Herbal Hormonal Support for Women*
From puberty onward, many women have a complicated relationship with their hormones. Some women breeze through all phases of their life with ease, while others may struggle at varying points along the hormonal continuum.
In the first phase of life, some women may experience significant physical, mental or emotional difficulties associated with the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle. This is often primarily related to the relative balance of all the reproductive hormones, as they actively surge and decline within the cycle. Chasteberry (Vitex agnus castus), also known as “chaste tree” or “vitex” has a long and traditional history of use supporting hormonal balance for women.*
According to a 2017 review published in Electronic Physician, chasteberry has compounds that “influence the pituitary gland explaining its effects on hormonal levels.” * Chasteberry also helps decrease prolactin, which affects follicle-stimulating hormones and estrogen.* This is consistent with another 2017 systematic review published in the journal Archives of Women’s Mental Health.
As a woman ages, her hormonal balance changes. Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) has been studied extensively when it comes to women’s hormonal health including a 2018 comparative study in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion that featured 80 postmenopausal women with hot flashes.* A 2013 randomized clinical trial published in the Journal of Caring Sciences also demonstrated that black cohosh can help support postmenopausal women with vasomotor issues.* Another randomized clinical trial that featured 84 early postmenopausal women published in 2013 in the journal Chinese Medicine also showed a significant reduction in climacteric scale scores at week four and week eight when compared to placebo.*
Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is another herb often used to help support female hormonal balance.* Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, dong quai is a women’s health herb often referred to as “women’s ginseng”, and used to support healthy blood circulation.* Animal studies have shown that a bioactive component of dong quai, Z-ligustilide, supports healthy inflammatory response and supports the microcirculation of the uterus.*
These three herbs—chasteberry, black cohosh, and dong quai—are supported by traditional use, clinical experience, and in some cases sound scientific research. They are available as single botanical extracts or as key ingredients in hormone-balancing formulations for women.
Cerqueira RO, Frey BN, Leclerc E. Brietzke E. Archives of Women’s Mental Health. 2017; 20(6):713-719.
Franco OH, Chowdhury R, Troup J, et al. JAMA. 2016;315(23):2554-2563.
Mehrpooya M, et al. Journal of Education and Health Promotion. 2018;7:36.
Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi S, Shahnazi M, Nahaee J, Bayatipayan S. Chinese Medicine. 2013;8(1):20.
Rafieian-Kopaei M, Movahedi M. Electronic Physician. 2017;9(1):3685-3689.
Shahnazi M, Nahaee J, Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi S, Bayatipayan S. Journal of Caring Sciences. 2013;2(2):105-113.
Birgit M. Dietz, Atieh Hajirahimkhan, Tareisha L. Dunlap, and Judy L. Bolton. Botanicals and Their Bioactive Phytochemicals for Women’s Health. Pharmacol Rev. 2016 Oct; 68(4): 1026–1073.