Both men and women produce estrogen. Though the role of estrogen in men is not completely understood, in women it is important for regulating menstrual cycles, preventing bone loss, keeping proper moisture in ‘sensitive’ areas and pregnancy. Later in life, for many women, estrogen levels start to fluctuate or sharply decline, leaving some with symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, migraine headaches, and more. If estrogen imbalance becomes intolerable, there are several remedies available that can help balance hormones naturally.
Estrogen is actually not just one hormone, but rather, a group of related hormones(estrone, estradiol [the most abundant in women of reproductive age] and estriol), which are chemically connected and communicate with each other. Hormones are vital chemicals and act as messengers in the body, carrying information from ‘one group of cells to another.’
For many, it has become a common problem to have estrogen-dominance in the body, or ‘too much’ estrogen.’ When this happens, the following symptoms can be present:
- heavy/irregular menstrual cycles
- varicose veins
- cyclical acne
- hot flashes
- water retention
- unwanted facial hair/male pattern baldness
- hypoglycemia/sweets cravings
- dark circles under the eyes
- inability to concentrate
Having more than just a few of these symptoms could mean it’s time to look at balancing the estrogen. Here are several powerful ways:
The Chinese word for this herb is yi mu cao, meaning ‘to benefit the mother.’ In truth, whether a woman bears a child or not, all women are mothers – carrying with them the nurturing influence inherent in all beings of the feminine species. Some men carry this quality, and some women feel they lack it – but studies have shown, when in a traumatic situation, women will naturally step into a mothering role to anyone in need. Motherwort can support all women in staying balanced in early puberty all the way through menopause.
Motherwort is well known as an emmenagogue, an agent that promotes menstrual flow and controls its flow. It is good for other “female troubles,” by encouraging and easing uterine contractions during childbirth (which facilitates delivery) and as a pain reliever, easing the pain of childbirth, menstrual cramping and menstrual-related headaches. Motherwort is said to balance hormones and is believed to relieve the discomforts of PMS and the unpleasant symptoms of menopause. After childbirth, the herb has been used to tone and restore uterine health and reduce the risk of postpartum bleeding.
Research has shown women taking a formula containing Motherwort, 30 drops 3 times daily, reduced over-all symptoms of menopause. It was found to help hot flashes by reducing their severity and frequency. Studies indicate that Motherwort plugs into estrogen receptor sites, acting like estrogen in the body.
The Peruvian root vegetable Maca has been shown effective in balancing estrogen levels in the body because it feeds the master glands – in turn helping regulate all the hormones in the body. Many women who have tried everything, including hormone replacement therapy, have reported great success in taking Maca. Hugo Malaspina, MD, a respected doctor from Lima, Peru tells of a woman, who after having ovaries removed, hormone replacement therapy, and still not feeling well – had a big turn around, finding normal estrogen levels returned after taking Maca root for several weeks. Dr. Gloria Chacon, a biologist from Peru has this to say about Maca and the female hormones:
The active ingredients in Maca are not phyto-estrogens, nor are they hormone-like substances such as are found in wild yam. Instead, they are naturally occurring alkaloids. the alkaloids in Maca act on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, which explains why . . . the effects in humans are not limited to [the] ovaries and testes, but also act on the adrenals, giving a feeling of greater energy and vitality, and on the pancreas and thyroid as well.
The nice thing about Maca is it helps with both estrogen and progesterone balance – if you make more of one than the other – Maca helps bring them into proper quantities. If you have been taking estrogen or progesterone in any amounts, there will need to be a transition time when adding Maca in to your diet. Maca does not produce estrogen or estrogen-like substances for you, but rather, empowers the body to create its own.
Yoga is a great choice for hormone regulation – with or without the herbs (though Maca could be called the ‘yoga of herbs). Incorporating a simple yoga practice can help balance hormones in no time. Take your pick- from a few rounds of sun-salutations to several days per week of kundalini yoga and you could have your estrogen levels back on key before you can flash one more night of sweat. That’s right, yoga works to balance all the major endocrine glands and has a powerful effect on the whole system. By as early as the first week of regular practice, you can find your body evening out and relieved of all those unwanted symptoms.
Practices such as mantra (sound) repetition, deep breathing and simple mudras (hand and body positions) can contribute to the over-all balance of the system. Even a daily practice of repeating the word ‘OM’ for 5-10 minutes can do wonders for the rhythms of the body. Get yourself a Yoga Nidra CD meditation and play it before bedtime, with the affirmation of balanced hormones and watch your life dramatically change!
There is hope for all women everywhere who have experienced any type of estrogen imbalance, to balance hormones safely and naturally. Just look to nature and practical lifestyle alterations such as yoga for quick results to feeling better. You deserve to live your best life without physical discomfort accompanying estrogen imbalance. Make your move today and experience relief now.
Written by: Stasia Bliss