It is not uncommon for women to sit with me, either professionally or socially, and find ourselves discussing health issues related to hormone balance. There are many, alarmingly common, hormone imbalances that create chronic conditions in the female body: PCOS is the most common, Endometriosis is quite common as well.
With PCOS diagnosis, women are dealing with a tension of hormones: too many androgens and too many estrogens. Androgens are male hormones, this condition is particularly marked by excess testosterone. It is a cause of infertility in women, as many women with PCOS do not ovulate, it isn’t uncommon to have a complete absence of menses. In the case of PCOS, I’d want to look at herbs and foods that are hormone balancing, glucose modulating, liver supportive, and adaptogenic.
There is a broad spectrum of hormone imbalance symptoms that don’t add up to a diagnosable disorder, this is the space between healthy hormone function and chronic condition. Even excessive PMS symptoms are a sign of minor hormone imbalance. The grey area of all illness, the space between so to speak, is when conditions are readily reversed. Once a condition has been established it is more work for the body to correct, however it too is completely possible. For example, I once had endometriosis, I do not anymore.
Traditional cultures the world over have used certain plants to regulate and support female hormones. In India, Shatavari is given in small doses daily to girls from onset of menses through menopause. In China, Dong Quai is the premier women’s tonic. Chasteberry is the female tonic most commonly used by European Herbalists. Patridgeberry Leaf is common among Native Americans, and Wild Yam is used in Mexico. These cultures, all much more ancient than our own, discovered that plants taken to support the female body, in small doses, over the lifetime, allowed for prevention of problematic conditions. Schisandra berry is a minor female tonic in Chinese medicine, used secondary to Dong Quai. I particularly like Schisandra because it is a primary liver herb as well as an adaptogen. Since the liver is responsible for processing all hormones, I generally include liver support when dealing with hormone regulation issues. Schisandra will be one of the herbs I discuss at my next class, coming up July 28, register here.
Chasteberry (also called Vitex) is my go-to for general female hormone balancing. It is readily available in high quality supplements and consistently performs well on a broad spectrum. If someone comes to me professionally for hormone balancing issues, depending on the person I am likely to build their formula around either Chasteberry, Dong Quai, or Shatavari.
Helping women feel good is a passion of mine and the plants are incredibly balancing. I don’t own the plants - but I sure love pointing you to them.
In the coming weeks and months I’ll be unrolling some downloadable classes on various topics, join my email list HERE to keep up on offerings.