Herbs have many amazing healing properties and one of their most fascinating qualities is their potential ability to affect your hormones in a positive way. Five of the herbs that are of special interest to hormonal health and hormone balancing are: thyme, holy basil, clary sage, sandalwood, and myrtle.
What do we mean when we say balancing hormones? Some of the primary hormones at work in your body include:
Adrenal hormones: Your adrenal glands produce cortisol, which manages stress and contributes to metabolism
Reproductive hormones: Estrogen and progesterone manage menstrual cycles, female fertility, and help balance vaginal pH. Testosterone manages male fertility, bone mass, libido, and red blood cell production. Both men and women actually have all 3 hormones in their bodies, but an unhealthy balance has been linked to a higher risk of cancer.
Thyroid hormones: Triiodothyronine and thyroxine are produced by your thyroid and control your metabolism.
Sleep hormones: While not as much of a ‘heavy hitter’ as the above hormones, sleep hormones like melatonin, which is produced by the pineal gland, can have a dramatic effect on your health when out of balance. Poor quality sleep can make your entire body much less efficient and more prone to sickness and burnout.
Your endocrine system functions to keep all of your hormones working in a careful balance. When just one is out of balance affects the others, leading to all kinds of nasty symptoms from weight gain to fatigue to pain.
5 Hormone Balancing Herbs
1. Thyme: Preventing Breast Cancer
Researchers tested its effects on breast cancer cells in an in vitro study and found that it could bind to progesterone, a sex hormone involved in the menstrual cycle and in pregnancy.
Thyme is also rich in phytoestrogens and phytoprogestins and researchers found that it actually mimics the activity of anti-progesterone drugs by blocking the activity of progesterone and inhibiting the growth of the breast cancer cells.
2. Holy Basil: Lowering Anxiety
Holy basil has been scientifically shown to reduce cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and to treat Participants who received holy basil for 6 weeks improved many stressful aspects of their life, like sleep quality, memory issues, sexual problems, and exhaustion.
3. Sandalwood: Reducing Stress
According to one study involving women undergoing a breast biopsy, the combination of orange and peppermint oil was less effective than the combination of sandalwood and lavender, which notably reduced the anxiety during their exam.
Another study has found that cancer patients suffering from sleep deprivation improved their sleep quality by inhaling blends of essential oil. Sandalwood, which was one of the oils included in one of those blends, led to improvement in the sleep pattern in more than 64 percent of the patients.
4. Myrtle Oil: Improving Sleep
Myrtle essential oil is particularly good for managing low thyroid function and ovary-based imbalances. It also soothes the respiratory system in the case of asthma or a cold (14).
How to use it: Apply organic myrtle oil to acupuncture points related to your thyroid, including the base of your neck and under your big toe.
5. Clary Sage Oil: Healthier Menopause
Clary sage has been used for hundreds of years, to improve PMS symptoms in women as well as balance female hormones.
How to use it: Add a few drops to a hot bath and feel your cramps and pains melt away.
Essential oils can have incredible results, but they should not be used alone. Instead, they should be used alongside plenty of sleep, proper diet, and daily exercise. If you take any medication, if you have allergies, or if you’re pregnant, speak to your doctor before using essential oils.
How to Use Herbs Medicinally
These herbs can be used in various ways, and the easiest one is to simply add them to your meals and smoothies. Yet, you can also use the essential oils prepare tea, extracts, ointments, and poultices.
When it comes to the herb-based essential oils, you can either add a few drops to a hot bath or mix them with carrier oil and massage the skin. Also, you add a few drops of them to room temperature distilled water in the diffuser and place it on some common area at home.
Extracts are concentrated doses of the medicinal herb. You can take them as tinctures, or the liquid form, on an empty stomach, about 1-2 mL, or in powder form (capsules, or loose powder), when all the water has been extracted.
Make sure you always choose certified organic herbal teas, preferably with whole leaf teas, rather than tea bags. Steep the teas to the desired strength and drink a cup of them up to 3 times daily.
Remember to always consult a trained practitioner before you start using any herb, in order to ensure it does not interact with your medications, and would not cause any adverse effects.