Herbal medicine has been widely used around the world for thousands of years to restore the body and replenish vitality. Several herbs are specifically supportive of women’s health, providing benefits such as increased libido, steady energy levels, hormonal balancing, pain relief, and elevated mood. Below are a few of my favorite herbs for healing and support through all stages of womanhood.
Rich in minerals and high in iron, nettle is a powerful antidote for anemia. It’s deeply nourishing pre and post menstral cycle, after childbirth, and in the case of a miscarriage. Nettle also supports kidney health, clears urinary tract infections and is incredibly effective at reducing seasonal allergies.
This herb has successfully been used for hormone replacement therapy, to support women during menopause, with few adverse effects. It helps to alleviate symptoms of hot flashes, sleep disorders, body pains, irritability, and mood swings. Black cohosh is also used to treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and helps to reduce bone loss related to osteoporosis.
Used in Ayurveda, this a beautiful herb for women as it is supportive through all phases of womanhood. It helps to balance sluggish menstruation or a heavy flow. It also works as an aphrodisiac and a sexual tonic by elevating testosterone levels, and helps to lubricate the vagina when there is vaginal dryness during menopause or low sexual desire. Shatavari also increases fertility and breast milk production. It elevates estrogen levels, helping to balance hormones during menopause when estrogen is low.
Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry leaf is a uterine tonic. It helps to support and tonify the uterus pre-menstruation — it relieves menstrual cramping and pain, and reduces heavy period flows. Red raspberry is safe to use in the last stage of pregnancy to prepare the uterus and pelvic muscles for labor and birth (always consult your doctor or midwife first). It can also help relieve and treat endometriosis.
Vitex (aka Chasteberry)
A wonderful herb that can aid in various women’s health-related issues, vitex enhances the function of the pituitary gland which regulates hormone secretion. It’s used as a fertility aid, and is safe to use in pregnancy for miscarriage prevention if there is a history of miscarriages (always consult with an herbalist prior to taking this herb). Vitex stimulates milk production in new moms, can help to bring back menstruation for women suffering from amenorrhea, and has also been known to reduce ovarian cysts. It’s also a powerful ally for pre/post menopausal women and often helps to alleviate associated symptoms.
With “antispasmodic” actions, wild yam helps in relieving menstrual cramping and pain/dysmenorrhea, as well as regulating contractions during labor. It also provides pain relief post-surgery in the pelvic region related to endometriosis, fibroid or cyst removal, C-sections, and post-labor pain. Wild yam can be used to make a progesterone cream, as a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Red Maca Root
Maca root, specifically red maca, is wonderful for women’s health. It works as a libido enhancer, increasing sexual desire in women. It has a high nutrient content which also increases energy and stamina, and it helps to build muscle thanks to its high protein level. Maca is an adaptogen, so it helps to balance bodily functions and hormone levels, decreasing PMS symptoms, lifting depression, and enhancing mental clarity and focus.
An Ayurvedic adaptogen, Ashwagandha helps to reduce stress levels, which is a leading cause of age-related health conditions. It works on the central nervous system and the adrenals to reduce cortisol levels, which is our main stress-inducing hormone. It helps to increase blood flow and reduce tension, increasing libido. A
Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurveda as a fertility support and as a replacement to HRT during menopause.
Red clover has been known to decrease abnormal cervical cell growth/cervical dysplasia. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce PMS-related acne. As it elevates estrogen, red clover supports the menopause phase, and decreases vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and night sweats.
A lovely herb that is gentle and safe, oat straw can be taken by babies, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and by elderly women. It supports the central nervous system, relieving stress, which is tied to sexual health and desire. It has a soothing, calming effect on the body and can elevate mood. It can also relieve cramping associated with PMS and labor pains.
This is best taken in an oil form, i.e. evening primrose oil. Due to its high levels of essential fatty acids (EFAs), it supports healthy hair and skin growth and relieves inflammation in the body. The EFA content also supports healthy hormone production, relieving PMS pain and hormonal acne.
Benefit from the natural, healing properties of herbs to support your journey through womanhood. Plants provide incredible curative and medicinal uses. Try them out and experience the powerful effects.
*Always consult with a nutrition practitioner or herbalist prior to taking or combining herbs.