By Cali J. Freyn, Health Coach
Herbs have been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of diseases and ailments. They can also be used to support your hormones. There are six herbs that have been well studied and shown to be generally effective for hormonal balance. Please consult a medical professional before taking any supplements listed below.
Maca is a cruciferous root native to Peru. It has been known to help support the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain, helping to balance female sex hormones. Maca is loaded with zinc, B vitamins, and iron which are essential to hormone production. Maca can also help restore the balance of estrogen and progesterone which is beneficial for fertility, PMS Symptoms and PCOS. Maca is readily available most commonly in a powder from, and can be added to smoothies and drinks. It is best to start out small and work your way up.
*Maca should not be used by individuals with thyroid conditions, it has properties that can suppress the thyroid. This is not good for individuals with hypothyroidism as they already have suppressed thyroid function*
Chasteberry (also known as vitex) is made from berries of the Mediterranean chaste tree. Its main hormonal effect is to tell the pituitary gland to make less prolactin which encourages ovulation. This can also help to alleviate PMS symptoms, regulate luteal phases, and increase breast milk production.
*Vitex should only be used under the care of a health practitioner as it can be very powerful.*
Black Cohosh is a flowering plant found mostly in North America. The roots and underground stems have a medicinal effect. It has most commonly been used to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, racing heart, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and irritability. Black Cohosh contains weak acting phytoestrogens as well as a variety of plant sugars that may have beneficial effects. Gaia herbs makes a good preparation available in a tincture or capsule.
Evening Primrose Oil is a rich source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is an essential fatty acid, which means your body does not produce it naturally. GLA It is not commonly found in food and one of the few that is anti-inflammatory.
Evening primrose oil is produced from the seed of the plant, which grows in Europe and North America. Originally used by Native Americans for food for hundreds of years it has been used to relieve PMS, bloating, acne, depression, breast tenderness and irritability. It can also be helpful for hot flashes and night sweats.
Wild Yam is a tuberous plant that has been used in folkloric medicine for hundreds of years. The active ingredient is called diosgenin, it is also rich in vitamin C, beta carotene, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc. Wild yam is known for its ability to improve mood and relieve arthritic pain. It also increases bile flow and supports the liver, so it can be good support for detoxification.
Rhodiola is a green flowering plant that has been cultivated as a ground cover. It grows all over the Northern artic, including North America, Europe, and Siberia. The roots are the active parts of the plant. It is a powerful adaptogen that can be incredibly useful for regulation the immune system during stress. It also improves memory, cardiac function, and speeds muscle recovery.
References from Institute of integrative Nutrition hormone health