The Best Herbs to Help You Balance Your Cycle

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

Incorporating maca root powder or these four herbal teas into your daily life, may help improve symptoms related to painful cramps, acne, or PCOS.

Maca Root Powder

Maca root balances hormones in the body. 

The turnip-like root is indigenous to South America, and grows wild in the Peruvian Andes, where it has been used medicinally and nutritionally for centuries to balance the hormones and improve sex hormone levels in women (and sexual function in men). In the last decade, the science has caught up with the ancient Andean culture, and maca been proven to help with symptoms of PMS, menopause, and hot flashes. 

A 2006 scientific study found that maca root works by stimulating the endocrine system, which houses the group of glands in the body which produce the hormones that regulate a number of things, from our metabolism, to our sleep, to our mood, to our sexual function.  

Try incorporating organic maca into your daily diet, but start slowly, with only 1/4 a teaspoon, eventually working your way up to 1 teaspoon  over time. It should always be taken in the morning, and is not recommended in the evening. It has a strong grassy taste, so if you are not into the flavor it can be purchased in capsule form. I put it into my morning drink, whether its a smoothie or another hot beverage. But it can be sprinkled over oatmeal or your morning chia pudding as well. 

Spearmint Tea

Spearmint tea can help hormone imbalances.

Studies show that spearmint tea can treat various hormone imbalances in women. For example, consuming two cups of the tea every morning is shown to help reduce hormonal cystic acne, and even help curb hirsutism, excessive hair growth (think pesky chin hair or unwanted hair on the body).

This is because spearmint tea is proven to have an anti-androgenic effect, meaning it lowers the hormones responsible for "male traits". The herb has proven to be  especially helpful for women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome.

But don't overdo it, most studies found that two cups a day is sufficient for treating symptoms. Results are best if the tea is consumed in the morning  because that is when androgen hormones, like testosterone, are highest in the body. 

Raspberry Leaf Tea

Raspberry leaf tea can ease menstrual cramps. 

Raspberry leaf is often referred to as the woman's herb. It has been referenced as a pregnancy tea and uterine tonic, and was used by women throughout history as an aid in childbirth. Some mistakenly think that it induces labor, but studies have shown this is not true.

Instead, raspberry leaf increases blood flow to the uterus, which strengthens the uterine muscles, helping them form more organized contractions. This is due to raspberry leaves concentration of fragarine, a compound that helps tone and tighten pelvic muscles. So though it does not induce labor, consuming the tea regularly actively strengthens the uterus, and strengthening these muscles may help alleviate the pain of PMS and menstrual cramps. Raspberry leaves also contain high levels of iron, which may be helpful to those who suffer from heavy flows or are prone to anemia. 

There is no recommended intake of raspberry leaf tea, try having a cup daily the week before your cycle begins and on the days your cramps feel unbearable.

Fennel Tea

Fennel tea can help balance the female reproductive system.

Fennel is a phytoestrogen, which means that it is a natural compound that occurs in plants that mimics the role of estrogen. Onestudyfound that fennel tea can effectively treat menstruation and menopause symptoms in women by balancing hormones in the female body. 

Regular consumption of phytoestrogens has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal and menopausal women, as well as decrease osteoporosis, or weak bones, in women as they age.

Another study found that regular consumption of fennel over a three month period can reduce symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome in premenopausal women due to its anti-androgenic effect. (As a quick reminder, high levels of androgens are associated with male-like traits, such as excessive facial or body hair, or male-pattern baldness.)

Drinking a cup of fennel tea every night can promote a calm body, regulate blood sugar, decrease cravings, and even decrease menstrual pain. 

Nettle Tea

Nettle tea can combat hormonal acne, PCOS, UTIs and much more.

Nettle works to optimize and regulate the endocrine system, which is in charge of keeping our hormones in check. Nettle tea is rich in iron, so it's a great thing to reach for during the week leading up to your period, throughout your period, and even the week after. Women claim it reduces cramps and bloating leading up to and into the menstrual cycle.

For menopausal women, nettle tea works by helping the body process estrogen, leading to a reduction in menopause symptoms. 

Studies found that nettle has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, and also works by limiting inflammatory hormones in the body. It also works to detoxify the body. This combination of anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and hormone regulating effects, work well when it comes to combating hormonal acne, which results from a build up of toxins, inflammation in the body, and an imbalance in hormones. 

Regular consumption of nettle tea may also help to combat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney and bladder related problems.  

Be sure to speak with your doctor before incorporating nettle tea into your daily diet, as it can react with medications prescribed for diabetes, blood pressure, or blood thinning drugs. Nettle tea is not recommended for pregnant women, as it may stimulate uterine contractions. 

*I only include herbs that have benefitted my body, but every body reacts differently. I am not a medical professional, so take the research-based advice with a grain of salt. Remember to exercise caution, and respect what works for your body and what does not.*

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