9 Herbs for Hormone Balance
Reviewed by: Dr. Erin Biller, ND, CMO at Feminade
Have you ever experienced healing through natural plant medicine?
We often find times when our hormones are out of balance during our PCOS journey and experience symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, sleep trouble, lack of libido, and more.
Not to mention, hormone-disrupting chemicals, environmental toxins, lifestyle habits, and added stress can make it all the more challenging to manage.
Luckily, there are some fantastic herbs to help support hormone balance.
We’re going to dive into herbal supplements to discover which ones can help you feel like the best version of yourself.
Is It Possible To Balance Hormones Naturally?
The short answer? Yes! A variety of lifestyle and environmental factors can cause your hormones to go out of balance. The good thing is that many of these factors can be helped by making some subtle yet significant changes, such as:
- Get adequate sleep
- Engage in regular exercise that supports menstruation, the follicular phase and the luteal phase
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Boost your gut health
- Lower sugar intake
- Practice stress reduction and managment techniques
Some of these changes aren’t as easy to make as others, but you’ll be well on your way to a happier and healthier life with the right motivation and support.
What Contributes to Hormone Imbalance?
The endocrine system is a messenger system of glands throughout your body that signal, produce, and distribute hormones to where they need to go. Several factors can cause hormone imbalance, including the following:
Not eating a variety of foods that contain vital nutrients your body needs for everyday functions or eating too many processed foods with added hormones and antibiotics can contribute to imbalance.
Smoking, excessive drinking, caffeine, pregnancy or postpartum hormonal changes, and prolonged stress can prevent your body from producing your natural hormones.
Exposure to UV rays, pesticides found in food, genetically modified organisms (GMO), and even certain makeup can affect your body’s hormone production.
Some medications, such as benzodiazepines, opioids, steroids, birth control, can affect you by causing your body to produce too much or too little hormones.
Conditions such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can all impact your hormones.
The good news? There is hope! Once you and your doctor have ruled out any serious causes, you are ready to embark on an herbal journey to help balance your hormones.
How Do I Know If I Have a Hormone Imbalance?
While everybody is different, some common side effects of a hormone imbalance include fatigue, depression, mood swings, tender breasts, hair loss, acne, low libido, problems with fertility, hot flashes, and night sweats.
It’s important to discuss these issues with your doctor to ensure they are due to a hormone imbalance and not a different underlying condition.
Ready to unlock your hormone story? Order our test kit to find out your hormone levels and start on the path to feeling better and balanced.
What Herbs Can Promote Hormone Balance?
There are many herbs available that can help balance and regulate your hormone levels. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites to help get you on the right track.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it can help your body to naturally adapt to physical and emotional stressors. Ashwagandha has been known to support healthy cortisol levels, which is your body’s stress hormone, and prevent you from feeling fatigued, depressed, and anxious related to stress. Ashwagandha may also help reduce anxiety.
Black cohosh has been studied to show that it binds to your body’s natural opioid receptors, meaning it may help ease discomfort and muscle aches associated with menopause. It may also aid in alleviating depression and fatigue also associated with menopause. Black cohosh may also help with night sweats and hot flashes.
However, if you or your family have a history of liver disease, you should discuss this with your doctor before taking any supplement.
Chasteberry, sometimes referred to as Vitex, is an herb used to reduce side effects common with your menstrual cycle. Vitex influences dopaminergic transmission as well as regulates prolactin, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone. It has been shown to increase progesterone levels in your body, which may help reduce symptoms such as breast tenderness, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and uncomfortable period cramps.
Dandelion root is is a choleretic, cholagogue, tonic, antirheumatic, and bitter herb that is very help to the GI tract. This herb has shown to be beneficial in cleansing the body of excess hormones and helping reduce the symptoms associated with hormone imbalance.
However, keep in mind that it’s essential to avoid dandelion root if you have a known allergy to the Asteraceae family.
Maca, often referred to as “nature’s viagra,” can support improved libido levels, reduced depression, fatigue, hot flashes, and other symptoms related to menopause.
Maca is also believed to help balance adrenal hormones in particular cortisol.
Similar to dandelion root, milk thistle is a cleansing herb primarily used for liver detoxification. Milk thistle has been known to be beneficial for increasing estrogen metabolism, meaning it can aid in cleansing excess estrogen from your body to reduce hormone imbalance symptoms such as head and neck tension, mood swings, bloating, and difficulty sleeping. Milk thistle is also a galactagogue.
Like dandelion root, avoid milk thisle if you have a known allergy to the Asteraceae family. Milk thistle may increase metabolism of some drugs.
Motherwort has been commonly used to help with irregular menstrual cycles and period cramps. Motherwort has been shown to increase blood flow to the pelvic area, which can also aid in reduced hot flashes, mood swings, and stress brought on by menopause.
Red Raspberry Leaf
Did you know that the leaves from those delicious berries actually have some medicinal properties stored in them?
Red raspberry leaf is frequently used for PMS symptoms, including cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, many women use red raspberry leaf during pregnancy to reduce morning sickness, strengthen the uterine muscles, shorten labor, and obtain temporary relief for labor pain.
It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or midwife before taking any herbal supplement during your pregnancy.
How Should I Use Herbs for Hormone Support?
While many of the herbs we discussed offer similar benefits, choosing the right one can feel daunting for many women. Here are key questions to ask yourself when deciding which supplements may be best for you:
- Which supplement benefits best describes the symptoms you wish to reduce?
- Which is the most affordable and practical for you to take?
- Which form of supplement (pill, tincture, and tea) will be the easiest for you to fit into your daily routine?
- How quickly do you want to see benefits from your supplement?
- How long do you want to be taking this herbal supplement?
Some of the herbs we mentioned, such as dandelion root or red raspberry leaf, are available in loose herbs or tea bags. These may be a good option if you have trouble swallowing pills or are looking for a refreshing way to take your supplement.
Other herbs, such as maca or chasteberry are available in capsules or tinctures, so these may be better for you if you can swallow pills easily or need something to fit your busy lifestyle.
How Long Will It Take To Feel a Difference?
Depending on the herbal supplement and dosage you take, results may come in as little as a few days or as long as several weeks.
Some herbs, such as ashwagandha, can take up to a couple of weeks to notice effects, whereas chasteberry can take up to 18 months to reap the full benefits. After all, it comes down to the severity of your symptoms and how quickly you are looking for relief.
The Bottom Line
Hormones do not have to be a scary word and an even scarier experience. We’re here to make navigating your body and your health easy and achievable.
At Feminade, our experienced experts can answer your questions and concerns, help make product and herb recommendations, and help you turn your hormones into your greatest superpower.
Ready to start your hormone journey with us? Join now and take the first steps towards a happier and healthier you.