Best Herbs for Balancing Hormones in Women

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Being a woman isn’t easy. Hormones, PMS, menstrual cycles, menopause the stress never seems to end.


Hormonal fluctuations are uncomfortable and can trigger mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. If that wasn’t enough, we also have to deal with pain and for some people, excruciating pain.


More and more women are ditching conventional hormone replacements and medications and treatments in search of more natural herbs for balancing hormones. Research suggests that long-term hormonal imbalances can also lead to breast cancer.


Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance


Sometimes it’s easy to tell when our hormones are way out of whack because we experience night sweats or excruciating pain. However, some symptoms are much subtler and may go unnoticed until other prominent symptoms arise.


* Low sex drive

* Endometriosis and painful periods

* Mood swings or unmanageable anxiety

* Irregular menstrual cycles

* Insomnia or oversleeping

* Overeating or increased appetite

* Weight gain, especially in the midsection such as hips, lower abdomen, and thighs


Fortunately, there are 24 natural herbs for balancing hormones

available.


Maca Root

Maca root has been used for centuries throughout the Andes for infertility and symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, sleep disruptions, and night sweats. Its long-term use makes maca root one of the best herbs for balancing hormones and increasing energy. Maca root is available as a tea which makes an excellent less-stimulating replacement for your morning coffee. It has mostly centered on these three shades of maca:

Yellow: This has been shown to help protect against UV radiation from the sun when applied in a liquid form to the skin.

Red maca appears to be good for bone strength.

Black: has been shown to promote bone strength and improved brain function, such as memory and cognition. In men, it can help increase sperm count and reduce issues like enlarged prostate in men.

3.5 grams of powdered Maca per day Start with a dose of 1 teaspoon and if you are tolerating that well, without side effects, increase the dose up to 1 tablespoon. If that proves too strong, lower the dose a little – to 2 teaspoons a day. Take maca for 2 to 3 weeks – because it can take that long before you see the full benefits.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Maca is generally considered safe . However, Peruvian natives believe that consuming fresh maca root may have adverse health effects and recommend boiling it first.

Additionally, if you have thyroid problems, you may want to be careful with maca.

That's because it contains goitrogens, substances that may interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. These compounds are more likely to affect you if you already have impaired thyroid function.

Lastly, pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult with their doctors before taking maca

Ashwagandha

Traditionally cultivated throughout southern Asia and especially India, Ashwagandha can reduce cortisol levels, regulate your endocrine system, increase sexual arousal, and reduce menopause symptoms. Having been considered as one of the best herbs for managing thyroid health,

Ashwagandha is a knock-out.

Dosage : Take 300–500 mg of a root extract with meals (with breakfast, if taken all at once).

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Ashwagandha is a safe supplement for most people. However, certain individuals should not take it, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.

People with autoimmune diseases should also avoid ashwagandha unless authorized by a doctor. This includes people with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and type 1 diabetes. Additionally, those on medication for thyroid disease should be careful when taking ashwagandha, as it may potentially increase thyroid hormone levels in some people.

Avena Sativa

Generations of women swear by avena sativa – or oats, being its common name – as a libido enhancer, alleviator of menstrual cramps, and general aphrodisiac. It is believed to increase blood flow and stimulate the central nervous system, encouraging the physical and emotional desire for sex. Researchers also believe avena sativa frees bound testosterone, an essential hormone for sexual desire in both genders.

Oat Straw Herbal Tincture 1-3ml up to 3 times per day.

Dose: Tincture ten to twenty drop doses, preferably in hot water.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

None known, however proceed with caution if sensitive to gluten (celiacs disease).

Catuaba bark

The Tupi Indians of Brazil discovered and celebrated the many health benefits of Catuaba, particularly its effect as a libido enhancer. According to Brazilian research, the bark contains yohimbine, a known aphrodisiac and powerful stimulant. It stimulates the central nervous system, thereby providing energy and a more positive mood.

Catuaba Bark 465 mg=1 Capsule take one to two times per day with water.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Do not take this product if you are nursing or pregnant.

Turmeric

Turmeric doesn’t necessarily balance your hormones. However, it does have anti-inflammatory properties which makes it perfect for reducing pain from menstrual cramps or endometriosis. Turmeric also has antioxidant properties which inhibit aging and improve skin.

doses of 500–2,000 mg of turmeric per day, often in the form of an extract with a curcumin concentration (60–100 mg of curcumin) per day.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Turmeric usually does not cause significant side effects; however, some people can experience stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea. Gallbladder problems: Turmeric can make gallbladder problems worse. Do not use turmeric if you have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction. Bleeding problems: Taking turmeric might slow blood clotting. This might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. Diabetes: Curcumin, a chemical in turmeric, might decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes. Use with caution in people with diabetes as it might make blood sugar too low. A stomach disorder called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Turmeric can cause stomach upset in some people. It might make stomach problems such as GERD worse. Do not take turmeric if it worsens symptoms of GERD. Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which might act like the hormone estrogen. In theory, turmeric might make hormone-sensitive conditions worse. However, some research shows that turmeric reduces the effects of estrogen in some hormone-sensitive cancer cells. Therefore, turmeric might have beneficial effects on hormone-sensitive conditions. Until more is known, use cautiously if you have a condition that might be made worse by exposure to hormones.

Vitex (Chaste-berry)

Vitex works directly with your pituitary gland helping to regulate estrogen and progesterone production. For this reason, vitex is a great natural alternative to the pill when it comes to easing PMS symptoms and menstrual cycles. Vitex is available in supplement and liquid extract form.

Dosage

For PMS symptoms, uterine fibroids, premenstrual acne, endometriosis, and female infertility, 400 to 500 mg of standardized extract For menopausal symptoms, low doses of about 200 mg per day. Agnuside is the active ingredient found in chasteberry, and powder extracts of chasteberry are generally standardized to contain 0.5% agnuside

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Drug interactions or contraindications with chasteberry are unknown. However, because it increases dopamine, it may interfere with drugs that affect dopamine levels.

This would mainly apply to patients taking antipsychotic drugs and those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. These individuals should consult their doctor before taking chasteberry.

Women taking other hormone-altering drugs such as birth control pills should not use chasteberry. Hormonal changes caused by chasteberry interrupt the action of these drugs. Furthermore, if you have a hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, then chasteberry should be avoided

Dong Quai

Dong quai is known as the female ginseng due to its qualities as a “gynecological regulator.” This herb contains many vitamins and minerals including folic acid and B 12 which help support healthy blood flow. This ancient Chinese herb may also help reduce stress.

Dosages generally range from 2 to 4 grams per day, typically divided into two or three doses. However, it is always best to start with a smaller dose and work your way up to assess your tolerance.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Dong quai contains coumarin, one of the main ingredients in blood-thinning medications like Warfarin. If you are taking Warfarin or another blood thinner, taking dong quai may increase your risk of bleeding.

You should also be careful about combining dong quai with other natural blood thinners, such as ginger, Ginkgo biloba or garlic. Taking dong quai along with these compounds could increase your risk of bleeding or bruising.

For those who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, taking dong quai is not advisable and may increase the risk of miscarriage. It should also not be taken by those who are breastfeeding, taking oral birth control pills or using hormone replacement therapy.

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is another anti-inflammatory which helps to reduce menstrual and muscle pain by lowering hormone levels. It is also one of the most studied herbs for reducing menopause symptoms including hot flashes.

Dosage 40 mg of standardized herb per capsule to guarantee 2.5% tripterpene glycosides I-2 times per day.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Black cohosh is associated with generally mild side effects, though some are more serious than others. One of the major side effects is liver damage. Don’t use black cohosh if you have a history of liver disorders. Also avoid it if you’re experiencing symptoms that can signal liver trouble, like abdominal pain, jaundice, or dark-colored urine.

Other side effects of black cohosh include:

upset stomach,dizziness,headache,nausea,vomiting,low blood pressure changes in heart rhythm

The black cohosh plant is in the same family as the buttercup plant, so people who have allergies to buttercups should not try black cohosh.

Black cohosh isn’t recommended for use during pregnancy or breast-feeding. There’s a risk of causing early labor for women who are pregnant. It’s not yet known if the herb is safe for breast-feeding women. It is also not recommended for use in children.

Ginseng

Women in China have used ginseng for centuries to regulate menstrual cycles and calm PMS symptoms. Enjoy ginseng either in capsules or tea. Ginseng also helps reduce chronic stress and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels. Bonus: ginseng can help stimulate arousal.

Dosage Take 1 500mg capsule 2 times per day with meals.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

However, people taking diabetes medications should monitor their blood sugar levels closely when using ginseng to ensure these levels do not go too low.

Additionally, ginseng may reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulant drugs.

For these reasons, talk to your doctor before supplementing with it.

Tongkat Ali

Low libido or energy? Look no further than tongkat ali. This powerful and ancient Chinese aphrodisiac increases libido, cognitive function, and reduces stress. Tongkat ali may also promote hormonal balance making it perfect for managing all symptoms associated with menopause and other hormone fluctuations throughout life.

Dosages 200mg or 400mg of the water-soluble Tongkat Ali extract daily

acceptable daily dosage for adults is up to 1.2 g/ day

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Though reports of side effects are mild and few, the potential side effects include nausea and upset stomach; therefore, tongkat ali should be taken with food. Because tongkat ali is an energizing adaptogen, it should be used with caution by individuals with sleep issues or who are overcoming health adversity. Like many herbs, tongkat ali has mild blood thinning properties; if you are taking prescription blood thinners, consult your healthcare provider before taking tongkat ali.

Ginger

Regular ginger consumption can stimulate libido function, reduce pain, and promote digestive health. It can also help reduce nausea during pregnancy. With its sweet and unique taste, ginger can be perfectly enjoyed as a tea. Cheers!

Dosage 200-550 mg capsules 2 time per day

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Mild side effects including heartburn, diarrhea, and general stomach discomfort. Some women have reported extra menstrual bleeding while taking ginger. Avoid ginger if you have ulcers/inflammation Avoid if you have bleeding disorders Can react with certain drugs

Muira puama

European explorers brought this little herbal gem, termed "potency wood," back from the New World. It is known to calm nerves and relieve anxiety, and it is also said to increase blood flow to the pelvic area. Women who use muira piama report greater sexual desire, more satisfying intercourse, and more intense orgasms.

Dosage Taken: 2-4ml to be taken 2 times per day. 20 drops from the glass dropper equals approximately 1ml. Caplules 500 mg 2 times per day

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking muira puama if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Shilajit

Prized by both traditional Indian and Chinese medicines, the Chinese consider it a Jing tonic, or a tonic which aids physical energy and sexual drive. It’s formed from organic compressed plant material from the Himalayas. The compound is then concentrated and purified to create a high-potency extract. Packed with nutrients, amino acids, and antioxidants, its fulvic acid passes easily across the intestinal barrier which expedites antioxidant availability. It also promotes vitality by stimulating cellular ATP production. Shilajit is also known to alleviate anxiety, lift mood, and stimulate overall health.

Dosage The recommended dose of shilajit is 300 to 500 mg per day

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Don’t take shilajit if you have sickle cell anemia, hemochromatosis (too much iron in your blood), or thalassemia. It’s possible to be allergic to this supplement. Stop taking shilajit if you develop rash, increased heart rate, or dizziness.

Suma Root

A popular aphrodisiac from the Amazon, suma root is sometimes referred to as South American Ginseng. It’s commonly used to improve mood, stimulate sexual desire, and encourage reproductive health. Research with animal models support these uses, noting it increases levels of estradiol-17beta, a powerful sex hormone essential to reproductive health and balanced hormone levels.

Dosage 200 to 600 mg/day. 1-3 capsules per day

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Not suitable for people with oestrogen-positive cancers.

Tribulus terrestris

Popular in both Chinese and Indian cultures, Tribulus terrestris has a long-held reputation as an aphrodisiac. It may stimulate androgen receptors in the brain and encourage the body to use hormones more efficiently.

Dosage traditional dosages of the basic root powder are in the 5-6g range while the fruits are in the 2-3g range. powder take 1 or 2 teaspoons a day in a little milk or juice. When taking Tribulus Terrestris as a Tincture- Suggested Dosage: Up to 5-10ml daily Spread over the day

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Uncommon side effects include minor stomach cramps or reflux, Long term use of Tribulus alone is not recommended due to its diuretic properties.

Licorice Root

Most licorice root grows in Greece, Turkey, and Asia. Centuries ago, licorice root was used in Greece, China, and Egypt for stomach inflammation and upper respiratory problems. Licorice root also has been used as a sweetener. Today, people use licorice root as a dietary supplement for digestive problems, menopausal symptoms, cough, and bacterial and viral infections.

Dosage licorice Tincture: Traditionally Taken: 2-3ml taken 2-3 times per day. 20 drops from the glass dropper equals approximately 1ml.

1/2 - 1 tsp root per 1 cup of boiling water. Taken as a Tea

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

licorice root should not be taken by people on digoxin-based drugs. It should also be avoided during pregnancy and in cirrhosis of the liver. It may interfere with the calcium and potassium absorption. Do not use if you are suffering from osteoporosis, hypertension (increases water around heart).

Chamomile

Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind. It is a member of the Asteraceae/Compositae family and represented by two common varieties viz. German Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The dried flowers of chamomile contain many terpenoids and flavonoids contributing to its medicinal properties. Chamomile preparations are commonly used for many human ailments such as hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, and hemorrhoids. Essential oils of chamomile are used extensively in cosmetics and aromatherapy.

Dosage

Herbal Tea: 1-2 tsp flowers per 1 cup of boiling water up to 3 times a day

Herbal Tincture: 2 - 4ml tincture up to 3 times a day

Relaxing Bath: 1/2 cup of flowers to 2 liters of hot water to add to the bath tub.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Chamomile is part of the Asteraceae plant family, which includes ragweed and chrysanthemum, people with allergies may react when they use chamomile either internally or topically. Call your doctor if you experience vomiting, skin irritation, allergic reactions (chest tightness, wheezing, hives, rash, itching) after chamomile use.

Chamomile should not be taken during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

Chamomile contains coumarin, a naturally-occurring compound with anticoagulant or blood-thinning effects. It should not be combined with warfarin or other medications or supplements that have the same effect or be used by people with bleeding disorders.

Do not use two weeks before or after surgery.

Kelp

Since inflammation and stress are considered risk factors for many chronic diseases, Kelp is naturally high in antioxidants, including carotenoids, flavonoids, and alkaloids, which help to fight against disease-causing free radicals.

Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, and minerals like manganese and zinc, help to combat oxidative stress and may offer benefits to cardiovascular health. There have been many claims regarding kelp’s abilities to fight chronic disease, including cancer. Sea vegetables in estrogen-related and colon cancers, osteoarthritis, and other conditions. Researchers found that kelp can slow the spread of colon and breast cancers. A compound found in kelp called fucoidan may also prevent the spread of lung cancer.. This doesn’t mean that kelp should be used to cure any diseases or be considered a guaranteed protection against disease.

Dosage Suggested Use: 0.25 gram of Kelp Powder can be taken daily. Take only small amounts since Kelp Powder is very high in Iodine. 1 teaspoon equals 4 grams (1 tsp = 4g)

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before taking this product. Kelp is not suitable for children.

Fenugreek

For thousands of years, fenugreek has been used in alternative and Chinese medicine to treat skin conditions and many other diseases. This herb may help with numerous digestive problems, such as upset stomach, constipation and inflammation of the stomach. Whether you’re worried about maintaining adequate milk production to nurse your new baby or concerned about hot flashes during menopause, Diosgenin, a naturally occurring compound in fenugreek that mimics the estrogen your body produces, accounts for the herb’s ability to minimize the effects of hot flashes and menstrual cramps

Dosage Take 1 to 2 grams two or three times a day 1 teaspoon equals 3 grams (1 tsp = 3g)

Fenugreek Tincture: Traditionally Taken: 2 - 3ml two or three times a day.

20 drops from the glass dropper equals approximately 1ml.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

se of more than 100 grams of seeds daily can cause intestinal upset and nausea

Red Clover

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a flowering plant, which blossoms, leaves, and stems can be used as medicine. The isoflavones in red clover are similar to estrogen, so red clover is often used as a source of bioidentical hormones. Most of the red clover studies are in post-menopausal women. Its many health benefits include reducing menopause symptoms and hair loss, protecting against cancer, and preventing skin diseases

Dosage 1-2 teaspoon per cup of hot water up to 3 times per day. 1 teaspoon equals 1 gram (1 tsp = 1g)

Red Clover Flowers Tincture: Traditionally Taken: 2-5ml up three times a day. 20 drops from the glass dropper equals approximately 1ml.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

If taking blood thinning medication consult doctor before taking Red clover. Not known to interfere with prescription hormone replacement drugs such as HRT. It is not recommended for women on oestrogen based birth control pills.

Cramp Bark

Cramp bark ( Viburnum opulus) is perhaps most thought of as a women’s herb for helping with painful menstruation, but it is worth noting that there are lots of other traditional uses that show it has a general effect on spasm and tension elsewhere in the body. Native American medicine used Cramp bark for cramps and pains throughout the body. In some cases of arthritis, where joint weakness and pain have caused the muscles to contract until they are almost rigid, cramp bark can bring remarkable relief, as the muscles relax, blood flow to the area improves, waste products such as lactic acid are removed, and normal function can return.

Dosage Traditionally Taken: 2-3ml taken 2-3 times per day,

20 drops from the glass dropper equals approximately 1ml

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Do not use Cramp Bark if you have an aspirin sensitivity.

Not recommended for young children.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking prescription medications.

Do not exceed the recommended dose.

Milk Thistle

Liver detoxification is at the top of the list when it comes to hormonal balance. Just one of the many roles of your liver is to remove excess hormones from your system. If your liver is overloaded or congested, dealing with other toxins from food, water and environment, this function may slow down and you can wind up with hormonal problems like excess estrogen.

Dosage Milk Thistle Tincture: Traditionally Taken: 1-2ml up to 3 times per day. 20 drops from the glass dropper equals approximately 1ml.

The suggested powder dose is ½g. This can be increased up to 2g. The powder can be rehydrated in water or fruit juice. Do not exceed the recommended serving. 1 teaspoon equals 3 grams (1 tsp = 3g)

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Has been known to cause an allergic reaction (proceed with care), A laxative effect has also been recorded

Borage Oil

Known for it’s abundant concentration of GLA gamma linolenic acid, this plant is a gift to those suffering from adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalance. Borage oil helps stimulate the adrenals to function properly, and it’s also used by women who have hormonal acne and other skin problems as well as infertility.

Dosage 500 milligrams to 3 grams, once daily.

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Common side effects are Epileptic episodes, A headache, Drowsiness, Vomiting, Dry mouth Constipation,Blurred vision

*Borage should not be taken during pregnancy. It can induce labor and harm fetal growth or cause abortion*

Borage supplements can negatively interact with anticonvulsants in elderly patients

Liver disease: Borage products containing hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) might make liver disease worse. Surgery: Borage might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking borage oil at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Clary Sage

Usually available in oil form. Clary sage helps regulate estrogen levels leading to lighter periods, less painful menstrual cramps, and reduced mood fluctuations. If you’re looking for easier menstrual cycles without taking any synthetic pill, give clary sage a try.

Dosage Clary Sage essential oil can be used in the bath, or vaporized in an oil burner. It can be added to a massage oil or cream. Use 6-8 drops per bath and 10 -18 drops per 30ml of carrier oil

Possible Side Effects & Precautions

Do not use during pregnancy, or in the case of phyto-oestrogenic cancers. Do not use after the consumption of alcohol. Essential oils need to be diluted first; never apply an essential oil directly to the skin. Avoid contact with eyes and mouth.


Many of the best herbs for hormonal balance in women have not been tested for use during pregnancy or in combination with other medications. As always, check with your doctor before starting a new supplement to rule out any potential complications and interactions with other conditions.




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