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Many of my clients come to me with the same story: "My doctor says my test results are normal—but I still feel like my hormones are out-of-whack. Can herbs help?"
Their symptoms vary. One woman might have painfully swollen pimples. Another has menstrual cramps that keep her home from work, while another has scanty periods that are more like brown spotting than the menstrual cycles she used to have.
Even though the recommendations I give each client are different depending on her unique body type and situations, the gist of my answer is always the same: you're not crazy, and yes, herbs can help.
If you're struggling with your own hormonal balance, I want to tell you the same thing. Trust your intuition, and know that herbs (and healing foods) can really help.
So if you find yourself wondering about how to give your own hormones a helping hand, I have some easy tips for you to try:
1. Remove hormone-disrupting chemicals from your food, water, and environment.
Buy organic whenever possible and always avoid "The Dirty Dozen" unless you purchase the organic varieties. Use a filtration system for your water. Avoid BPA and pthalates.
2. Feed your liver.
Your liver breaks down excess hormones that the body is no longer using. To do its job well, it needs phytonutrients from cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower. It also needs sulfur compounds found in garlic and onions. Include these foods in your daily diet.
3. Use liver-supporting herbs for an extra boost.
Dandelion root, burdock root, and milk thistle seeds are some of the best (and safest) liver-clearing herbs. You can take them as teas or tinctures—or even sprinkle whole milk thistle seeds on your food. (Caution: avoid using liver herbs if you're taking prescription medication unless your physican or pharmacist gives you the OK.)
4. Don't be afraid of phytoestrogens!
There's a lot of misinformation about these so-called "plant estrogens." The truth is, plant estrogens can actually help with excess estrogen activity in humans because they compete with the stronger human estrogens. Foods like soy and strawberries and herbs like Red Clover are perfectly fine to include in your diet, even if you have hormonal woes.
5. Ensure good pelvic circulation.
If you touch your lower belly and it's cold, you may want to work on your pelvic circulation. Self-massage with sesame oil that has a few drops of ginger essential oil mixed in is a wonderful option. You could also burn Moxa sticks over your lower belly or apply a compress of hot tea made with fresh ginger. This is especially important if your menstrual cycle begins or ends with a lot of dark brown blood.
I hope these tips will help you to take your hormonal balance into your own hands. As always, consult with your herbalist, acupuncturist, physician, or other health care provider to get advice that's customized for your unique needs. Above all, trust your intuition and keep reaching out until you find the supportive practitioners that you deserve.