Are your hormones out of whack? If you’re feeling crankier, more irritable and depressed for no good reason, and your periods are irregular and usually accompanied with a case of PMS-from-hell lately, chances are that your hormones are out of balance. Stress is bad for your hormonal health. If you’ve been dealing with stress of any kind — be it physical, emotional, mental or even environmental, it can lead to hormonal dysregulation. And this is where adaptogens or adaptogenic herbs for hormone balance step in.
Adaptogens are plant compounds that regulate endocrine system function, which is what makes them so useful for balancing hormones.
As the name suggests, adaptogens help your body “adapt” to stress in a completely natural, holistic and safe way.
These plant extracts boost the body’s ability for resilience and resistance to the damaging effects of physical, emotional, mental and environmental stressors. We all know that stress can wreak havoc on our hormones. By normalizing the body’s stress response, adaptogens encourage hormonal balance. These non-toxic plant compounds are generally safe for everyone.
Adaptogens specifically target your HPA or Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis to heal your body’s stress response. When your body is faced with stressors of any kind (physical, emotional, mental or environmental), it goes into fight-or-flight mode, which sends your hormones haywire. However, the human body is not designed to handle stress on an everyday basis. This kind of chronic stress results in pushing the HPA axis, which produces stress hormones, over the edge — leading to hormonal dysfunction.
It’s very easy for our crazy hectic lifestyles to send our body’s stress response into overdrive. And that is a huge contributing factor towards hormonal imbalances, chronic inflammation, irritability, mood swings and unexplained weight gain. Adaptogens gently heal this natural stress response over a period of time, helping your hormones balance out naturally.
Here’s How Adaptogens Can Help:
Unlike hormone therapy that floods the body with one kind of hormone (like estrogen) and produces undesirable side effects, adaptogenic herbs are a holistic, all-natural treatment. As their name suggests, these will adapt to the needs of your body — increasing hormones you may be producing less of or lowering high levels of hormones that could be contributing towards an imbalance. Through this calming, stimulating and nourishing mechanism, these adaptogens better-balance female hormones for optimum health and fertility.
We have created a comprehensive list of the top adaptogenic herbs that can help balance your adrenal, thyroid and sex hormones.
One of the best adaptogenic herbs for hormone balance, Ashwagandha supports overall endocrine function. It is particularly good for balancing the thyroid and adrenal glands. Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves resistance towards stress and thereby improves hormonal balance.
If you need an energy boost, Ginseng is another great adaptogen that strengthens the HPA (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal) axis to aid in hormonal balance and stress management. Studies find that Ginseng can promote vitality and increase resistance to stress and ageing. And it achieves all this without overstimulating the endocrine system.
This adaptogenic herb can help relieve stress and improve immune function, but is particularly notable for improving reproductive function and libido in both men and women. Saw Palmetto supports the endocrine system as a whole and its anti-androgen activity can be particularly beneficial for women suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
This adaptogen supports and balances the endocrine system, aiding the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands – which are all involved in hormonal balance. It is great to balance out female hormones. And research has found that is can be a natural plant alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for early-postmenopausal women.
This adaptogen is a great remedy for adrenal fatigue. Research has found this to be a natural anti-stressor with heart-protective effects and no negative side effects. If your hormonal imbalance is brought about by a stressful condition, Rhodiola Rosea will offer the perfect boost to your adrenal glands.
Schisandra chinensis is another adaptogenic herb for hormonal balance that has been used in ancient medicine as an adrenal balancer. Its potent adaptogens exert a beneficial effect on the central nervous, sympathetic, endocrine, immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. All of these effects go a long way towards combating stress and promoting hormonal balance.
This is one of the popular Ayurvedic adaptogenic herbs for hormone balance that has also been used in Indian medicine as an alternative for hormone replacement therapy. Shatavari can help relieve PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), increase fertility, reduce uterine bleeding and alleviate menopausal symptoms. As a natural aphrodisiac, it can also benefit those with low libido.
Chaste tree berry or Vitex Agnus Castus is a potent adaptogen that targets the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. It stimulates hormones essential for regular ovulation to restore overall hormonal balance. It is particularly helpful in maintaining stable progesterone levels during post-ovulation to promote menstrual regularity and fertility. This adaptogen helps alleviate PMS symptoms, regulate menstrual cycle, bring relief from symptoms of menopause and boost female fertility.
Another popular adaptogen used in Ayurvedic medicine, Shilajit can help counterbalance the effects of chronic stress. It can be very useful for naturally treating PMS, cramping and bloating during periods, brain fog as well as low energy levels linked to menstrual cycle and hormonal imbalances. It’s particularly good for those with low libido or sex hormone imbalance.
These adaptogenic mushrooms help support immune health and offer hormone-balancing benefits. These have been used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries, and can help decrease inflammation, balance hormones and fight fatigue.
Because no two people are the same, it’s always best to consult a licensed herbalist or naturopath before taking these adaptogens. Based on your specific symptoms, an expert can prescribe the right adaptogenic herbs for hormone balance.