Hormones are a delicate thing and when they’re not quite balanced we, as women, can feel like crap. Working with an herbalist or medical professional to find the right combination of herbs for hormones is a great way to rebalance your hormones and support them to being healthy.
As a woman, we’re told to see our health care provider if we feel like something is wrong or our OBGYN if we have premenstrual syndrome (PMS) during our cycle.
And, for some women, this leads to being placed on birth control, while other women seek alternative medicine or natural remedies to help deal with things.
It’s not uncommon nowadays to be put on prescription medication if “something is wrong”. What’s worse is that many people won’t look at the side effects of the medicine they are prescribed.
Rather than going to a doctor for medication a lot of women are seeking natural and herbal supplements to help correct their imbalances.
How to Know if Your Hormones Are Out of Whack
If you regularly feel like something is just not right with your body, you are just not yourself more often than not, you may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance.
Here are a few signs and symptoms to help you determine if your hormones may be out of whack:
- You feel tired all the time.
Consistent fatigue may cause an imbalance in our stress hormones that are produced when your body releases cortisol.
Your body tends to release excessive cortisol in response to a “bad” or unhealthy diet, especially one with excessive daily consumption of sugar.
This fatigue may even make you feel a little depressed and lethargic and cause brain fog or brain fatigue, a temporary condition in which your brain is simply exhausted and cannot perform the most straightforward task.
- You are unable to lose weight.
The stress hormone cortisol not only makes you feel tired but can also hinder your body’s ability to maintain or lose weight.
Your hormones control your metabolism. An imbalance in your hormones can result in a slowed or inefficient metabolism.
Furthermore, hormonal imbalances promote fat storage that can lead to weight gain.
- You suffer from insatiable cravings.
An increase in cortisol can cause you to have crazy and insatiable cravings for sugary foods.
You may feel ravenous and get abnormally cranky if you are unable to satisfy those cravings.
- You feel as if you are on an emotional roller coaster.
When your hormones are out of whack, you may feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster.
So nicely called mood swings.
One minute you are happy and having the time of your life, and in the next, you may feel incredibly depressed.
Hormonal imbalances can cause you to experience extreme, inexplicable highs and lows in your emotions.
- You have digestive problems.
Hormonal imbalances can also contribute to digestive problems like abdominal spasms, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, excessive flatulence and burping, nausea, and discomfort.
- You sweat excessively, night sweats, or have hot flashes.
Your hormones can cause you to sweat excessively when they are out of whack. Sweats are usually due to a swing of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism and also caused by hormonal imbalances in your body.
This symptom is usually overlooked but should be discussed with your doctor if your excessive sweating leads to axillary hyperhidrosis, which is profuse sweating over your entire body and underarms.
- Your menstrual cycle isn’t quite right.
When your hormone levels are off, whether your estrogen levels are too high or it’s your progesterone levels, you can have pretty nasty symptoms, and your hormone health will likely suffer.
Stages of Hormone Production
Dealing with female hormones is quite a task even for medical doctors let alone the average woman trying to deal with and figure out if she has a hormonal imbalance going on.
Traditional Chinese Medicine isn’t looked at much these days, but there are studies that show when used in conjunction with other things it can be very beneficial. (*)
Western medicine is striving to find alternatives to hormone replacement therapy with the continued adverse reactions that women are facing.
Teen & Young Adult Women
As a young woman grows and her body changes her hormones begin to flood through her system. Generally speaking, if she’s healthy, they should be balanced.
More likely than not a young woman starts on hormonal birth control early in her cycle as a way to prevent pregnancy or to deal with/combat heavy and painful cramps.
This is also where a lot of women unknowingly can damage their hormones with their lifestyle habits and daily activities.
By talking with our young daughters early we can, hopefully, help them overcome any adverse symptoms.
Late 20’s to Late 40’s Women
“Knowledge is power,” they say… and the more women research ways to heal their hormone disruptions the more they’re finding alternative medicine.
While the use of herbs isn’t a new thing, it’s definitely something that’s better advised under the guidance of a professional.
Women’s hormones shift greatly during this period when they’ve gone through pregnancy, and an amazing resource for women would be a midwife or doula.
By taking charge during this season we’re better able to prepare for the next season of our hormones changing.
Related Post: Herbal Teas for Stress Relief
Menopausal & Post Menopausal Women
During this time in a woman’s life, hormones are yet again shifting and changing. Women’s hormone balance is usually thrown out of whack and there are some unpleasant symptoms that accompany it.
One herb that has been used for menopausal symptoms has been Black Cohosh (*). This has been used widely by women to help alleviate hot flashes along with the many different symptoms that come along with hormone withdrawal.
Lifestyle Changes for Hormone Health
While herbal remedies have been shown to help with hormone balancing, there are other lifestyle factors you can change to help support the endocrine system.
- You can add cruciferous vegetables into your diet to help your body remove heavy metals from your system. (*) Or, just eat well for overall health really.
- Add in aerobic exercise to help battle the added stress of modern life
- Try adding meditation and mindfulness into your daily habit to help lessen the effects of chronic stress (*)
Best Herbs for Hormones and Hormone Imbalance
When it comes to women’s health, red clover, milk thistle, red raspberry leaf, and maca root powder are some fantastic herbs.
There are other herbs out there that are many favorite herbs of herbalists and medical practitioners like black cohosh (mentioned above) and Dong Quai. I don’t have much experience with these herbs though.
There have been studies of using this Dong Quai in peri and postmenopausal women with breast cancer. (*) It’s quite fascinating to read about them.
As with any herbal remedy, it’s best if used under the guidance of a medical professional or licensed practitioner.
Red Clover: aids with symptoms associated with low estrogen for menopause
Milk Thistle: supports the liver and is helpful in targeting estrogen dominance
Red Raspberry Leaf: supports the reproductive system and adrenal glands in the production of progesterone
Maca Root Powder: helps to address low libido in men and woman and has been studied in helping relieve menopause symptoms (seek medical advice if you have known thyroid issues)
Dandelion Root: aids the liver and gall bladder function
Dandelion Leaves: acts as a diuretic and is great if you’re retaining water
Nettle Leaves: great for aiding in detoxification and elimination
Using Herbal Teas for Hormone Help
Making a tea blend is really quite easy and can be as simple as mixing herbs together in a big mason jar to dop from when making tea.
Here’s a recipe that you can try and play around with that uses some of these herbs.
- 1 Part Nettle Leaves
- 1 Part Dandelion Root Powder
- 1 Part Chamomile
- 1 Part Spearmint
- Mix all ingredients together in a tea strainer, place into a mug, and pour boiling water over the tea mixture.
- Let steep for approximately 5 minutes.
- Enjoy with a little honey or your choice of sweetener.