits when it comes to hormone balance optimization despite limited evidence.
How to Use Herbs to Balance Hormones
When it comes to restoring balance to hormone-related imbalances, herbs can be a simple and natural remedy. Here are 6 lesser-known herbs that you’re likely not using but have serious potential for relieving menopause symptoms, supporting reproductive health, and balancing hormones.
Maca Root: Known for its endocrine-strengthening properties, this Peruvian root is high in minerals, phytoestrogens, and vitamins A, B1, and C. Maca root can help reduce anxiety, supply energy, and endurance, as well as restore hormonal balance. For best results, take maca root powder with food and lots of water every day.
Raspberry Leaf: High in calcium, magnesium, and potassium as well as vitamins A & E raspberry leaves are used to strengthen the uterus wall muscles before and during pregnancy. The herb has also been used for centuries to regulate hormones in premenopausal women through its antioxidant properties which help diminish hot flashes by cooling off menopause-affected areas like the digestive tract or liver.
Chasteberry: Also known as vitex agnus castus or monk’s pepper this herb has been used since ancient times to support fertility & progesterone levels in women who have problems with these hormones caused by PMS or menstrual irregularities. Chasteberry should not be taken while pregnant so consult your healthcare provider before trying it out if you fall into this category.
Ashwagandha: With its anti-stress properties ashwagandha helps regulate cortisol levels, reduce inflammation& boost immunity which is all important when dealing with hormone imbalance or trying to optimize overall health & wellness while navigating through perimenopause/menopause transition stages of life naturally without the aid of medications given prescribed by traditional medical doctors that if taken too long will cause more harm than good over a length of time. Additionally, ashwagandha is proven beneficial for those experiencing insomnia due to hormone imbalances commonly seen amongst women during pre/post-menopausal periods of life which impairs their ability to rest peacefully leaving them feeling exhausted the next day after night short night's sleep. Therefore regular consumption (under professional supervision )of ashwagandha is highly recommended.
Red Clover: Rich in many nutrients – including calcium (good for bones), minerals & phytoestrogens - red clover helps support ease of menopause transition symptoms such as depression, insomnia, night sweats, hot flashes along with headaches caused by hormonal turbulence-related causes due excessive production/recycling or lack thereof key hormones needed throughout our lives when function properly while benefiting from botanical aid supplementation assistance so one feels stayed steady emotionally & physically on daily basis depending on each person's body composition needs exercise habits mental wellbeing what they eat, etc. So even though red clover doesn't directly affect specifically progesterone production itself, it still has a lot of offers via nutritional values it implements internally leading best outcomes externally naturally!
Black Cohosh: This herbal remedy popular among native Americans was thought to heal female issues related to gynecological problems such as heavy bleeding during menstruation cramps extra hair growth irregularity ovulation pelvic discomfort linked to various endocrine replications depending on age severity case at hand thus used in a similar way maca root where help replace necessary boosters depleted nature no longer provides sufficient enough quantities formerly did proactively prior environmental factors taken birth control meds other causes into consideration. Plus studies have shown cure rates improve soon after being taken regularly usually find out noticeable differences within a few months' time frame give to take all things considered.
In conclusion, if you’re looking to maintain healthier hormone levels and achieve better overall balance, incorporating these six herbs into your diet may be beneficial.
Additionally, considering other lifestyle changes such as eating adequate amounts of healthy fats, reducing sugar intake, and getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night can all help to support healthy hormone levels. With a few easy adjustments and a little bit of focus on what you put in your body, your hormones can start functioning optimally.