Keeping one’s hormones in balance is critical to ensure that our body functions properly. Hormones play an important role in keeping our body in the pink of health and are responsible for relaying messages between our cells and organs.
Two key hormones that our body uses are estrogen and progesterone, which can fluctuate every month based on the kind of lifestyle we live. Improper sleep, excessive stress, lack of physical activity, and an unhealthy diet are some of the factors that can disrupt our hormones and put them out of balance.
Fortunately, there are plenty of herbs and holistic approaches that can help restore hormonal imbalances. Natural herbs have been used for medical treatments for a thousand years now and have proven to show impressive results on the overall functioning of our bodies when taken consistently.
Read on more to find our list of 5 effective herbs that can balance your hormones while effectively treating endocrine imbalances.
A word of caution - Herbal remedies are a great way to balance your hormones but always make sure to consult a medical professional before incorporating any herb in your lifestyle to avoid any potential side effects.
Black Cohosh (Actaea Racemosa)
A flowering plant that is native to North America, Black Cohosh has proven to balance estrogen levels in women’s bodies by increasing ovary-brain communication.
This herb gets its unique medicinal properties from the chrome triterpene glycosides present in its roots and flowers. It belongs to the Nigella sativa family which is also called the buttercup family.
Black Cohosh functions like a phytoestrogen - a property consistent with many herbs in its family. A phytoestrogen can increase and decrease estrogen levels in the body to balance your hormones.
Studies have proven the stunning effects it has on women suffering from PCOS and infertility. It also relieves symptoms of menopause like mood swings, sweating, hot flashes better than pharmaceutical medications.
While the benefits of Black Cohosh may seem promising, it should only be taken under a doctor’s advice to prevent any unwanted side effects. It should also not be used if a woman is pregnant or is breastfeeding.
Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus)
Vitex is grown in Central Asia and other Mediterranean countries and is part of the Verbenaceae family of plants. It’s also commonly called Chasteberry since it’s produced by Chase Trees.
The most effective part of this plant that helps in hormonal balance is its fruits. The fruits contain diterpenoid compounds. These compounds have impressive effects on the prolactin hormone and dopamine.
Vitex is proven to treat PMS, Menopause, infertility by reducing prolactin concentration in the blood and has been used since ancient times.
It naturally regulates the hormonal imbalance by balancing the pituitary gland, a master gland that is part of the endocrine system. It is responsible for secreting the major hormones of the body like TSH, Oxytocin, ADH, LH, etc.
By managing the pituitary gland, Vitex creates a domino effect and balances your hormones as well as other glands in the body.
Other potential benefits of the herb include reduced headaches, acne, and inflammation, as well as supporting the body's internal repair functions.
Vitex is renowned for being a beneficial herb for centuries and is usually combined with other herbs like Black Cohosh to be sold as a remedy in the form of teas or supplements.
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)
Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng is commonly known as a highly regarded herb that comes from the Nightshade family. It’s taken in the form of supplements, root powders and is sometimes put in teas.
The herb’s roots and leaves are rich in antioxidants that are known to enhance brain function, reduce inflammation, and lower blood sugar levels, all of which are important to balance your hormones.
Ashwagandha has a long history of being an “Adaptogen”. Adaptogens are primarily used to counter the effects of stress hormones.
Stress management has a direct effect on balancing hormone levels which is where Ashwagandha comes into play.
It monitors the cortisol hormone in our body which is secreted as a response to stress and blocks stress pathways in the brain by regulating neurotransmitters.
This herb also maintains healthy levels of insulin and monitors the thyroid gland.
Its roots contain a potent thyroid stimulant that alleviates the level of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones in the body.
Ashwagandha has many other health benefits as it contains Withaferin A, which is an anticancer biochemical used to kill cancer cells.
It also improves the immunity system of the body by releasing WBCs (White Blood Cells) that subdue infections and help reduce inflammation in the brain
Raspberry Leaf (Rubus Idaeus)
Raspberry leaf is part of the Rose Family and belongs to parts of North Asia and Europe. It has proven to be extremely beneficial for balancing female hormones.
It has been consumed in China for centuries as herbal medicine and its fruit also contains a variety of nutrients apart from being delicious.
Raspberry leaves have Tannins. They are compounds that maintain uterine contractions and thus, help in reducing menstrual cramps. It also facilitates muscle relaxation that can help ease labor during pregnancy.
Raspberry leaf also contains ellagic acid which reduces estrogen dominance thereby stopping heavy periods. Its high richness in vitamin C, minerals, and in particular iron improves fertility in both men and women and lowers down chances of hemorrhage.
Raspberry leaves also control mood swings by regulating levels of estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone in the body and are also full of antioxidants that help the body fight unwanted infections.
Oatstraw (Avena Sativa)
Oatstraw is not a mainstream herb that comes to people’s minds while treating hormonal imbalance but its benefits are hard to ignore.
It is great for gut health as it eases digestion in the body and also strengthens the nervous system.
It produces a calming effect on the body and balances your hormones by increasing the blood flow to the endocrine system and is also abundant with calcium and silica.
Oatstraw comes from the extract of the common oat plant that we eat and is rich in iron, zinc, and manganese.
It also inhibits PDE4 (phosphodiesterase enzyme) which balances hormones and relieves stress, anxiety, and depression which are common mood disorders that people affected with hormonal imbalances tend to experience, particularly in females.
Other general benefits of Oat Straw include improved brain function, skin and heart health as well as reduced inflammation and cholesterol.
Like for any supplement, you should take Oat Straw after consulting your doctor.
Hormonal imbalances and fluctuations are now more common than ever. Although our hormones fluctuate daily, long-term fluctuations can leave a harmful impact on our health.
To counter such adverse situations, it is important to make use of natural remedies available to us that allow the body to come to its innate state of balance without the use of harmful pharmaceutical medicines.
Everybody functions differently but by making use of natural herbs to balance your hormones, you nourish and support your glands rather than manipulating them with artificial medicines.
Natural herbs and remedies are a gift of nature that is most often compatible with each other and have a host of benefits for the body rather than just balancing hormones and we must use them to acquire our body’s natural state of balance.
Authored By : Tanya Thukral
Tanya is an Ayurvedic doctor who has a deep interest in spreading the message of healing and restoration through the age-old systems of Ayurveda and Yoga