Welcome to part 2 of this mini-series on your moon cycle and using herbal & natural remedies to cure all your problem symptoms. This post is covering everything you need to know about how to balance your hormones naturally. If you missed part one on managing period pain you can read that here: Natural remedies for period pain
Female hormones and your moon cycle
While changes in your hormone levels throughout your moon cycle is normal for many of us our hormones can be too high or lower than they should be at different times.
This can be caused by many things — your diet, stress, environmental factors. Not to mention the amount of toxins, pesticides and chemicals we come into contact with and get absorbed into our bodies to cause havoc and sickness!
**image via helloclue.com
Naturally none of us should be having any pain or discomfort during our cycle. If you are suffering from pain, cramps, discomfort, mood swings etc. then that means something is off balance. Something needs to change.
These symptoms occur in the second half of your cycle (post ovulation), known as the Luteal phase, and are caused by oestrogen and progesterone hormones.
How to Balance your hormones naturally
The first step to balancing your hormones is learning what your personal cycle looks like; – how long does your cycle last for?
– when do you get pain and cramps? How long does it last for?
– when do you feel bloated or uncomfortable? How long does it last for?
– do you get painful or tender breasts/nipples? and when does that start? How long does it last for?
– the date each month you usually start to menstruate
– if and when you get mood swings or heightened emotions
You get the idea…. map out all your symptoms. Do this over a few months so that you know what is normal for you and what issues you want to work on. If you prefer there are many apps available that you can use to track everything I mentioned above on your phone if you find that easier than a hand written account.
Once you have your list of problem areas use the information in these posts to find the herbal cure(s) that work for you.
Your cycle, as previously mentioned should be 29 1/2 days in length, and your menstruation period (when you bleed) should last between 1 – 7 days. If you find your cycle is longer or shorter than this then balancing your hormones should bring you back into a regular cycle length.
Foods for balancing the Female Cycle
In addition to eating a healthy and balanced diet, and working to remove harmful toxins from your environment that can cause hormone issues, there are a few additional specific foods that are nourishing for women, and that can help you with balance and producing happy hormones.
Aubergine — (or eggplant if you are from the US). Aubergine is warming and a circulation enhancer, excellent to take for if you are physiologically a cold not warm person. Particularly in Ayurveda it is thought to be the greatest food for women’s healing. It is thought to contain phytosterols which are plant compounds that mimic hormones.
Garlic, onion & garlic — all three of these are hormone enhancing, circulation enhancing, tonic foods. Again they are all used in Ayurvedic medicine. All are immune supportive, and act as tonics for your hormone producing endocrine glands￼.
Flaxseed, olive, sesame, & almond oil — all are good oils that go into formation of helpful hormones.
Celery — celery has two uses that are helpful during your cycle. The vegetable is a relaxant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-irritant which, if you drink as a juice, is very good for relieving period related anxiety and PMS. Celery seeds on the the other hand are hormone balancing and also contain phytosterols. Seeds are not to be used during pregnancy.
Parsley & watercress — both of these herbs are good for your kidneys and help reduce water retention.
Sage — sage is a hormone balancing spice that also contains phytosterols. Do not use if you are still breast feeding though as it dries up breast milk.
Seed cycling is an Ayurvedic practice that uses certain seed combinations at certain times during your cycle to help you balance your hormones. From the first day of your menstruation to the middle of your cycle you want to take a spoonful of flax seeds and a spoonful of pumpkin seeds.
Then through the second half of your cycle switch to taking a spoonful of sunflower seeds and a spoonful of sesame seeds. You want to do this every morning starting on the first day of your cycle — the first day of your period. You can use a calendar or cycle tracking app to help you with this if you need. Because this is such a natural method and the oils in these seeds need time to build up in your body you need to be consistent with this method for a few months before you will see big results.
But I definitely recommend tracking your symptoms throughout so you can look back and see your improvements and what has changed.
Supplements for balancing your hormones
In addition to all the above there are also a number of wild plant remedies and herbal supplements that you can use that work to balance your hormones and relieve your moon cycle symptoms.
Red clover is another plant that contains elements similar to your oestrogen hormones. Among its many properties you can use it to treat hair loss that can often accompany hormone imbalances in your body, as well as balancing your hormones and relieving acne which can also be caused by your hormones.
You can find red clover growing wild to dry and make your own tinctures or your can find tablet supplements in your local health food store.
Ashwaganda is an adaptogen that has many healing properties including being able to balance female hormones. Particularly oestrogen. If you suffer from painful or tender breasts during your cycle that is caused by elevated levels of oestrogen hormones. It is also wonderfully calming and can be take to help you get a restful nights sleep.
Useful if you tend to suffer with anger and frustration during your PMS, or trouble getting to or staying asleep. Take an ashwaganda supplement — around 1000mg per day, or you can use a powdered form and add a spoonful to your smoothies, mug of hot chocolate, hot milk, or morning coffee.
Red raspberry leaf
Raspberry leaf can be dried and drunk as a herbal tea, which is probably the best way to take it. But is also available as a capsule. It is a very mild herb, but is used by women around the world as a hormone balancer.
This is a herb from Chinese medicine. In Chinese culture it’s considered a quintessential herb for a woman to take throughout her life and is used widely as a tonic for the reproductive system. Particularly those relating to PMS.
It works to regulate your menstrual cycle, it’s an antispasmodic as well as helping in cases of low eostrogen. Dong quai is mildly warming, and slightly bitter, but better tasting than many medicinal herbs meaning it tastes quite nice as a tea or broth. If you don’t fancy that it is also available for you to take in capsules or tinctures too.
Chasteberry is a popular European herb that has powerful effects in treating PMS and every type of PMS symptom. It has been used for centuries to treat women’s hormonal and reproductive issues from menstruation to menopause. It works to bring your body back to ‘centre’ or normal balance, regardless of what direction your imbalance has taken. Bringing your hormone levels back into a correct oestrogen = progesterone ratio.
You can take Chasteberry for 6 months to a year as a long term treatment for balancing your hormones and PMS symptoms including depression, anxiety, moodiness, and sleeplessness.
Wild yam is a herb that’s supportive of your body’s progesterone cycle and is useful in a variety of issues related to your cycle. It is one of the best options for you to take for treating pain and cramps during your cycle on a long term basis.
This berry is very balancing for female hormones and can be used long term. You can take schizandra to balance your hormones as well as improve digestion, reduce fatigue and relieve insomnia and forgetfulness — things we can all suffer from at that time of the month!
This is an Ayurvedic herb that is particularly good for treating women’s problems, and is very similar to Dong quai. It is used widely used as a tonic for your productive system, as well as a blood tonic, and will work to soothe your uterine muscles too. In Ayurveda it suggested as especially good for pitta (fire) type personalities.
How to Balance your hormones naturally; some extra tips
This may be obvious to some, but not everyone so I’d like to include it anyways. Some of the very simplest things you can do to help your hormones are some lifestyle tweaks;
Making sure you get enough sleep, taking care of yourself and your needs both physically and emotionally.
Connecting with nature and working to stay grounded, as well as making sure you get fresh air and exercise daily.
Look after your emotional wellbeing – meditate or practice yoga, and make sure you are managing your stress levels.
Because sometimes the basics are the most important.
Wishing you a happy moon cycle,