Nowadays, a high percentage of women may experience hormonal imbalances, from PMS to menopause associated symptoms. In recent years, people have started to talk more rigorously about this topic: period pain, symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome, etc. Now we know that the period should not hurt and that if it does it is very possible that we have an excess of estrogens in our body or an imbalance between progesterone and estrogens, for example. We also know that diet and lifestyle significantly influence our hormonal system, therefore, although each case is particular and should be individually addresses, the strong drop in estrogen that women suffer during menopause and all the related can be supported by introducing more phytoestrogens into our diet (considering there is no risk of estrogen-dependent breast cancer).
Some of the symptoms that can show a hormonal imbalance are:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, stress…
- Unexplained weight changes
- Sleep disorders
- Variable appetite
- Digestive problems
- Hair loss or thinning
Here are 5 herbs that help to balance your hormones:
Maca has been used for centuries by the Peruvian people for fertility, hormonal balance, libido and endurance. 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 person’s 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. We like to call it a regulator. It regulates hormones and keeps 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. It is a natural “Viagra” of all 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
It has a pleasant taste as a tea and is 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. This herb helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and even helps to 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
This is one of an all-time favorite herb 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. Oatstraw strengthens the nerves, calms the body, strengthens the blood, stabilizes moods, strengthens digestion, sooths the stomach, balances the endocrine system or those hormone producing glands, supports the skeletal system due to its abundance of bio-available calcium, magnesium, and silica, and calms 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.
Natural ingredients to balance our hormones naturally
At Vitae we believe in enhancing well-being from within, working with the origin of the dysfunction. We believe in health and that is why we work with ingredients that are respectful to our body. When it comes to hormonal imbalances, there are a number of ingredients that could be very beneficial. Of course, always under professional supervision to study our case in depth and recommend the best options.
- Healthy fats
Yes, fats are good and they need to be part of our daily diet, specially omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. You will have already read about the benefits of omega-3 but we will repeat them because they are of great importance. One of the biggest benefits it has is the powerful anti-inflammatory action that will also positively impact our cognitive performance, cardiovascular health and skin and mucous membranes, among many other things. When we any physiological imbalance, inflammation often occurs and that is why consuming omega-3 will help us keep this problem under control.
Omega-6 is often linked to unhealthy fats, namely trans and ultra-processed fats. Even so, consumed in its proper measure and combined with omega-3 in a specific proportion, it can bring us great benefits. The correct ratio should be between 1: 1 and 4: 1 of omega-6 and 3 respectively. The problem is that most diets have more omega-6s than omega-3s.
The most beneficial ingredients rich in fatty acids would be blue fish (make sure it is as organic as possible), chia, flax, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, algae, eggs, olive oil, coconut, avocado, legumes and soy (always eaten in moderation and as least transgenic as possible).
- Valerian, Passionflower and California Poppy
These three ingredients, combined with each other, can have unique effects on our health. It is important to remind that they do not create dependency or habituation, that is, they are respectful with our body and adapt to our physiology. Secondly, they will help us to regulate stress and anxiety in a natural way and as a consequence, to improve our hormonal levels.
In addition, if we find it difficult to sleep (a direct side effect of anxious states) we can find food supplements on the market based on natural plants and melatonin, which although it is a hormone and we should not abuse it, will help us regulate our sleep-wake cycle in a natural way.
As we always say, take care of yourself from the inside out!