Hormones are complex and can feel dominating, but there is a powerful natural tool to manage them.
Hormones have a huge impact on our bodies. Like messengers, they send signals through our blood and organs to control different bodily processes, including metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, and mood.
When there’s an excess (or lack) of a certain hormone, it makes our body function differently and suffer various side-effects. This is called a hormonal imbalance.
Many symptoms we suffer are typically related to our period, fertility issues, or reproductive problems such as irregular and painful periods, infertility, constipation, and diarrhoea.
- Having skipped or lighter periods may indicate perimenopause among women in their mid to late-40s.
- Heavier, more frequent periods within the same age group may also mean menopause.
- Irregular periods, hair growth on the face, chin, and chest, cystic acne, and weight gain are some symptoms that may occur among women with PCOS.
With the help of herbal medicines, the body is supported in finding its own balance, without adding synthetic hormones.
Botanical medicines in women’s healthcare date back millennials to wise women’s traditions with herbal extractions and simple, yet powerful infusions. These ancient practices that we can tap into today can be effective at targeting PMS, period pain, supporting fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, and more. They still have a prominent role in naturopathic, integrative and functional medicine, which look at the body as a whole system, rather than treating it as a silo of symptoms.
Despite 80% of people worldwide relying on herbal medicinal products for some form of primary healthcare, there is still a perception that they are ineffective and unsafe, mainly due to a lack of scientific data or other biases. Recent studies, however, are validating some of these ancient remedies and citing that when used correctly and with medical-vetting for the specific issue, herbs are safe and effective. With the help of herbal medicines, the body is supported in finding its own balance, without adding more synthetic hormones.
Here is a list of women’s herbs that can address hormonal imbalance symptoms, a gist of plant power at best.
SIX WOMEN’S HERBS WE LOVE
1) Dong Quai
For painful periods and estrogen imbalance (during menopause)
Used commonly in Chinese medicine for years, Dong Quai strengthens the blood and improves its flow. Thus, this warming herb has the ability to help reduce the contractions felt in the uterus during period pains and relaxes the uterine muscle.
Dong Quai is also called “female ginseng” and belongs to the group of aromatic flowering plants, commonly known as the celery family.
2) Black Cohosh
For menopausal symptoms & cycle irregularities
Night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood issues, and arthritic aches – these are common menopausal symptoms that Black Cohosh can help with. Due to its effects on mood and temperature regulation, it was thought to also have a major effect on women’s hot flashes. It modulates the oestrogen hormone - one of the main female hormones needed throughout the menstrual cycle and is said to usually drop after menopause.
For younger women who go through PCOS and experience cycle irregularities, this herb can also support to reduce symptoms.
A member of the buttercup family, Black Cohosh was traditionally used by North Americans. They later introduced the herb and its effects to European colonists.
3) Red Clover
For hot flashes & period pain difficulty
Another herb that targets hot flashes and other common disorders in menopause is Red Clover. In a report from 2015, red clover was reported to have a positive effect on alleviating hot flashes in menopausal women.
In addition, a separate study claims that even heart discomfort, especially palpitations, were significantly reduced amongst menopausal women between 50-59 years old.
Not only is it reported to be effective; it’s also easy to find. This powerful remedy is likely to be nestled in your backyard as it commonly grows in the fields of Europe, North and South America.
4) Lady’s Mantle
For postpartum & excessive bleeding
Being one of the beneficial plants noted in ancient texts for women’s complaints, it comes with its own plant lore. People used to claim that Lady’s Mantle’s leaves could restore virginity. Now, when its leaves are drunk as tea, women who just gave birth may notice their uterus regaining its strength and shape as the weeks go by. The tannic properties of the herb may help the tissue in toning the inner uterine lining.
What’s mostly found in wreaths and rose bouquets because of its beautiful soft pale-green leaves, this member of the rose family uniquely has many medicinal uses for women such as reducing hot flashes and period pain. When blended with Red Clover, it can improve menstrual flow problems, and in some cases, reduce the symptoms of Endometriosis - a disease that leads to excessive menstrual pain and bleeding.
5) Raspberry Leaf
For severe dysmenorrhea & labour
Also part of the rose family and popular in Europe and North America since at least the sixth century, raspberry leaf is an essential herb – from menstruating teens to new mothers. For menstruating women, it is reported to treat severe dysmenorrhoea and diarrhoea. When taken before giving birth (near full term), it may facilitate labour and shorten its duration. For new mothers, it supports postpartum healing, especially in weeks 1-6 as it is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
6) Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris)
For “period stimulation”
As a bonus fact, Mugwort is an herb used in folk medicine and is one of the first plants cultivated by humans. It is a flowering plant, but some consider it to be an invasive weed that is usually removed from their garden, not realising its potential benefits.
In mediaeval times, it was believed to have the power to stimulate menstruation. It also served as one of the first forms of birth control in a time when such decisions were dictated by men. However, its effects have yet to be backed up by more specific evidence.
Overall, some herbs work best on their own, while others are more effective when mixed with other herbal blends. They are safe and natural to use, but prior to usage, always check with a medical professional, herbalist or endocrinologist to address your specific situation and make sure the herbs are suitable for your body and symptoms.
The SABI offers some of these selected herbs in our hormonal balancing blends for postpartum recovery and coming soon, for period, Endometriosis, PCOS and menopausal support. You can explore our full range here.
HORMONAL & PROUD
Created as a brand to help women navigate the toughest moments in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum — and practically every stage of life, the SABI aims to change the narrative around our hormones from one of taboo, embarrassment and loneliness, to awareness and even pride. Much more than a wellness brand, SABI offers a carefully crafted line of products to carry you through your hormonal journey; a set of rituals, supportive tools, and ancient herbal remedies that have been tested time and again by women and now, backed by medicine.
SABI favours the herbs above and includes Red Clover, Lady’s Mantle, and Raspberry Leaf in selected formulations. SABI is a blend of science and nature conceived by women who have experienced the joys and deep implications of bringing a child into the world or the pains of a heavy and difficult period, miscarriage and difficulty conceiving.
Here is an invitation to get to know your body and its cycles better and to really understand what is going on inside. Learn to use your hormonal cycle to your advantage no matter your stage of life, and know that you can always support and balance your hormone levels. Look for the right sources of information, know that there is help, and know that you’re supported.
Nikka is a copywriter and Associate Creative Director by day and singer-songwriter by night, based in Manila, Philippines. From creating commercials under an agency, she transitioned to independently collaborating with different people within the music community, as well as organisations in the area of social development, and now entering the beauty and wellness space with the SABI. Walking her dog + food trips + film photography are her favourite pastimes.
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- Alchemilla mollis https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/alchemilla-mollis/
- Ames, H. (2020). What to know about mugwort https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mugwort#side-effects
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- Black Cohosh https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/black-cohosh
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- Taavoni, S., Shakeri, F., Haghani, H., & Gooshegir, S.A. (2012). Effect of red clover on vasomotor symptoms and heart discomfort of menopausal women.
Take Back Your Uterus with this Psychedelic Herb of the Ancient World. https://sites.evergreen.edu/plantchemeco/mugwort/