In a society overpowered by pharmaceutical medications, we have almost given up on the power of herbs and natural healing. Growing up in a household that mostly relied on the use of herbs for curing various ailments, I have always been inspired by herbal remedies. Recently, my aunt took up to eating certain herbs that she believed helped her get through a disruptive menstrual cycle phase. Thinking it was another one of her experiments, I decided to get in touch with Jodie and ask her opinion on the matter. With her profound knowledge and farm life, Jodie was able to give me great insights into using herbs for improved female reproductive health and with that information, here, I give you a list of 5 most commonly found herbs and their important role in improving your reproductive health.
Chaste Tree Berries
One of the reasons many women have painful and irregular menstrual cycles is either because of a hormonal imbalance or because of a lack in progesterone production, both which leads to problems such as infertility, heavy bleeding, PMS and other similar problems. The berries work by stimulating the pituitary gland and normalizes the luteinizing hormone (LH) – a process that may take several months to show desired results. Note though that chaste tree berries are bitter in taste and because they have a direct impact on hormones and estrogen levels, should not be taken by pregnant women or during lactation.
One of the primary herbs for treating PMS and menopause is Dong Quai, also known as the Chinese Angelica. For centuries, the herb has been an important part of Chinese remedies for various ailments such as high blood pressure, ulcers and rheumatism, however, it is most effective for women suffering from menstrual cramps or weakness or from infertility and menopause. The Dong Quai balances the oestrogen and progesterone hormones thus easing the menstrual cycle and help bring regularity to a disturbed menstrual cycle. Women suffering from menopause can greatly benefit from this as it regulates the hormonal imbalance usually encountered. Again, like other herbs that are used to regulate hormonal balances should not be taken by pregnant women or those who have any form of allergic reactions.
The world of herbs and herbal treatment is incomplete without the mention of Indian herbs. While the Chinese made use of some excellent herbal remedies, the Indian yogis too were not far behind. If you have a Dong Quai or “female ginseng”, for treating PMS, you have Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), for being a reproductive tonic. Jodie also told me that the Shatavari name is translated as, “she who has a thousand husbands”. That calls for a huge WOW. Not that I want a thousand husbands but this translation does give you a hint at what this herb can do for your libido…I'm so not going to hate that! Jokes aside, Shatavari helps with stress, regulates menstrual cycles, reduces fluid retention and does a whole lot more.
It's best if you could get these herbs in their whole plant form as these are the safest in terms of ingestion. And get a naturopath or herbalist to help you with the dosage, as like all things overdoing it on herbs is not always the best idea.
Before you take herbal supplements, always check up with your naturopath or physician to see if you have any allergy, medication or medical condition that could interact.