In order to regulate the physiological and behavioral functions, our glands produce signaling molecules known as hormones.
They are very complex molecules with diverse chemical structures while some of them are antagonistic which means that they have totally opposite effects. For instance, insulin and glucagon are known as an antagonistic pair. Insulin can remove the glucose from the bloodstream for storage as glycogen (a process known as signal transduction) while glucagon promotes the release of glucose into the bloodstream by converting the stored glycogen (a process known as signal transduction).
The antagonistic combination of leptin (the hormone related to satiety) and ghrelin (known as the hunger hormone) is another example of opposite hormones. When we haven’t eaten for a while, the levels of ghrelin tend to increase which makes us hungry. The ghrelin levels are reducing and the leptin levels increasing when we eat, thus leading to decreased hunger.
Our endocrine system is responsible for keeping the balance between various hormones. Pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands, testes in men and ovaries in women all secrete hormones which have different actions. When there is a balance in our hormones, we can say that our mental and physical condition is perfect. But, there are many factors which can lead to hormonal imbalances including diet changes, diseases, or changes in the atmosphere, which can cause unpleasant symptoms and disorders. So, it is very important to keep your hormones balanced.
So, for that purpose, we will present you some herbs which are known due to their positive effect on human’s health.
This is the list of the most effective herbs which will help in balancing hormones:
1. Astragalus (Milk Vetch)
Milk Vetch is an irreplaceable part of Chinese Medicine due to its ability to treat many health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, liver problems, respiratory infections, and asthma. It is also used for its immunity-boosting properties action as well as its anti-aging effect (that occur as a result of a compound called cycloastragenol, which activates the enzyme telomerase that protects the DNA of cells during cell division).
Astragalus helps the regulation of blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It has a protective effect on the beta cells of the pancreas that secretes insulin. Astralagus counteracts insulin resistance where the receptors of insulin become progressively desensitized to it because of high levels of circulating hormone (as you probably know – Insulin resistance is the biggest cause of type 2 diabetes).
2. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha has the ability to balance both adrenal and thyroid gland, and this is why it was used in the Ayruvedic medicine for a long period. The ashwagandha extract is extremely beneficial for people who suffer from hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. This herb can prevent premature aging, reduce stress, and improve blood circulation. Moreover, it is used to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs in women and to treat erectile dysfunction in men. Ashwagandha can improve memory as well, so it is recommended for older people.
3. Maca root (Lepidium meyenii)
For centuries, indigenous people of the Andes have used Maca Root (also called Peruvian ginseng) in the treatment of many medical conditions. Nowadays, this root is very popular due to its energy boosting properties. Many professional athletes use powdered Maca to increase stamina. The hormone balancing effect of Maca root also provides many other benefits such as stress relief. It also contains plant hormones that offer many health benefits to women such as relieving premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
4. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
American ginseng can support the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal), thus maintaining proper hormonal balance. It can relieve stress, increase nutrient absorption, strengthen the immune system, and improve digestion. This plant can improve sexual drive and performance, so it is extremely beneficial for male reproductive health.
5. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
In herbal medicine, the berry of Saw Palmetto is used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. This herb can also help increase sperm count, reduce chronic fatigue, relieve stress, and boost the immune system.
Saw Palmetto has a positive effect on the whole endocrine system, but it is especially beneficial for both male and female reproductive system.
6. Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris)
For centuries, Chinese and Indian medicine have used the Tribulus extract in order to treat male reproductive problems including low sperm count. It can stimulate the androgen receptors in the brain, leading to better usage of these hormones. According to many studies, Tribulus contain an active compound known as Protodioscin which can increase the DHEA levels in men, thus increasing fertility and helping with erectile dysfunction.
7. Epimedium (Epimedium spp.)
Chinese medicine uses Epimedium to treat many health issues such as osteoporosis, hypertension, coronary heart disease, memory loss, and joint pain. Some studies even suggest that it can be effective in the treatment of irregular periods in women and sexual dysfunction.
Epimedium has an active ingredient called icariin. This flavonoid relaxes the muscles and mimics the hormone testosterone, which leads to improved sexual performance.
8. Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)
Chasteberry extract can regulate hormones such as estrogen, luteinizing hormone, stimulating hormone (FSH) and prolactin follicle, thus acting on the pituitary gland. It can be used for treating health problems caused by hormonal imbalance in women including menopausal problems, polycystic ovary disease, uterine fibroids, premenstrual syndrome and cyclical breast pain.
9. Suma root (Pfaffia paniculata)
The root extract of Suma root is known for its ability to normalize endocrine function, improve the immune system, and increase strength. Among its many names, Suma is also known as ‘Russian Secret’ because Russian athletes have used an extracted ergogenic compound from this plant (called ecdysterone) to improve their performances after it was discovered that it has a stronger anabolic effect than Dianabol and methandrostenolone (both of which are anabolic steroids). Other uses of Suma Root include balancing blood sugar levels, improving memory, and stimulating appetite.
10. Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
Black cohosh was used by the Native Americans for treating a number of health issues related to female fertility. Some studies showed that Black cohosh contains certain components which can act like estrogen in the brain, and have a similar effect on the reproductive system. Actually, a lot of menopausal women use Black cohosh in order to reduce symptoms related to lack of estrogen. This plant has a high content of isoferulic acid and can relieve swelling and pain linked to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.