When it comes to the womb and all the phases a woman finds themselves in throughout life – there is bound to be a need for support through the ebbs, flows (quite literally) and changes which will be experienced.
We live in a demanding world – one which does not pay much reverence and respect to the nature of cyclical living which the womb acts in accordance with. We rather are expected day on end to perform, deliver, express and feel in a standardised, measurable manner which translates to eating, exercising, working, interacting and behaving in the same way day in and day out. Insert a big old bubble burst – this is not only unrealistic it’s entirely unattainable (for everyone, including men), especially when looking at the nature of hormones within the female physiology. Point being that when you are on your menstrual bleed, you will be hungrier and your energy levels won’t be high at all, vs. when ovulation takes place energy will be high and feelings of being more social and productive will be experienced.
Looking at the graph below it’s pretty easy to see the complexities of a ‘regular’ cycle and the dance which all the hormones weave between one another cycle on cycle:
This is where cyclical living comes into place and not only does it celebrate each phase of the cycle it allows for a sense of ease and wellbeing, an honouring of each season of your being.
For more about this I highly recommend learning more about natural hormonal health – I’ll link some socials, blogs and books below for those of you interested in learning more
ONTO THE HERBS
13 Herbal allies to aid in hormonal balance and harmony:
This beautiful and beloved adaptogen is native to India and is well used in Ayurveda – literally translated it means “she who possesses one hundred husbands”, illustrating how phenomenal and supportive it is for reproductive wellbeing. It has been used for centuries to aid women in all stages of life – be it when starting puberty, throughout all phases of the moon cycle, pregnancy, peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause – she truly is a supportive ally for all women and a super tonic medicine for womb health. Shatavari is thought to be the main rejuvenating herb for the female form, and is highly effective in aiding with problems related to the female reproductive system as well as being a vital ally in increasing longevity, imparting immunity, improving mental function, vigour and adding vitality to the body. As an adaptogen she aids in decreasing the negative side effects of mental stress which is often associated with hormonal imbalances and reproductive disorders such as amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhea, PCOS or even just unpredictable cycles. Containing Shatavarins I-IV these oestrogen regulators aid in regulating menstrual cycles, manage PMS, alleviate cramps and manage blood loss. Nourishing for the womb, she relieves menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes and insomnia. Shatavari is also a great herb to use to increase libido, milk secretion during lactation, assist with endometritis and endometriosis, infertility, strengthen cardiac impulse, reduce fluid retention and reducing heart rate and blood pressure. She is also safe to use for pregnant mamas which can facilitate and aid the body adjust to all the changes which can take place in this sacred time.
An energising adaptogen, Maca grows at a high altitude of 7000-11000 feet in the Andes mountains, making it one of the highest altitude growing medicines in the world and therefore displaying the medicine it can impart to us. High in nutrients and minerals, it is an excellent source of protein, fibre and several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, copper and iron. It also contains over 20 amino acids — including all eight essential amino acids — and plenty of health- promoting phytonutrients. As a medicine it is well known for its ability to increase sexual desire in female and male physiology – lending itself to aiding in increasing physical energy, stamina and endurance. It is most notable as a harmoniser of the endocrine system and although it can have an effect on testosterone levels, it can also aid in regulative hormones, management of PMS, moodiness and even PMD. This medicine is delicious and it can therefore easily be used to make a hot latte or added to baking or smoothies. (Safe for pregnant mamas)
One of our richest and overlooked medicines and allies, dear Nettle is one of mother nature’s best multivitamins, multi-nutrient and mineral dense medicines. Being high in iron she is deeply nourishing for all body types and aids in calming the adrenals from the need for stimulants through her immense repairing abilities. Particularly of high benefit for the womb pre and post bleed, boosting fertility, for postpartum healing, after birth care and in the case of a miscarriage. I always see nettle as a strong female force, fortifying and providing care to the womb space. She is also supportive when treating UTI’s, ensuring health of the liver and kidneys and even aids with allergies. I best suggest using nettle as an infusion and drinking it in that way – check out the beautiful Annette Müller at WildNettle.love to learn more about this. (Safe for pregnant mamas)
Used as far back as the ancient Grecian times, This powerhouse of a berry is a well celebrated hormone tonic, but is also known to boost brain health when it comes to memory, learning and overall cognition. Working with pituitary gland it aids in regulating hormonal secretion, allying in managing symptoms around PMS such as constipation, irritability, moodiness, breast pain, headaches and migraines. It additionally aids in rebalancing oestrogen and progesterone, being a phenomenal fertility ally. When pregnant it is safe to use in the first stage as to prevent miscarriages if there is a history of this, it is also a phenomenal galactagogue, stimulating milk production. Notably it is known to aid in bringing back menstruation in the case of amenorrhea, helps with PMS, PCOS, fertility challenges, irregular menstrual cycles, and with menopause symptoms such as insomnia, night sweats and depression. (Safe for pregnant mamas)
Known in Ayurveda as a herb of longevity, she is an excellent Trophorestorative (nutritive restorative), and nervine tonic. When it comes to anything stress, anxiety and emotion related, it has a soothing and supremely calming effect on the body and can also aid in gently boosting mood. When dealing with deficiency, the high mineral content aids in restoring the body, being nigh in calcium, minerals and vitamins. A celebrated ally to have daily through the use of infusions of when dealing with PMS, labour pain and postpartum recovery. (safe for pregnant mamas)
Red Raspberry leaves
Red raspberries are not only a delicious treat, it is a unique medicine and has an extensive history being used for medicinal purposes and their juices even being used in medieval paintings and writings. The leaves are most well known as a pregnancy ally, being highly supportive of the womb in this time, showing significant effects in strengthening the womb. It additionally acts as an ally when it comes as an aid for labour, bloating, heavy period bleeding, endometriosis, PMS and PCOS. (Safe for pregnant mamas)
Known as “females Ginseng” or Angelica Root, this wonderful medicine is a uterine tonic, being both tonifying and balancing for the womb. Known best for being able to regulate oestrogen levels and therefore regulate the cycle. She is however also known to be able to ease cramping, PMS, menopausal symptoms, tone and strengthen the uterus, aid with irregular or infrequent menstrual cycles and bleeds. A well-loved traditional Chinese medicine used after menstruation, she can also aid in replenishing red blood cell counts therefore aiding those who feel depleted post-bleed.
One of my personal favourite allies (she watches me through the window as I write) this phenomenal nervine and adaptogenic tonic is one of the fastest acting and greatly nurturing medicines out there. Its first appearance takes place in the sacred texts of The Charaka and the Sushruta Samhitas, in fact Ashwagandha can be traced back directly to Atreya Punarvasu the esteemed sage whose teachings founded the six schools of Ayurveda. It rejuvenating to the whole body, as well as promoting physical and mental health. Best known for its ability to reduce stress and more directly impact our levels of cortisol – therefore if there is excess stress which could be impacting hormonal balance and wellbeing, ashwagandha steps in. It has also been used as a fertility support and even as a replacement for HRT when used in combination with other herbs during menopause.
My dear ally Mugwort, sipping on an infusion of her presently I have come to know the vast healing potentials of her well. Her Latin name (Artemisia vulgaris) comes from Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon who was known to support women throughout their own moon cycle. This ancient herb is known to be a protector of women and travellers, and has been loved when treating women’s health issues as well as being a warming tonic which can stimulate qi and blood flow. Associated with releasing, this medicine aids one in letting go of suppressed emotions, stimulate the dream space and aid in bringing on menstruation in cases of irregular cycles and amenorrhea. She is also a great digestive tonic and aids in releasing bile and digestive juices. In TCM it is observed that she dispels cold and dampness in the womb which is often associated with hormonal imbalance, thus as a uterine stimulant it can bring on menstruation and aid in the balance and support of a regular cycle. She is also antispasmodic in nature and therefore is a wonderful aid in preventing and treating menstrual cramping. (don’t use when pregnant)
Not the most conventional women’s herb I know, however Moringa is a superb vitamin rich medicine and is a high vitamin C mineralizer, as well as being high in protein, B6, B2, Iron, Vitamin A, Magnesium and more. It is a warming tonic and once more allows for better blood flow and prevention of a build-up of cold and dampness in the body which could be indicative of hormonal imbalances. She is also a galactagogue for mamas to be and nursing mamas. (safe to take when pregnant).
As her name suggests, this herb is a powerful womb-ans ally. In traditional folk usage it has been used for a variety of ailments and imbalances such as menstrual issues, cramps, menopause, hormonal imbalance and even to aid in tonifying and strengthening the womb in late pregnancy. Known to regulate menstrual cycles as well as increase fertility, she also is a phenomenal aid in stemming excessive menstrual bleeding, aid in treating menorrhagia (heavy prolonged periods - over 7 days) as well as ease cramps. In the cause of menopause she aids in oestrogen dominance and prevents the unwanted symptoms of night sweats, hot flushes, mood swings and anxiety.
This beautiful herb has gained notoriety when used as an HRT supporting women during menopause with few side effects at all, alongside this it aids in treating symptoms associated with menopause such as night sweats, hot flushes and moodiness. It is also an ally for treating PMS, painful periods and PCOS. Well-loved amongst Native American it has been used to treat many ailments, from menstrual disorders, to inducing labour, managing osteoporosis, treating colds, rheumatism, kidney stones and more. (safe for pregnant mamas)
When looking at Red Clover, one cannot ignore it as being one of “nature’s best vitamin and mineral supplements” (Rosemary Gladstar). She contains a whole spectrum of vitamin B, Vitamin C and contains beta-carotene, she also contains essential trace minerals like magnesium, manganese, selenium, copper and zinc. Commonly used as a menopausal ally, she aids in treating night sweats, hot flushes and mood swings due to its phytoestrogens – however due to the isoflavones present they appear to bind with oestrogen receptor sites, preventing accumulation. Red clover is also used to boost fertility, and is great when preparing the womb for pregnancy, thanks to her mineralising and purifying properties. For new mamas and nursing mamas she is a great galactagogue, aiding in milk production. (safe for pregnant mamas)
Some more allies include Schisandra, Cacao, Rose, Motherwort, Yarrow, Fennel, Black Cohosh, Ginger, Burdock root and endless others.
I leave you dear friends with a beautiful poem:
She’s made of storm cells
And a wild wolf’s hungry heart,
That she’s learnt
The lightning’s secret
To ripping darkened skies apart.
The power of her presence
Can bring the mountains to their knees,
Her song is one of chaos
As she stirs the angry seas.
But if you’ve met
You’d be no wiser
For she is also born of light,
Another face amongst the crowd;
Hiding in plain sight
Great power doesn’t always come
Inside the forms that you’d assume
But you’d never doubt her strength
When she is howling at the moon."
@rona.fertilityaware, @fertilitycharting, @naturalcycles, @Himalayan healing
Taking charge of your fertility – By Toni Weschler
Period Repair Manual – Lara Briden
Period power – Maisie Hill
Herbal healing for women – Rosemary Gladstar
New Menopausal Years: Alternative Approaches for Women 30-90 (3) Wise Woman Herbal - Susan S. Weed