Along with proper diet (low on sugar, high in fat & protein, anti-inflammatory foods, hydrating etc), these herbs help restore the body's natural hormone production ability, increasing mental clarity, mood, energy levels and so much more!
***Always CONSULT with your healthcare provider. PSA: Before you put anything in your mouth or give to someone else, do your research. Ask questions and stay skeptical. Thank you for reading this!
What is PCOS?
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and it is a dis-ease caused by the unbalanced hormones in women with reproductive organs. You may have irregular periods (very long or absent), high levels of male hormones (androgen) and/or your ovaries may produce small follicles that fail to produce eggs and so they become cysts. PCOS may cause infertility if not properly treated.
So far, the cause of PCOS is unknown, but I have a few speculations. Stress is my number one speculation, with diet being a close second. Our diet plays a huge part in the health and balance of our hormones. Most of the soil that we get our food from is depleted from many of the minerals and vitamins we need and so even if we do eat a plant-based diet, we must be cognizant of the fact that the soil our food is grown in may not be nutritiously dense.
Currently, Ob/Gyn's are treating PCOS with birth control and medications such as metformin. I find this highly problematic, especially for my black and brown sisters. Why? Because these birth control pills are a combination of artificial estrogen and progesterone, tricking your body into thinking it is already pregnant and preventing your ovaries from ovulating. Also, these pills shut down our natural hormonal production. Our natural hormonal production keeps us at homeostasis, at peace.
Most black and brown women already have higher levels of estrogen in comparison to other women. This can cause heavy bleeding, high blood pressure, a thickened endometrium etc., which often result in hysterectomies down the line that could be avoided. These birth control pills also bind to your thyroid hormones, preventing them from being freely used by your body. These thyroid hormones are necessary for energy, healthy hair, skin and the ability to lose weight. Birth control pills lower testosterone levels, which we need for energy, mental clarity, libido and healthy bones.
The current treatments for PCOS are clearly not working and so I've compiled a list of herbs that can easily be incorporated into daily practice. Along with proper diet (low on sugar, high in fat & protein, anti-inflammatory foods, hydrating etc), these herbs help restore the body's natural hormone production ability, increasing mental clarity, mood, energy levels and so much more!
Chaste Berry AKA Vitex
Chaste berry, aka Vitex Agnus Castus, is native to the Mediterranean and has been traditionally used by ancient Greeks to reverse hormonal imbalance and as an aphrodisiac (hence calling it Chaste Berry). Chaste Berry helps to regulate pituitary gland function, which is responsible for the release of our reproductive hormones.
Chaste Berry counterbalances the excess estrogen, allowing it to be balanced with progesterone levels. When estrogen dominates and progesterone is low, this causes the development of cysts, so balancing these two is very important. Chaste berry is also anti-inflammatory , helping with bloating, pelvic pain, acne and breast pain.
Find Chaste Berry in capsules, tinctures or teas.
Motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca, is an herb in the mint family that grows wildly in many parts of Iran. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, Motherwort is a remedy for reproductive disorders and is even used to heal the heart. Many of us hold tension in our wombs and heart, making this the perfect herb to heal spiritually and physically at the same time!
Motherwort contains antioxidants and compounds known to relax blood vessels, preventing blood clots. All PMS symptoms associated with PCOS such as cramping, cyst pain, headaches, bloating, and anxiety are all tackled by this herb, even stimulating menstrual flow for those with absent periods.
Motherwort is known as the 'mama bear' of herbs, she protects you, helping you relax into her loving embrace; Her lion heart has your back! Motherwort has been given to pregnant women to alleviate anxiety during labor. Most consider it an invasive weed but clearly it is sacred and beneficial to us all!
This one you've probably seen growing in your backyard or in the streets, again, thinking it's just a weed! Dandelion is used from its roots to its leaves to its yellow flowers for food and medicinal purposes. The root of Dandelion is known to be able to detox the liver. Detoxing the liver is important for women with PCOS because the liver cleanses out excess hormones so that they are not reabsorbed into the bloodstream, creating elevated levels of estrogen or testosterone.
Dandelion root is rich in vitamin A, iron, and calcium which are all necessary and important for the liver. This root can be made into a tea and is often used as a replacement for coffee in the mawnin'!
Goldenseal contains an alkaline compound called Berberine, which has been studied to outperform one of the conventional medicines prescribed for PCOS called metformin. Berberine improves weight and insulin/testosterone levels much better than metformin. Berberine also has beneficial effects on gut microbes.
This is not an herb to take on a regular basis because it is antimicrobial and can mess with your gut microbe in a negative way if overused. Do not take along with metformin or any other medication for insulin regulation. You can find Goldenseal in tablets, capsules or as a tea.
Maca root, a cruciferous veggie, is indigenous to Peru and has traditionally been used to enhance fertility, sex drive, stamina and improve energy. In women with PCOS, Maca root improves an irregular menstrual cycle and helps balance hormones, affecting the endocrine system. Maca root is also an adaptogenic, helping the body regulate and handle stress.
The best ways to take Maca root are to add the dried powder to your smoothie or take in capsules.
Love you and remember, always ask questions!