For years I have stood by the belief that to find true wellness, it is necessary to approach the journey with a multi-faceted plan. In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s discuss some herbs that have been passed down through the ages as helpful for all things female. Many herbs, foods, teas, etc can support women’s health. Today we’ll cover a few of my favorites. I am obligated to tell you, I do not prescribe or diagnose. This information is purely educational. It is up to you to do your own research and/or discuss with your providers before starting any new supplement regimen. With that out of the way, let’s get to it!
One of my personal favorites is an herb called Vitex (aka chaste berry). As early as 450 BC it was suggested by Hippocrates, and it is still recommended today for PMS and menopausal symptoms. Some research suggests that vitex helps to regulate the pituitary gland, so the signals it sends to the other glands allow the correct amount of each hormone to be released. It has been used for mood swings, depression, eases food cravings, symptoms of PMS, menopause, fibroid cysts, and irregular menstrual cycles, and can even increase fertility. It can be very helpful in regulating the cycle when coming off of hormonal birth control-however it can hinder the effects of hormonal birth control when taken together, so use alternative prevention methods. It can be helpful in increasing milk supply for lactating mothers. In some cases, it can even help to reduce the chance of miscarriage. Can you see why I love it!? Some research has shown improvement in symptoms in as early as 10 days, but it can take up to 6 months before full benefits are recognized.
Most herbal remedies work like that. See often herbs are used to treat the root cause of a symptom instead of covering up the symptom itself. OTC medications like ibuprofen can be so helpful in the immediate need for relief. They are designed to work quickly and provide short-term relief from your symptom. There is nothing wrong with this, in some cases, this is necessary and so helpful. But, wellness is not about treating a crisis, it’s about preventing those crisis situations. Be patient with your body when you are looking to truly heal. You’ve been conditioned to believe that every fix is fast, but often fast fixes have short durations. 6 months is only 6 cycles, and that is only 6 chances for the supplement to begin to create balance. When you think about it that way, it’s not so bad to wait 6 months for results, you certainly have to do more than 6 push-ups to get in shape!
Nettles are another great one. Being that this leaf is considered a blood-building herb, it is great at supporting those with heavy menstruation, uterine hemorrhaging, and excessive bleeding. It is a source of iron and vitamin C and can be used to reverse anemia. It is also high in calcium, silica, potassium, manganese, sulfur, and vitamin A. It has been used for years to help relieve pain and inflammation. It can also promote hair growth!
Red raspberry leaf is another great herb to help tone the uterus. It can be used in pregnancy and can even facilitate labor. Because it helps to tone the uterus, it is great post-partum as well to help minimize bleeding after birth. It is great for daily use prior to pregnancy to help improve the health and strength of the uterus. Like nettles, it can also be used to help relieve pain and excessive bleeding during menstruation, and it can even be used to help correct uterine prolapse.
Evening primrose is a powerhouse for women. This is an unsaturated fatty acid and can help relieve PMS symptoms, breast cysts, and cramps, and can ease endometriosis for women who use it regularly. It can support the heart, aiding in the prevention of heart attack and lowering blood pressure and high cholesterol for some users. It is shown to aid in hyperactivity in children, and nutritional deficiencies such as zinc, pyridoxine, niacin, vitamin C, eczema, psoriasis, brittle nails, viral infections, and asthma, and helps speed the healing of wounds. It is also helpful for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Finally, Ginseng. It is best known to sharpen the mind and physical stamina, but it also helps the body adapt to many variants of stress. It appears to bring the entire hormonal system into balance. It can aid in healthy digestion and a healthy sexual response.
Cramp bark deserves mention too. Because it is an antispasmodic it helps relieve cramping and irregular bleeding. Not just great for uterine cramps, but leg cramps too. If you’re looking for something to help relieve pain during your period that is not ibuprofen or Midol, this is it.
There are many different formulas and supplements on the market today. Be mindful about what you chose, do your research on the company and always opt for whole food supplements instead of anything with fillers and dyes. If you'd like a little guidance on which supplement is right for you, I'd be happy to work with you. Book a Wellness Session today!
Source: Women's Herbs, Women's Health