As women, our lives are dictated by our hormones. Hormones influence our energy levels, mood, fertility, even the appearance of our skin, hair, and figure. When our hormones become unbalanced, we experience things like mood swings, lowered immunity, acne, monthly cramps, and fluctuations in our weight. But with a little bit of wisdom, we can learn ways to keep our hormones more balanced naturally, without having to take synthetic hormones or other drugs.
The first step in regaining healthy balance is to figure out if we’re unwittingly causing the problem because of our diet or lifestyle.
Things that upset hormone balance
There are elements of our lives that we have no control over, like air pollution levels and chemicals used in pest control and landscaping, all of which can disrupt hormones in both women and men. So it’s important to control what is in our power to manage: diet, exercise, and limiting exposure to toxic chemicals.
Here are some of the worst offenders to avoid whenever possible:
- Non-organic meat, eggs, and dairy come from animals that were given hormones and antibiotics, which adds to our toxic load when we eat them. Non-organic produce is often sprayed with pesticides which act like hormone disruptors. Even if you don’t buy everything organic, because face it, it is more expensive, at least try to stick to organic and grassfed meat and dairy. Regarding produce, stick to the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen rule. Click here for a list of what to buy organic and what’s safe if it’s not.
- Drinking from plastic water bottles should be avoided. Chemicals in plastic mimic hormones and bind to our hormone receptors, causing general hormone disruption that can be avoided by switching to glass, ceramic, and stainless steel.
- Many beauty products contain chemicals that are toxic to men and women. Fortunately, there are many clean and green beauty brands available today that commit to using good ingredients. Click here to read more about them.
Plant power to the rescue
Wise women have known about the healing and restorative power of herbs for thousands of years. They relied on simple herbs that were easy to find and completely non-toxic. Here are five of the most important individual herbs for women of all ages.
Also known as Vitex, chaste tree berry comes from a fragrant tree native to the Mediterranean. This herb has a long history as a female reproductive tonic, a progesterone tonic, and is used to help normalize the menstrual cycle, fertility, and alleviate the symptoms of PMS and menopause. Chaste tree is a slow acting herb, and can be taken for a long period of time. Although some women might see results in as little as two weeks, you typically need to use this herb for at least three months before noticing any results. Women who have come off birth control pills and want to conceive can take chaste tree to restore normal hormone balance.
Any time there are problems with the hormones, the first thing to do is support the health of the liver, and dandelion is the perfect herb to help you do that. According to Chinese medicine, anger stems from excess energy stuck in the liver. Dandelion root is believed to move that stuck energy, and will help with PMS-related anger, frustration, along with skin outbreaks. Dandelion leaf has more of an affinity with the kidneys. It is a natural diuretic, and is perfect for pre-menstrual bloating and water retention.
This dark green herb makes a rich, dark tea that’s loaded with vital minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Nettles nourishes the blood, and is perfect for women with anemia, fatigue, and burnout. This herb is also nourishing to the kidneys and adrenals, and is helpful during perimenopause, and with hot flashes and night sweats. Nettles tea is like a hug from the inside.
Like soy, red clover contains estrogenic isoflavones, only more of them than soy. Red clover can increase your uptake of iron, and is helpful with anemia or during a heavy menstrual cycle. Red clover is considered to be one of the blood purifying herbs, making it a great tea to drink during a cleanse. When used regularly it can alleviate chronic skin eruptions.
Although best known as a pregnancy tonic, raspberry leaf is high in nutrients and is a wonderful tea for pregnant and non-pregnant women, and is even a good tonic for men and boys. A compound found in raspberry leaf tones the uterus and muscles in the pelvic area. It can help soothe cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Raspberry leaf tastes a lot like a fine black tea, but since it has no caffeine, you can drink it any time of the day or night.
And here are the top five tea blends for women's health and balance:
- Cramp Soother does what its name suggests: helps relieve monthly cramps. The tea can be taken situationally, but if you are prone to a day of heavy cramping, start drinking Cramp Soother a week before your cycle starts. The herbs in this blend tone the uterus and reduce spasms.
- Daily Detox is the perfect long term solution for maintaining hormone balance. This tea supports the kidneys, liver, lymphatic system, and the skin. Drink this tea regularly if you have experienced mood swings, acne, bloating, and PMS symptoms.
- Fertili-Tea was created to help restore hormone balance for women hoping to conceive. But the tea can also be used by women who want to balance their hormones naturally. The tea contains herbs that support both estrogen and progesterone.
- Joyful Garden tea can help soothe stress and frazzled nerves without making you feel sleepy. Stress is a huge hormone disruptor, but teas like Joyful Garden can help you feel more calm and uplifted. This tea contains ingredients that are loaded with antioxidants and help relieve inflammation.
- Love My Hair is a nourishing tonic for the hair, but it works by providing essential minerals that not only support healthy hair, they promote healthy bones, skin, and connective tissue. Women of all ages need extra minerals, especially after menopause. This tea is also energizing, without the caffeine.
Try some of these suggestions and let us know about your experiences!