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10 Herbs For Female Hormone Balance

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

As an integrative doctor passionate about women's health, I understand the challenges many of you face when dealing with hormonal imbalances. These hormone imbalances can impact your physical health, emotional, and mental well-being and fertility.


In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the top 10 herbs that balance hormones and alleviate those troublesome symptoms. Remember, the key is personalized care, and always consult your healthcare provider before trying any herbal remedies.


The Challenges of Unbalanced Hormones


Before diving into nature's herbs to balance hormones, let's briefly explore the challenges of unbalanced hormones.


Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate numerous processes in your body, from your menstrual cycle and fertility, to mood, energy levels, metabolism and more.


Female hormones during early and middle adulthood are produced in a cyclical fashion. Hormones are lowest during the first few days of the period and then estrogen increased during the first 2 weeks to a peak, alongside a testosterone peak, triggering ovulation.


There is a subsequent increase in progesterone during the second half of the cycle until both estrogen and progesterone levels drop just before your next period starts.


Important cyclical hormones include estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These hormones are influenced by and impact other hormones such as thyroid hormones, adrenalin, noradrenalin, cortisol and insulin.


Common female hormone imbalances


Hormone imbalances can occur when there is dysregulation within the psychoimmunoneuroendocrine networks. Here are some of the common female hormone imbalances:

  • Estrogen dominance (high estrogen to progesterone) - this is the common lay term, but mechanistically, there is usually a progesterone deficiency. This occurs with anovulatory cycles and with luteal phase deficiency cycles and irregular cycles.

  • High cortisol - usually associated with unmanaged acute or chronic physical, psychological or emotional stressors

  • High insulin with insulin resistance

  • Low estrogen - such as RED-S or functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea

  • High testosterone - such as PCOS

  • High or low thyroid hormone - such as Hashimotos or Grave's thyroid diseases.

Balancing female hormones is a complex multisystem job for your body. When there is excess hormones or lower levels of hormones, your hormones are dysregulated. Hormone regulation is influenced by:

  1. your diet, you need adequate fuel and nutrients,

  2. stress levels, emotional distress & trauma,

  3. exercise,

  4. your nervous system status,

  5. loneliness, intimacy, and friendships,

  6. sleep,

  7. the health of your gut bacteria,

  8. hormone disrupting chemicals in our environment (endocrine disruptors).

When of these factors are out of balance, it can lead to a hormonal imbalance which can manifest as problems like premenstrual syndrome (PMS), acne, heavy periods or light periods, painful breasts, weight gain, anxiety, depression and more.


Some hormonal conditions also have a signficant genetic or epigenetic componant such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.


When hormones become dysregulated, you may experience a range of symptoms, including irregular periods, painful periods, mood swings, fatigue, brain fog, and hot flashes.

10 Herbs For Female Hormone Balance, Dr Deb Brunt, otepoti integrative health, herbs that balance hormones

Herbs to balance female hormones


Identifying the root causes of these imbalances is crucial. Stress, poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, and environmental factors can all play a role in contributing to hormone imbalance. Working with a health professional on the 6 pillars of lifestyle medicine are the foundation of good health.


That's where herbal medicine to balance female hormones come in. Herbs are a form of phytomedicine.


Herbs are a concentrated form of food as medicine. Herbs contain many phytonutrients with medicinal properties that support hormonal function in the body alongside the pillars of lifestyle medicine.


Now, let's meet our top 10 herbal allies to balance hormones naturally:


Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)


Dong quai is often called the "female ginseng,". It has been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. it is also freqeuntly used in Japanese and Korean traditional medicine.


It offers a helping hand to many women dealing with menstrual irregularities and menopausal symptoms.


Action in the body: Dong Quai supports your central nervous system and promotes better blood flow to your pelvic region, easing menstrual pain and PMS symptoms.


Side effects of Dong Quai: For most women, Dong Quai is well-tolerated. However, some may experience mild digestive upset, and it's essential to avoid it during pregnancy due to its potential to stimulate uterine contractions.


Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex agnus-castus)


Chaste Tree Berry, also known as Vitex, is a fantastic herb for balancing hormones and restoring harmony to your menstrual cycle.


Action in the body: This berry works on your pituitary gland, promoting balanced production of hormones like prolactin and progesterone, thus regulating your menstrual cycle and fertility.


Side effects of Chaste Tree Berry: While side effects are generally mild, some women may experience gastrointestinal discomfort or skin reactions. If you're using oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, it's best to consult your doctor before trying Chaste Tree Berry.


Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)


Say hello to Black Cohosh, a traditional Native American remedy for menopause-related symptoms. Its estrogen-like properties can provide relief from hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.


Action in the body: Black Cohosh works its magic on the hypothalamus, regulating body temperature and supporting hormonal balance during menopause.


Side effects of Black Cohosh: Although generally well-tolerated, excessive consumption may cause gastrointestinal disturbances or headaches. If you have a history of liver conditions, consult your doctor before using Black Cohosh.


Maca (Lepidium meyenii)


Straight from the Andean regions of Peru and Bolivia, Maca is a versatile root vegetable with adaptogenic properties, making it perfect for both women and men.


Action in the body: Maca nourishes and supports your endocrine system, promoting hormonal balance, and easing PMS and menopause symptoms. Plus, it can boost energy levels and enhance libido. It is often used to support fertility.


Side effects of Maca: Maca is generally safe when used in moderation. However, like with any new supplement, pay attention to how your body responds.


Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus)


Red Raspberry Leaf is an old-time favorite for supporting female reproductive health. Bursting with essential nutrients like vitamins C and B, calcium, and magnesium, it's a true friend to your uterus.


Action in the body: This delightful leaf gently tones your uterus and pelvic muscles, promoting smoother menstrual cycles and supporting fertility.


Side effects of Red Raspberry Leaf: If you're pregnant, it's wise to consult your doctor before adding Red Raspberry Leaf to your wellness routine.


Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)


Hailing from Ayurvedic medicine, Shatavari is the nourishing herb your female reproductive system craves, especially during menopause.


Action in the body: Shatavari helps balance hormones, reduces inflammation, and supports overall reproductive health.


Side effects of Shatavari: Shatavari is generally safe, but if you experience any discomfort, consult your doctor.


Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa)


Wild Yam contains diosgenin, a compound that acts like estrogen in your body, making it valuable for hormonal support.


Action in the body: This herb promotes smoother muscle contractions, easing menstrual pain and discomfort.


Side effects of Wild Yam: Wild Yam is safe for most women, but if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, it's best to avoid it or consult your doctor.


Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)


Say hello to Ashwagandha, the adaptogenic wonder that can help tame stress and restore hormone balance. It is from the Ayurvedic tradition and a favourite so support down regulation of the nervous system and reduce cortisol levels during times of stress.


Action in the body: Ashwagandha regulates cortisol levels, reducing stress and fatigue and its impact on hormone production.


Side effects of Ashwagandha: Generally safe, but if you're taking sedative medications, consult your doctor before adding Ashwagandha to your self-care routine.


Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)


Licorice Root, another adaptogenic gem, can help you take back control of your hormonal rollercoaster.


Action in the body: It supports your adrenal glands, crucial players in hormone production and stress management.


Side effects of licorice root: Long-term or excessive use may lead to elevated blood pressure or potassium depletion, so it's best to use deglycyrrhizinated licorice root, especially if you have hypertension or heart conditions.


Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis)


Evening Primrose Oil, a fabulous source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), can aid in support hormone balance.


Action in the body: Evening Primrose Oil regulates hormonal fluctuations, easing PMS symptoms including sore breasts and enhancing skin health.


Side effects of evening primrose oil: Rarely, some women may experience mild gastrointestinal issues or headaches. Pregnant women should avoid it, as it may stimulate uterine contractions.


The Takeaways: Herbs to Balance Hormones


Remember that you are not alone in your hormonal journey. With the right support and a personalized approach, you can find relief from those troublesome symptoms and regain your sense of well-being.


Incorporating these one or more herbs for hormone balance into your lifestyle, alongside professional guidance, can help you on your path to balanced hormones and a happier, healthier you.

Dr Deb Brunt @ Ōtepoti Integrative Health would love to support you through your whole health journey, supporting all aspects of your health and wellbeing.


Dr Deb Brunt is a specialist GP practising whole health medicine in Dunedin, New Zealand and also provides mind body health coaching internationally to support optimal health habits so you can thrive.


Schedule a free discovery call with her to learn more.



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DISCLAIMER: As your friendly doctor, I'm here to guide and inform, but please remember that this article is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before starting any herbal treatments or making changes to your health regimen. Your unique body deserves personalized care to achieve the best results.

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