The seasons cycle, the moon cycles, and so, too, a woman cycles. Throughout the month, as well as her life, a woman navigates a complex play of hormones. If not well nourished and supported, then these cycles can bring with them all sorts of discomfort—from physical to emotional to mental pain.
Both diet and lifestyle play an important role in nurturing proper hormonal function.
Both diet and lifestyle play an important role in nurturing proper hormonal function. Eat plenty of good fat, as many of the most important hormones are made from cholesterol. Also, take time to rest and reflect, as it has been shown to reduce the symptoms of PMS as well as menopause.
A welcome support is herbal medicine—offering reinforcement throughout the ages and stages of a woman’s life.
A panacea for women’s health, vitex is a powerful but slow-acting tonic that can be taken for 3-36 months. Known as “The Woman’s Herb” and the “Queen of Herbs,” vitex can address most issues associated with PMS (cramps, flooding, headaches, depression, water retention, constipation, acne, breast tenderness, irritability, and irregular cycles), as well as issues associated with menopause (hot flashes, moodiness, flooding, irregular cycles, and migraines). Clinical studies and folk wisdom show it to be a successful remedy for endometriosis and uterine fibroids, and women in America have found it helpful in rebalancing their cycles after coming off birth control pills. Do not take if pregnant, or if taking birth control pills (as it may make the pills less effective).
The liver plays an important role in regulating hormones, especially estrogen. Not only does it metabolize this important hormone, but it also helps eliminate it, whether the estrogen is from natural sources or from artificial sources such as hormone-replacement therapy, plastics, or plants. To keep metabolism and elimination working well, we want to nourish the liver. Dandelion root, often thought of as a weed, is one of the most powerful liver tonics available. Take the root regularly as a decoction, simmered for 15 minutes, or in tincture form.
Red clover is high in protein, calcium, magnesium, several macro- and trace minerals, vitamins, and isoflavones, making it a nutritive tonic effective for regulating the hormonal cycle. Folk herbalists have used red clover to prevent cramps, irregular menses, fibroids, menopause, and unexplained infertility. Red clover also contains phytoestrogens, which protect receptor sites from xenoestrogens, foreign estrogen-like substances that can confuse the endocrine system and create hormone imbalances. Some sources suggest that red clover should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, as its effects on fetuses are not yet proven.
Note: While these herbs are considered safe for most people, they may be contraindicated under certain conditions, or while taking certain other herbs or medicines, so it's best to check with your doctor before using them.