What are the best herbs for female hormone balance?
Are you a female who suffers from a hormonal imbalance?
Are you post-menopausal?
Are you looking for a way to restore hormonal balance without prescription medications?
Female hormonal imbalance can cause many annoying symptoms such as:
- Weight Gain
- Mood swings
- Menstrual changes
- Vaginal Dryness
- Hair Loss
- Low Libido
- Increase in Acne
- Digestive problems
- Hot Flashes
- Night Sweats
Several herbal remedies can help restore hormonal balance. This post will examine herbal supplements that can help balance female hormones.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens help our body adapt to stress by normalizing physiological processes. Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine for its many positive medicinal effects on the body. For example, Ashwagandha is thought to improve the hormonal imbalances in females that can lead to cramping, irregular periods, fertility issues, and the negative symptoms of menopause.
Ashwagandha has been shown to improve sexual function in healthy women.1
Dong Quai is a plant in the same family as carrots, celery, and parsley. The roots of the Dong Quai plant have been used to treat the symptoms of menopause.
It is thought to act similar to estrogen, and because of this, dong quai may interact with estrogen-containing medications. Dong quai may also interact with Warfarin, and other blood thinners, which may increase bleeding risks.
The chaste tree berry is the fruit of the chaste tree. This berry is also known as monk’s pepper because monks were thought to use this to decrease sexual desire in the Middle Ages.
Even though sample sizes were small, clinical studies have shown extracts of chasteberry can effectively treat premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and latent hyperprolactinemia.2
These results suggest chasteberry may help restore female hormone balance, especially concerning prolactin, progesterone, and possibly estrogen.
Red clover is a flowering plant that belongs to the bean family. Red clover has been shown to be effective in treating hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms.3
There are interactions between red clover and some medications. Check with your physician or pharmacist if you plan to take this supplement. This is true, especially if you take blood thinners, tamoxifen, or hormone replacement therapy.4
Red clover also possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This herb can be consumed in herbal teas or supplement forms.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose (EPO) is a flowering plant native to North and South America. Its flowers are closed during the day and open at sunset. EPO is made from the plant’s seeds and contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and other omega-6 fatty acids.
GLA has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties. GLA may also affect hormone levels which could explain its use in relieving PMS symptoms, including hot flashes. One study found EPO was able to reduce the severity of hot flashes when compared to a placebo.5
EPO has also been used for breast tenderness and pain, although studies have not shown it to be more effective than a placebo.
Fenugreek is an herb native to West Asia, parts of Europe, and Iran. This herb has been used to stimulate milk production in new mothers. A study published in 2014 concluded that Fenugreek Seed reduced dysmenorrhea symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, headache, syncope, and fatigue.6
Avena sativa is the Latin name for the common oat. Oats are often consumed as oatmeal for breakfast. Some people believe oats can increase blood flow, increase sexual desire and help to relieve menstrual cramping. Oats may also remove testosterone from binding sites.
The roots of black cohosh are often used to relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual cramps, and menopausal symptoms. However, rather than increasing estrogen levels, it is thought that black cohosh may increase the effects of estrogen.
Black cohosh may cause headache, rash, and an upset stomach and may also have negative effects on the liver. Black cohosh should not be combined with hepatotoxic medications.
Maca root, also known as Peruvian ginseng, is a vegetable belonging to the brassica (mustard) family. It is native to the Peruvian Andes mountain range and has been used as a food and herbal medicine for 2000 years in Peru.7
Maca may help with specific menopausal systems such as hot flashes and poor sleep.
Although few extensive clinical studies have been conducted on the use of maca for the treatment of menopause, a systematic review conducted in 2011 found maca to be more effective than a placebo.8
More research needs to be completed to evaluate this herb’s safety and effectiveness in treating menopause.
I believe herbs available today may decrease the need for hormone replacement therapy in women. Hormone imbalance in women can reduce their quality of life. Many of these herbal supplements can also help with other ailments, as noted below:
Ashwagandha: stress, depression, anxiety, improved memory, insomnia, inflammation
Dong quai: Premature ejaculation
Chaste berry: Acne, infertility
Red clover: Cancer, heart disease, bone loss
Evening primrose oil: Acne, eczema, skin health, hypertension, nerve pain, heart health, bone pain
Fenugreek seed: cholesterol, heartburn, appetite suppressant, inflammation, diabetes
Avena sativa: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gout, anxiety, constipation, gallstones
Maca root: Erectile dysfunction, fertility enhancement, anemia, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
I have attempted to include the best herbs available today to help balance hormonal issues in women. In addition to these natural products, there are other terrific options available to help, including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Biofeedback and relaxation training
As a society, I believe we are too quick to turn to prescription medications. As a pharmacist, I recognize that every drug has side effects. The combination of medicines can also cause harmful effects. I firmly believe alternative approaches should be tried for many ailments before prescription drugs. Always remember the five pillars of health:
- Eat Whole Foods
- Drink Plenty of Water
- Get Enough Sleep
- Foster Spiritual and Mental Health
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me. My contact information is available in the author box below.
Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP
Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.
Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.