Hormones have been called the “hidden stars” of women’s health because they affect every function in our bodies — from how we age and grow taller to how long and how healthy we live. Hormones also play an important role in menopause symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
Your body produces many different types of hormones that control everything from growth and reproduction to moods and sleep cycles. The key is keeping them balanced so that each one can work at its best. For example, estrogen helps keep skin smooth while testosterone keeps hair strong.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the top herbal remedies for controlling these crucial bodily functions. We’ve also included information on other natural approaches such as dietary changes and lifestyle choices since diet and exercise can help support overall good health.
Keep reading to discover what herbs do when it comes to regulating hormones inside our bodies.
Hormone balancing herbs
The first step in finding effective herbs to balance hormones is identifying which ones could potentially improve your particular condition. This means learning about the specific effects of individual plant compounds or extracts. It’s not enough just to know that certain herbs contain phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens) or antiandrogens (compounds that block male sex hormones). You need to find out exactly how those substances might benefit your situation.
For instance, let’s say you’re looking into using herbs to balance female hormones. If you want to avoid side effects associated with synthetic estrogen replacement therapy (ERT), you should choose an herb that contains bioidentical versions of both progesterone and estrogen. Bioidentical estradiol would mimic the action of naturally produced 17b-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 enzyme found only in humans. Estradiol would bind to human receptors without being metabolized by the liver [Source: University of Maryland Medical Center]. And if you don’t want to wait around for results, take aloe vera leaf extract instead of pure gels made from chemical additives.
Aloe has been shown to boost levels of two major female hormones within hours, in addition to helping prevent osteoporosis and heart disease, soybeans also appear to protect against breast cancer cells. Researchers believe the compound genistein binds itself to estrogen receptor sites located on cell membranes, preventing estrogen from attaching to their target proteins.
Next up, learn more about supplement options available to balance hormones.
Estrogen deficiency contributes to bone loss and increases risk factors for heart disease. Estrogen stimulates the production of collagen, the protein responsible for strengthening bones, tendons, and ligaments. Since postmenopausal women lose approximately 20 percent of their total bone mass during five years, getting adequate amounts of estrogen will help slow bone deterioration.
Herbs to balance female hormones
Choosing the right herbs to treat hormone imbalance requires knowing what kind of problem you face. Let’s consider several common issues and examine potential solutions.
Premenstrual Syndrome/Menopause Symptoms – Premenstrual syndrome affects up to 85 percent of menstruating women. Because stress causes fluctuations in blood sugar levels, it can trigger PMS flare-ups. Herbs containing magnesium sulfate, calcium carbonate, zinc, and vitamin B6 can reduce water retention, bloating, and cramps. Calcium lactate can provide relief from heavy menstrual bleeding. Chamomile tea reduces inflammation and muscle spasms. St. John’s Wort reduces depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Black cohosh relieves painful periods but must be taken under medical supervision due to possible uterine contractions.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)- PCOS occurs primarily in premenopausal women who are overweight. Women with PCOS produce too much insulin, leading to high blood sugar. Insulin signals fat cells to pack onto spare white adipose tissue. Over time, excess weight accumulates in fatty areas known as cysts. One result is irregular ovulation followed by excessive accumulation of fluid in the follicles where eggs mature before release. While there isn’t any cure for the polycystic ovarian syndrome, herbs can aid in treatment through the reduction of insulin resistance.
Metformin, a drug commonly prescribed for diabetes, reduces insulin output. African violets, black cohosh, and saw palmetto berries all lower insulin levels. Fenugreek seed powder lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. Aromatherapy massage oil infused with chamomile, lavender, and marjoram oils help calm emotions. Reducing calories, exercising regularly, and losing weight can also relieve symptoms.
Endometriosis – Endometriosis is characterized by endometrial implants growing outside the uterus. Painful scar tissue builds up underneath the abdominal muscles causing severe pain during intercourse. Certain herbs, including Dong Quai root and sarsaparilla root, stimulate the immune system and promote healing. Dong Quai inhibits estrogenic activity, reducing the cellular proliferation of the endometrium. Sarsparilla improves circulation throughout the pelvic region, providing nutrients to damaged tissues.
Other herbs include evening primrose oil, wild yam root, licorice root, and castor oil packs applied directly to the affected area.
mood disorders – Depression is often treated with antidepressants, but for people suffering from seasonal allergies, headaches, or PMS, herbal alternatives may offer relief. Valerian root calms nervous tension and promotes relaxation. Kava kava induces mild euphoria and sedation. Slippery elm suppresses mucus secretion and relaxes tense muscles. Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) eases digestive problems caused by gas and intestinal discomfort. Lavender essential oil provides soothing relief from burning eyes and sinuses. Rosemary enhances memory and concentration. Wild indigo acts as a diuretic promoting sweating and urination.
Supplements to balance hormones
Whether you choose to use prescription medication or alternative therapies, check with your doctor to make sure that your choice won’t interact badly with any medications you’re currently taking. Also, note whether or not your chosen remedy conflicts with anything else you eat or drink. Some herbs can impair fertility, cause birth defects or raise risks of serious illness.
Here are three popular supplements frequently recommended to balance hormones:
Chasteberry prevents luteolin binding to aromatase, a steroid hydroxylase enzyme involved in the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Chasteberry doesn’t interfere with normal levels of testosterone either. Rather than competing for enzymes, chaste berry works synergistically with other ingredients to increase free testosterone levels. Studies show chaste berry protects sperm counts and reverses testicular damage caused by chemotherapy drugs.
Dong Quai, a traditional Chinese medicinal herb, treats symptoms related to hormonal imbalances. Its active ingredient silibinin blocks the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins that harm sensitive organs. Silibinin appears to enhance the effectiveness of biological agents used to fight colon cancer, multiple myeloma, and melanoma. Other components of dong Quai inhibit angiogenesis, the process in which new blood vessels form between existing capillaries, thus inhibiting tumor growth.
The lavender essential oil has calming properties. Many studies confirm the benefits of lavender oil inhalations in alleviating nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, improving digestion and absorption of food, treating burns and wounds, relieving sore throat irritation, relaxing tight shoulders and wrists, lessening swelling and bruising after surgery, easing arthritis pain and muscle aches, stimulating peristalsis and increasing perspiration. Essential oils should never be ingested internally. They should always be diluted before application externally.
Finally, learn about nonpharmacological treatments.
Acupuncture balances hormone levels by restoring the proper functioning of the pituitary gland. Acupressure techniques focus specifically on acupuncture points along energy channels. Pressure on these points helps restore the balance between Yin and Yang forces. Massage can induce relaxation and improve circulation, thereby aiding lymphatic drainage.
Yoga and t’ai chi movements strengthen core strength and flexibility. Meditation allows for deep breathing and reflection, enhancing mental clarity and tranquility. Tai Chi and Qi Gong practice meditation combined with movement exercises. Reiki Energy Healing technique uses gentle hands-on pressure point stimulation to activate internal healing force. Therapeutic touch involves placing warm hands over vital organs to clear negative energies.
Other ways to balance your hormones
Besides herbs and supplements, there are lots of other things you can do to maintain a healthy hormonal equilibrium. Here are a few ideas to get started:
Reduce intake of refined carbohydrates, especially sugars and starches. Sugar triggers the release of cortisol, a powerful stress hormone, while starch consumption leads to increased insulin production. Consume complex carbs such as vegetables rather than processed grains. Exercise regularly. Resistance training strengthens lean muscle tissue and boosts metabolism, allowing for better nutrient uptake. Aerobic activities burn calories resulting in weight loss. Regular physical activity also releases beta brain waves, which create greater emotional stability and self-confidence.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol depresses the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and disrupts melatonin rhythm. Caffeine competes with neurotransmitters for adenosine.
The bottom line
There are a lot of things that affect your hormones, like stress, and our bodies need a lot of help with these types of things. We hope this article has shown you how easy it is to learn about herbs that can help balance your hormones, with the bonus that they are also healthy for you! As with any information, please do your research and be thoughtful about what is best for you.
Thank you for reading, we are always excited when one of our posts can provide useful information on a topic like this!