Hormones are the chemical messengers of our endocrine system. They carry signals throughout the body from glands to cells, tissues, and organs. There are over 50 hormones in the body that help with growth and development, reproduction, sleep cycle, mood, sexual function, energy, metabolism and homeostasis. You might be most familiar with the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The herbs discussed below can help to balance these hormones and reduce inflammation to provide relief from painful periods, endometriosis, menopause, PCOS, PMS, prostate cancer and many other hormonal imbalances that cause us to feel uncomfortable in our skin.
1) Vitex agnus-castus
Vitex is also known as Chaste Tree or chasteberry and is about the size of a peppercorn. It is a hormone normalizer, uterine tonic and galactagogue, which means it could help to increase milk flow for breastfeeding mothers. Vitex has the effect of stimulating and normalising the pituitary gland function, especially as it relates to progesterone levels. This small berry can help reduce PMS symptoms, menopause sympotms and help the female body regain natural hormone balance when coming off of birth control. Researchers believe that vitex works by decreasing levels of the hormone prolactin. This helps rebalance other hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. Can be found in tincture format.
2) White Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)
Also known as Bai Shao in Traditional Chinese herbal medicine is used for reproductive disorders to help nourish the blood as it is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. It can help calm an overactive liver to relieve period pain and muscle cramps. Bai Studies have found Bai Shao to also be beneficial for lowering testosterone in patients diagnosed with PCOS.
3) Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)
Also known as female ginseng, this root is a uterine tonic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory. It has been used for centuries as an herb to relax the uterus when it is in a contracted state and to help reduce painful periods. Studies show that Dong quai can also help reduce pain with women who have endometriosis as it has a similar effect to aspirin.
4) Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
Black cohosh is an emmenagogue, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and nervie. It is often used to treat menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, moodiness, and excessive sweating. Studies show that taking black cohosh can help to reduce sweating with menopause. It may also be used for painful periods, PMS, regulating period and painful cramping.
5) Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Saw palmetto is a diuretic, urinary antiseptic and endocrine agent. It can help to strengthen and tone the male reproductive system specifically toward the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. In Vitro studies have found that saw palmetto inhibits growth of prostatic cancer cells and may induce cellular death towards these cancer cells.
**This list of common herbal supplements for hormones is for informational purposes only. Talk to your Doctor, Naturopath or Health Care Provider to discuss specific medical conditions or symptoms or if you are taking prescriptions.